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STATEMENT OF W. H. BOOZER, PRESIDENT, STAUNTON AND
AUGUSTA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Mr. BOOZER. I am president of the Staunton and Augusta County Chamber of Commerce.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have a statement with respect to the power situation and the flood-control situation in Virginia ?
Mr. BOOZER. I have, sir, a resolution presented by the Roanoke
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
I have a letter which I have written to the chairman and a resolution that I would like to insert in the record at this point.
The CHAIRMAN. It may be inserted.
Staunton, Va., April 30, 1946.
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE AND DEAR SIR: Attached is a resolution opposing Government competition with private industry, particularly in the field of electric power, which was passed unanimously by the board of directors of the Staunton and Augusta County Chamber of Commerce on April 29, 1946. Signatures of most of the directors are shown on a separate sheet.
Your committee, we are confident, will give serious consideration to this important subject before making any recommendations. · Respectfully,
W. H. BOOZER, President.
RESOLUTION OPPOSING GOVERNMENT COMPETITION WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY
PARTICULARLY IN THE FIELD OF ELECTRIC POWER
Authorized and approved by the Directors of the Staunton-Augusta County
Chamber of Commerce, April 29, 1946. Whereas the Federal Government proposes the development of multipurpose dams including power generation in connection with certain Virginia rivers in competition with private industry; and
Whereas the multipurpose dams contemplated and proposed involve permanent inundation of whole towns and large areas of productive farmlands, highways, schools, churches, graveyards, railroads, all of which will have a major effect on the entire State economy; and
Whereas it seems unwise for the Federal Government to spend large sums of money for power generation and transmission facilities when it is operating on a deficit budget, and at a time when all available labor and material are urgently needed for veterans' housing and reconversion; and
Whereas we are unalterably opposed to any form of Government competition with the business and the industry of its citizens under any guise whatsoever, and
Whereas flood-control dams can be built for a fraction of the cost of the multipurpose dams and would involve only periodic flooding of small land areas.
Now, therefore, we, the directors of the Staunton-Augusta County Chamber of Commerce, whose signatures appear on the attached sheet, respectfully request the United States Government to defer approval of any flood-control dams involving power generation in Virginia until the facts concerning the individual projects, including the various flood-control methods, and the effects on the State economy, are widely publicized so that the citizens may be informed and given ample opportunity to express their views. April 29, 1946. Signed by 23 directors.
Mr. BOOZER. I also have a photostatic copy of a petition signed by 25 citizens of Staunton County, pressing opposition to the development of the Federal Government multipurpose dams on various Virginia rivers which will generate power for sale in competition with private industry.
The CHAIRMAN. It will be inserted in the record at this point. ' (The photostatic copy of the petition referred to is as follows:) STAUNTON AND AUGUSTA COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
Staunton, Va., May 1, 1946. Hon. WILL N. WHITTINGTON, Chairman of the Flood Control Committee,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. HONORABLE AND DEAR SIR: Respectfully submitted herewith is a photostatic copy of a petition signed by prominent citizens of this community expressing opposition to the development by the Federal Government of multipurpose dams on various Virginia rivers which will generate power for sale in competition with private industry. The original of this petition has been sent to His Excellency William M. Tuck, Governor of Virginia.
It is earnestly hoped that you will request deferment of approval of any program of flood-control dams in Virginia involving power generation until the citizens generally throughout the State can become informed of all the facts. Respectfully,
W. H. BOOZER, Chairman, Staunton and Augusta County Chamber of Commerce. To The Honorable WILL N. WHITTINGTON,
Chairman of the Flood Control Committee, House of Representatives. We, the undersigned citizens of the State of Virginia, understand that the Federal Government proposes the development of multipurpose dams on various Virginia rivers which will generate power for sale in competition with private industry; that the dams contemplated and proposed will permanently inundate whole towns as well as large areas of productive farm lands, highways, schools, churches, graveyards and railroads, all of which will have a tremendous effect on the economy of the entire State as a whole; and that other methods of flood control might be adopted, involving only periodic flooding of small land areas, on a much more economical basis than that of the proposed multipurpose dams.
Therefore, being unalterably opposed to Government competition with the business and industry of its citizens under any guise whatsoever, and feeling that a program of this magnitude will vitally affect the economy of the entire State, we respectfully petition you to request deferment of approval of any program of flood-control dams in Virginia involving power generation until the citizens generally throughout the State can become informed of the facts relative to each individual project and the probable effects upon the economy of the State as a whole and its natural resources, and may have an opportunity to express their views in favor of or against such a program.
The CHAIRMAN. We will now hear from Col. Hugh Everett, Jr.
STATEMENT OF COL. HUGH EVERETT, JR., ASSISTANT BRIDGE
ENGINEER, SOUTHERN RAILWAY SYSTEM · Mr. EVERETT. I have a letter here signed by our chief engineer which I would like to introduce for the record.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the point of the letter? Mr. EVERETT. The point is that we have just learned of this hearing on Tuesday. We have not had an opportunity to study the situation and find out exactly what is involved. We understand that this new dam will raise the water over our tracks 11 feet if there is a repetition of the 1942 flood. We want to go on record as opposing the authorization of this dam until the backwater matter has been investigated by independent, competent, and impartial engineers. That is the substance of it.
The CHAIRMAN. That is your point ? Mr. EVERETT. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. You understand that if your railroad is flooded, whether it has been heretofore flooded or not, and whether the water goes up 4 feet or 11 feet, the Government will raise that railroad or compensate you for damages, do you not? Mr. EVERETT. Predicated on a future flood ?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. EVERETT. If flood ever comes, yes; but if the pool does not overflow, but a flood perhaps 10 years from now
The CHAIRMAN. Congress cannot insure what is going to happen in the future. We may have another Noah's flood down here. We are talking about the overflows in the reservoir. If they affect you, inundate your railroad, whether it has been inundated before or not, under the law you would be compensated for damages. You may file your letter. (The letter referred to is as follows:)
SOUTHERN RAILWAY SYSTEM,
OFFICE OF CHIEF ENGINEER,
Washington 13, D. C., May 2, 1946. Subject: Proposed improvement of Rappahannock River and tributaries in Virginia. Hon. WILLIAM WHITTINGTON, Chairman, Committee on Flood Control,
House of Representatives. DEAR SIR: I understand your commitee is to consider the proposal of the United States Army engineers to construct a multipurpose dam on Rappahannock River between Remington and Fredericksburg at or near Salem Church, Va.
When we were first acquainted with this proposal we were given to understand that the project would not increase the height of floodwaters in the vicinity of our crossings of Rappa hannock River at Remington and the Rapidan River at Rapidan, Va. We have now been advised that after the dam is constructed as proposed a flood of the same intensity as the 1942 flood will result in overtopping our tracks at Remington by approximately 11 feet.
The 1942 flood overtopped our tracks by about 3 feet at Remington. Southern Railway Co. was not formally advised of today's hearing and did not learn that the hearing was to be held until Tuesday of this week. We have, therefore, not had time to make a thorough investigation of how the dam will affect us.
I understand the Army engineers claim that no additional flooding will result from the construction of the dam proposed, but in view of the conflict of opinion, Southern Railway Co. wishes to go on record as opposing any dam construction which might result in floodwaters reaching elevations higher than in the past, and also wishes to go on record as opposing the issuance of any authority for the construction of this dam until the backwater matter has been investigated by independent, competent, and impartial engineers. Yours very truly,
J. B. AKERS. The CHAIRMAN. Is there anyone else to be heard ? Mr. MOORE. My name is T. Justin Moore, counsel for the Virginia Electric Power Co. We have one witness on behalf of the power company, whom we wish to introduce, Col. F. W. Scheidenhelm, who is a distinguished hydraulic engineer and was one of the principal consultants on the Norris Dam.
STATEMENT OF COL. FREDERICK W. SCHEIDENHELM, HYDRAULIC
ENGINEER, NEW YORK CITY Mr. SCHEIDENHELM. I live in New York City. I am a consulting engineer.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, we have under consideration here the Salem Dam and Reservoir. Are you familiar with the proposal as recommended to us by the Chief of Engineers ?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. I have had access to the report of the district engineer and its appendixes; not in printed form, because I understand it has not been printed, perhaps has not even come to the Congress, but I have had access to it. It was not very convenient but good enough for the purpose. I have not seen the division engineer's report. · The CHAIRMAN. Have you seen the report of the Chief of Engineers ?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. I have seen the Chief of Engineers' proposed report, undated; I suppose that it will be the official report. I have seen the Board of Engineers' report.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no occasion for technicalities with respect to the date, or whether it is printed or published, because if it is not published, it will be published in due course.
Now, you understand also that the Chief of Engineers does not recommend the entire project as submitted by the district engineer, but recommends only the Salem Reservoir project at the present time?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. That is my understanding.
The CHAIRMAN. So we have before us only the Salem Reservoir project which in part is a recommendation of the district engineer. What is your statement here and what points do you desire to give us in connection with that reservoir ?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. I have been asked by my client, the Virginia Electric & Power Co., to make an economic analysis of the report. I have not made a report on it. I have some highlights that I have been able to put together, having had the notice of hearing only since Tuesday afternoon.
The CHAIRMAN. The first highlight is what?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. The first is the consideration of the extent of flood control provided; that is, the report is in response to a resolution asking for a determination of the advisability of flood-control improvements—as to the extent they may be possible.
The project does provide some flood control. As to the total benefits, however, the claim for reduction of flood damages” is only 7.5 percent of the total. That is made up of direct damages, indirect damages, property depreciation, and elimination of damages in the reservoir.
It is clear to me, and I believe generally agreed, that approximately one-third of that amount of “reduction in flood damages” does not properly belong in the total.
I refer to the fact that the report takes credit, to the extent of 31.4 percent, for benefits in the form of removing from flood damage that land which will be flooded by the Salem Church Reservoir. That is positively wrong. . I have found no report of the United States Engineer Department which makes any such claim, and I have not found any engineers of tho
tions arey really is. ctually, noboecon
Army, with whom I have discussed it, who would say that is correct.
I have the impression it was overlooked as it went up the line.
There is much that could be said about the estimate of direct damage, but I shall not go into that, Mr. Chairman. It is a fact that that depends, under the methods of the Army engineers, upon the frequency estimates of floods.
In a report, being the so-called 308 document covering the Rappahannock generally, dated about 1933, it was then estimated that a flood in the amount of 150,000 cubic feet per second would occur once in 1,000 years. Actually a flood of nearly that amount occurred in 1942, and that, of course, is the cause of all this investigation and the present project.
Now, in the present report, if I understand it correctly, a frequency is estimated, on a rather arbitrary basis, of about 72 years for a flood of about 140,000 cubic feet per second, being the estimated amount of the 1942 flood. Actually, nobody can determine exactly what the frequency really is. That is subject to a lot of mathematical computations around a center of guessing; but my own guess—and I will not designate it any more—is that the truth lies somewhere between the 72 years and 1,000 years.
The point I want to make is that the direct damage and indirect damage, as estimated, are dependent upon that frequency. I suspect that those estimates are rather high as far as the benefit side is concerned. However, for present purposes, I assume them.
Now, if we take out that which is obviously wrong, the area covered by the reservoir and the damage occurring to it, there remain 5.15 percent of flood-damage reduction or flood-control benefits in this project. Obviously, it is not predominantly a flood-control project.
Well then, what is it? The remainder of the benefits are estimated at 90 percent from power and about 2.5 percent from pollution abatement and silting reduction. The latter are minor.
It is my impression this is a case where, to justifiy the project, the bottom of the barrel has been scraped pretty hard.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, without meaning to interfere with the trend of your thought, what flood-control project have you designed, either for the use of reservoirs or otherwise, so that we can have the benefit of your actual experience ?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. Well, I, through my associate, Dr. Daniel W. Mead, who was consultant and part-time chief engineer of the Miami Conservancy District, had some contact with that work professionally. Aside from that, I have not had a great deal to do by way of construction for flood control but I have by way of consultation on various aspects.
The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about the flood-control aspect primarily. Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. What projects have you been consultant on with respect to flood control?
Colonel SCHEIDENHELM. I have had occasion to examine for various clients
The CHAIRMAN. I mean before their construction and on your recommendation for design. I am not talking about what somebody else