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of Eudora the capacity was, as he expressed it, 2,500,000—in answer to your question, 2,600,000.
I asked the Chief of Engineers this morning, if you will pardon me, if, with a discharge of over 2,000,000 at Vicksburg in 1937, it could carry 500,000 additional, with a 3-foot freeboard, and the answer was "No." I do not think you would have to ask an engineer if it could take 500,000 additional. I have never heard General Ferguson say that he had any freeboard at all with the 2,600,000. I value General Ferguson's views.
He has put the thing in the very best light possible, but when he gets 2,600,000, the General promptly comes back and says, “We have got to have a floodway." I do not take issue with him.
Senator OVERTON. When we start considering this legislation we have to be guided largely by the engineering facts given to us by the Chief of Engineers and the president of the Mississippi River Commission.
Representative WHITTINGTON. That is right.
Senator OVERTON. It was on those facts that we undertook to enact the Overton bill. However, the point I want to bring out is that, whether it is 2,600,000 or 2,500,000 feet or 2,400,000 feet, it is perfectly obvious, from the testimony of General Ferguson and others, that the carrying capacity of the Mississippi River in the middle section has been very materially increased since the time when that statement was made. I will put it this way: It may not have been actually increased so much, as General Ferguson said yesterday, he felt a hesitancy at that time in prophesying just what it would do, although he did have his own views as to what would be accomplished with the cut-offs, and therefore they let the figures remain at 1,900,000, but he is now in a position to say definitely that the carrying capacity of the river has been vastly increased.
Representative WHITTINGTON. I appreciate his statement, and if we would follow that and make no further provision in the middle section, it must follow that you will have equivalent provision in the lower section and therefore would make no further provision there, because with a million five hundred thousand feet or a million six hundred thousand feet, without Morganza at all, you would have 2,500,000 at Old River, with 1,500,000 down the main river, with 500,000 down the Atchafalaya, and with the 500,000 down the West Atchafalaya.
However, I agree with General Ferguson that we should make provision for both
Senator OVERTON (interposing). When it come to the Atchafalaya area, let us not overlook the fact that the West Atchafalaya was constructed and designed with the fuseplug levees that they have, so that in conjunction with the natural bed of the Atachafalaya River and with the Morganza, it would not be used except possibly once in 75 years, if ever used. It is not expected that the West Atchafalaya will function except once in a century, probably.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Senator, in that respect, I would say that no engineer has predicted when any major flood would come, but we have had the big floods every 15 years, and we have always talked about completing this project about 5 years before that flood
If we are prepared to do it at Morganza, it has got to come
by us before it gets to Morganza, and we want to accommodate it so that you can handle it down there.
Senator OVERTON. The point I want to bring out is that you cannot use West Atchafalaya as a substitute for the Morganza, for the reason, that it is not contemplated that the West Atchafalaya could function as adequately as the Morganza or that the flow should be as frequent as the Morganza.
Representative WHITTINGTON. I do not so contend, but I say if you are going to do nothing and leave out the Eudora in the middle section, you do not have to have the 500,000 feet in the lower section. That is my view. I do not favor that.
Senator OVERTON. Now, you have given a great deal of thought to this matter, and I want to know whether you have in mind any substitute where the revenue will be derived from taxation on the part of the State, and especially the parishes in Louisiana and the different taxing uses. Have you in mind what substitute the Federal Government could provide for the loss of revenue from taxation in the event that the Eudora or any floodway should be acquired in fee simple?
Representative WHITTINGTON. That I would be perfectly willing to go the limit to work out. As a basis, I would say that we take the experience of various other similar floodways or lands condemned for flowage. Every time you build a reservoir you take away a lot of land. Provisions are being made for leasing the land. I said in a great many cases; I mean in some reservoirs
Senator OVERTON (interposing). It occurs to me that that is a very unsatisfactory substitute.
Representative WHITTINGTON. It might be. I am willing to work out a better provision, if someone suggests it.
Senator OVERTON. Of course, it is unfortunate that you and the engineers of these floodways have to traverse Louisiana and that a large portion of the area of Louisiana has to become the dumping ground for the excess waters of the Mississippi, but, realizing that it is necessary that we should have floodways and that they can be located only in Louisiana, do you advocate condemnation against the wishes of the people and the property owners in those areas?
Representative WHITTINGTON. I will answer in the language of the Louisiana Constitution and Mississippi Constitution. The only way that Mississippi can acquire rights-of-way for the building of levees in our own state is to give the levee boards power of condemnation. From the hearings before my committee, I understand that under the constitution and the laws of Louisiana, the levee boards have the power to condemn their rights-of-way to the levees. If in the construction of projects within the State, the power of condemnation is brought into play, even though it be not used, personally I think it is more imperative, if it constructs projects
Senator OVERTON (interposing). Of course, a comparatively small quantity of land is taken in the matter of rights-of-way for levee foundation as compared with the vast areas taken by the Government in construction projects such as floodways.
Representative WHITTINGTON. For the actual floodways, that is true, but I went to the limit to try to pay these people between the levees and the river, and the riparian owners on the Mississippi side. In order to provide those rights-of-way you are increasing the burden
on those between the levees and the river and increasing it on the backwater areas. There are many subject to flowage now who are not being paid for it in Louisiana and in Mississippi. That is the only way we can provide for that—by the power of condemnation.
The Government has the power of condemnation in filowage rights in the Atchafalaya at Morgan City. The Government has the power of condemnation in flowage rights on the south bank of the Arkansas. They did not use it, because the people came across and settled.
The power of condemnation will enable the Government, more than anything else, to do the right thing by the citizen and at the same time not to deprive the Government of the congressional intent.
Senator OVERTON. What is your reaction to the view of the War Department expressed in 1936, when you and I undertook, in the Overton bill, to devise provision for the Federal Government of outand-out condemnation for flowage easements? The view expressed by the War Department in 1936, by the Chief of Engineers, General Markham, was that the proceedings would be too costly, involve too great a delay, and impose an immeasurable responsibility on the Treasury of the Government and on the Government itself, and that view has been reaffirmed again in the last few days by the report of the War Department
Representative WHITTINGTON (interposing). You refer to the report on Senator Miller's bill?
Senator OVERTON. Yes.
Representative WHITTINGTON. I say that that report is rather mild—that is, my construction of it. I would say there has been a very material change in the view of the Chief of Engineers respecting local contribution. If we modified that, I think we would have the definite statement of the Chief of Engineers for $10,000,000 additional for lands in fee.
Senator OVERTON. I was not speaking about local contributions, nor was I speaking of condemnation for flowage easements, but the condemnation theory
Representative WHITTINGTON (interposing). I do not share that view of it at all. In other words, I do not believe that the sky would be the limit. I just do not think that the Federal Government should be so impotent that for the construction of public improvements it cannot get a square deal in the courts, and the fact that it does not go into the courts for condemnation for flowage rights shows that they are satisfied when they have the power to condemn.
I want to protect the Government.
Senator OVERTON. As the law stands right now, we have a yardstick established as to values. We get 75 percent of the estimated values of flowage easements, and that establishes the yardstick of values. I think you will agree with me that it appears to be impossible to get the 75 percent of the options in the Eudora floodway, and therefore, under the existing law, the Eudora cannot be constructed. My thought was that since the Morganza was so important a project, we could go along with the Morganza under the existing law. Why not proceed with the Morganza and then undertake the Eudora problem in some other way and in some other manner and at some other time?
Representative WHITTINGTON. We should authorize both.
Senator OVERTON. If we had 75 percent of the options in the Eudora, I would say, "Go right ahead with the Eudora,'' and I would say, "Let us divorce the Eudora from the Morganza."
Representative WHITTINGTON. I believe that, but I do not believe there is as much enthusiasm among the citizens of Louisiana for the flowage rights for Eudora as for the Morganza. I think we should supplement all those who are willing to go along and give the power to condemn.
The Chief of Engineers said the increase would be $10,000,000. That will protect the Government, according to the Chief of Engineers.. That is his statement.
Senator OVERTON. That is right, he said the increase would be $10,000,000, but that was based upon the supposition that 75 percent of the estimated values of the flowage easements would be covered by options at prices satisfactory to the Chief of Engineers.
Representative WHITTINGTON. His language speaks for itself. I think that the $20,000,000 that we authorized we raised because the actual figure given was $16,000,000 for the entire costs. The Chief of Engineers recommended that the flowage rights in the total Eudora area was around $16,000,000 and in Morganza it was around $2,000,000, and in an effort to give latitude, the committee got that 75 percent raised to $20,000,000, so that the total, 100 percent cost, might have been $30,000,000. We raised it about $8,000,000 or $9,000,000—I think everybody knows that over the estimated cost.
Senator OVERTON. We allowed $30,000,000 for both floodways.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Yes; you are right; it was $10,000,000. In other words, the Chief of Engineers estimated that it would cost $17,000,000, and we fixed it so it would cost $30,000,000. If you haven't got any flood down there you have $30,000,000 for nothing.
Senator BILBO. It might not be pertinent, but I would like to put this in the record. Was there ever any compensation by the Government for the landowners on the east bank of the Mississippi north and south of Vicksburg when this land was destroyed by the project of the Arkansas levees?
Representative WHITTINGTON. No. The Supreme Court of the United States held that those riparian owners were not entitled to any compensation, and the citizens there are not entitled to any more compensation--those who own the land between the levee and the riverthan up in the Delta. No provision has been made for compensating any of them, nor have they got any more compensation than the people in the backwater area of the Yazoo, of the Red, the Arkansas, and the White. They have got the same trouble as the riparian owners.
Senator Bilbo. It is a fact that the Mississippi Levee Board has attempted to compensate the owners between the levees and the river?
Representative WHITTINGTON. Yes; they have tried to do that as far as they can, in a fine way, I think.
Senator Bilbo. Nobody has compensated the citizens for that great loss.
Representative WHITTINGTON. No; the Commission, in 1912, submitted a report recommending looking to the purchases of those areas.
They do not discriminate between Vicksburg and the Louisiana line, but in Louisiana, between the Louisiana line and Baton Rouge and between Memphis and Hickman, Ky., on the Tennessee and on the Kentucky side. I think the Government of the United States should pay for these riparian damages.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
STATEMENT OF J. W. BRADFORD, MEMBER OF THE YAZOO
MISSISSIPPI DELTA LEVEE BOARD
Mr. BRADFORD. My name is J. W. Bradford. My home is at Inverness. I am a member of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board. I have been for 14 years. I have been president of that board for something over 6 years.
Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, I am not going to consume more than about 5 minutes. The area in which I live is known as the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta. It begins at the Tennessee line and runs south to Vicksburg, where it points at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Yazoo, approximately 225 miles long and, at its widest point, approximately 70 miles wide.
Senator OVERTON. Let me get that straight. It extends from the northern line
Mr. BRADFORD (interposing). From the Tennessee line south to Vicksburg
Senator OVERTON. There is no other levee district?
Mr. BRADFORD. No; I was speaking about the area. I was going to come to that.
Senator OVERTON. All right.
Mr. BRADFORD. That district is, from a flood-control standpoint, and, up until the Act of 1928, was in charge of two levee boards, the levee board which I represent taking in the north end of this district, and the lower, the Mississippi Levee Board, taking in the southern portion of this territory.
There is on our side of the river not a tributary entering the main stem from the Tennessee line until we reach Vicksburg, the longest stretch of the river, I dare say, that protects anything like the territory that does not have a tributary entering on the front..
In this territory where we live our people drew 1,350,000 bales of cotton, and we have a citizenship of more than a half million. We are interested in flood control and have been all of our lives. We have cooperated with the flood-control associations and with those in authority in flood-control matters, not only for our area, but for other areas in the alluvial valley. In doing so, we have not wanted to appear as selfish, and we do not think that we have been selfish in our area because we have, for the protection of other areas, subjected around 700,000 acres of land in the lower Yazoo-Mississippi Delta to backwater.
It has been estimated that a levee-full stage under the 1928 act will further subject many thousands of other acres of our lower delta to backwater that has not yet had backwater. This sacrifice has been made for the protection of the alluvial valley, including, of course, almost exclusively Louisiana.
The people in Arkansas have likewise sacrificed something by losing enormous acreage of land in the St. Francis, the White, and the Arkansas for the general good. Backwater has literally destroyed