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could compel the United States to perform its part of the agreement in the event it should be decided that the Boulder Canyon project should be abandoned and the money necessary to construct the dam and power plants not be appropriated. Furthermore, it is evident from the terms of the contract with the City of Los Angeles that payments thereunder, outside of the cost of the transmission line which is to be constructed by the city, are to be made, apparently, from the sale of the power furnished by the United States under the contract, and it appears that adequate provisions have been made for penalties and forfeitures in the event of nonpayment.

It should be noted in this connection that section 4 (6) of the Boulder Canyon project act provides that contracts for adequate revenues should be entered into before any money is appropriated for the construction of the dam and power plant, or any construction work done or contracted for. Notwithstanding an initial appropriation has now been made for the commencement of the work, which would apparently indicate that the Congress has determined that the condition has been complied with in so far as concerns the making of the appropriation, it is contended on behalf of the State of Arizona that the fact that such an appropriation has been made is not conclusive evidence or proof that valid contracts have been entered into nor even that the appropriation was made based upon such promises and that the condition precedent applies to the different steps set forth in the act, namely (1), the making of appropriations, (2) the undertaking of construction work, and (3) the contracting for such construction work.

Whatever force these arguments may have, the condition precedent applies equally and with the same force and effect to the three steps. The specific direction in the act that the Secretary of the Interior should enter into contracts providing for adequate revenues to reimburse the United States for advances made or to be made for the maintenance, operation, cost of construction, etc., of the dam and power plants, etc., was a condition precedent to his asking Congress for an appropriation for the commencement of the construction work. When the appropriation here in question was under consideration by the Committees of the two Houses of the Congress, objections were made substantially on the same basis as are now made to this office, that the contracts were not such as would properly and adequately protect the Government. Notwithstanding these objections on the part and on behalf of the State of Arizona, the appropriation was made in the following terms:

Boulder Canyon project.--For the commencement of construction of a dam and incidental works in the main stream of the Colorado River at Black Canyon, to create a storage reservoir, and of a complete plant and incidental structures suitable for the fullest economic development of electrical energy from the water discharged from such reservoir; to acquire by proceedings in eminent domain, or otherwise, all lands, rights of way, and other property necessary for such purposes; and for incidental operations, as authorized by the Boulder Canyon project act, approved December 21, 1928 (U. S. C., Supp. III, title 33, ch. 15A); $10,660,000 to remain available until advanced to the Colorado River Dam Fund, which amount shall be available for personal services in the District of Columbia and for all other objects of expenditure that are specified for projects included under the caption “Bureau of Reclamation" in the Interior Department Appropriation Acts for the fiscal years 1930 and 1931, without regard to the limitations of amounts therein set forth; provided, that of the amount hereby appropriated, not to exceed $100,000 shall be available for investigation and reports as authorized by section 15 of the Boulder Canyon project act.

It should be noted that the appropriation as made does not contain any limitations as to its use. If the Congress had in mind the fettering of the appropriation with the further requirement that other contracts should be entered into before the amount appropriated could be expended, it is reasonable to assume that adequate provisions would have been made in specific terms for the purpose. Taking into consideration the fact that no such restriction or limitation is contained in the appropriation, and, further, that compliance with the condition precedent in the Boulder Canyon project act was reserved by section 4 (6) of said act for the consideration of the Congress, it must be presumed, in view of the appropriation which has now been made, that the Congress has in fact determined, and has been satisfied, that the law with respect to entering into those contracts has been complied with, not only in so far as concerns the making of the appropriation, but also with respect to the other two steps, that is to say, the beginning of the construction work and the contracting for such work.

The contentions and arguments made on behalf of the State of Arizona appear to be based primarily upon the future possibility of the municipality of the City of Los Angeles or one of its departments repudiating the obligations imposed by the contract. The good faith of the city is not specifically questioned, but to support these contentions it must be at least implied. Such matters are not for the consideration of this office in a question such as presented in the instant case. The City of Los Angeles and/or its department of water and power appear to have done in connection with this matter all that legally could be done under the limited power of the city charter to make a binding and valid contract, and to require more would be unreasonable and unconscionable. Furthermore, the question as to matters relating to the municipality making funds available for the carrying out of the contracts, etc., is one largely administrative for consideration at the proper time, and with which this office at this time, in view of the record as presented, would not feel justified in interfering.

Accordingly, in specific answer to the question submitted I have to advise that there appears to be nothing presented by the State of Arizona requiring or justifying a holding by this office that the appropriation made for the specific purpose of commencing construction of the dam and incidental work in connection with the Boulder Canyon project act is not available for that purpose. Therefore, no action will be taken to withhold approval of withdrawals of funds for such purpose. Respectfully,

(Signed) J. R. McCARL, Comptroller General of the United States.



MAY 18, 1931
(283 U. S. 423, 51 S. Ct. 522, 75 L. Ed. 1154]




(May 18, 1931]

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS delivered the opinion of the court.

The Boulder Canyon project act, December 21, 1928 (ch. 42, 45 Stat. 1057), authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, at the expense of the United States, to construct at Black Canyon on the Colorado River, a dam, a storage reservoir, and a hydroelectric plant; provides for their control, management, and operation by the United States; and declares that the authority is conferred "subject to the terms of the Colorado River compact,” "for the purpose of controlling the floods, improving navigation and regulating the flow of the Colorado River, providing for storage and for the delivery of the stored waters thereof for reclamation of public lands and other beneficial uses exclusively within the United States, and for the generation of electrical energy as a means of making the project herein authorized a self-supporting and financially solvent undertaking.

The Colorado River compact is an agreement for the apportionment of the water of the river and its tributaries. After several years of preliminary informal discussion, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California—the seven States through which the river system extends-appointed commissioners in 1921 to formulate an agreement; and Congress, upon request, gave its assent, and authorized the appointment of a representative to act for the United States. Act of August 19, 1921 (ch. 72, 42 Stat. 171). On November 24, 1922, these commissioners and the Federal representative signed an agreement to become effective when ratified by Congress and the legislatures of all of these States. The Boulder Canyon project act approved this agreement subject to certain limitations and conditions, the approval to become effective upon the ratification of the compact, as so modified, by the legislatures of California and at least five of the six other States. The legislatures of all these States except Arizona ratified the modified compact and the act was accordingly declared to be in effect. Proclamation of June 25, 1929, 46 Stat. 20.

On October 13, 1930, Arizona filed this original bill of complaint against Ray Lyman Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior, and the States of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. It charges that Wilbur is proceeding in violation of the laws of Arizona to invade its quasi-sovereign rights by building at Black Canyon on the Colorado River a dam, half of which is to be in Arizona, and a reservoir to store all the water of the river flowing above it in Arizona, for the purpose of diverting part of these waters from Arizona for consumptive use elsewhere, and of 150912—3343


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