« PreviousContinue »
INSUFFICIENCY OF FEDERAL FUNDS FOR COOPERATIVE WORK Beginning with the fiscal year 1931 Congress, following the recommendations of this committee, authorized cooperation in water-resources investigations with States and municipalities on the basis of an equal sharing of costs. During the last 4 years, the appropriation acts have not carried sufficient amounts to meet the funds offered by States and municipalities on that established basis. The estimated amount of Federal funds necessary to meet such cooperation on the established basis during 1938 is $626,263 as shown in the second column from the right near the end of table 2. The amount provided for this purpose in the Budget is $600,000, leaving an expected deficiency slightly over $26,000.
In the agreements with States the Geological Survey necessarily must embody a statement that the amounts of Federal funds are subject to the availability of appropriations. That is, each agreement is so written that the Federal participation may be made less than the State or municipal participation without a violation of the contract. However, the good faith of the Federal Government in its cooperative program with States and municipalities is involved.
NATURE OF WORK DONE IN COOPERATION WITH STATES AND MUNICIPALITIES
Dr. MENDENHALL. If you will permit me, I would like to call on Mr. N. C. Grover, who is our chief hydraulic engineer, to tell you about this item.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. I see that last year you received $791,317 and that this year you are asking for $800,000. There is a difference there of $8,683, is there not?
Mr. GROVER. There is an $8,683 increase.
Mr. GROVER. That is to make up in part the deficiency with respect to the cooperation. Our work is done largely in cooperation with States and municipalities; and of the $800,000, which is the total of the items for next year, $600,000 is available only for cooperation. That increase goes to make up in part the amount that would be needed in order to meet cooperation on the basis that is contemplated in the law of equal cooperation by the States and the Federal Survey.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. In what States are you doing most of this at the present time?
Mr. GROVER. We are cooperating with practically all States and the Territory of Hawaii.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. I appreciate that, but what particular States are you spending the most of the money in? Where do you do most of your work?
Mr. GROVER. We are spending large amounts in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York. New York, in fact, is next to California.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. But your object in New York is a little different from that in the other States, isn't it, or is it just the same? There is irrigation out there, I suppose, is there not?
Mr. GROVER. The New York interests are divided more between municipal water supply, industrial uses, power, and ground water in connection with municipal and industrial uses. There is great need for such information in its relation to floods in New York as well as in all other sections of the country where flood remedial measures are under consideration. In the West, of course, the interests are more heavily in irrigation, largely in power; also to a lesser extent in municipal supplies and industrial uses.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Take the southern California area. I suppose that it is more for irrigation there than for industrial supply?
Mr. GROVER. Yes. Probably more for irrigation than industrial supply. But in southern California the interest also relates questions of municipal and industrial use and of flood control. In Arizona the information would be largely used in connection with irrigation and power.
Mr. Fitzpatrick. Do you supply any of that information to private corporations that supply municipalities with water?
Nr. Grover. Only as it is made available to the public. That is, we do not furnish it to private corporations ahead of the general public.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Do they have the privilege of getting the information that you have on file?
Mr. GROVER. Yes. Just as anyone else has it, but no more.
Mr. Grover. It is open to the public. And it is open to the public in generaly currently, because of the demand for current information for use in problems relating to the development the rivers or to utilization for many purposes, or to control floods. It is necessary to make the information available currently. That is generally understood, and we have many demands for current information with respect to stages of rivers, quantities of water that flow in the rivers in times of drought and in times of flood. All records related to both surface streams and underground waters collected by the Geological Survey, are of course finally published in the regular series Water Supply papers.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. It is very important just now in our American life to make studies of those things.
Mr. Grover. It is very important, and the demands for cooperation are therefore very much heavier than they have been before. And as a result of that, the amount provided by ('ongress this year and the amount suggested by the Budget for next year, as shown in the justification presented by Mr. Mendenhall, are not sufficient to meet on a dollar-for-dollar basis the cooperation that is offered in an effort by States to obtain information needed currently in connection with pressing problems related to use, control, and administration of water.
COOPERATION WITH SOIL CONSERVATION AND OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES Mr. LEAVY. There are now particularly the soil conservation coming into the picture, and crop control, soil fertilization, erorion by water, and numerous new Government agencies that are interested in this subject. Is there any overlapping between their activities and yours, or does your service supply them with their information
Mr. GROVER. We cooperate with them and supply them with information. They may mahe additionul detail survey of their own, but they will be supplemental to the work that we are doing. There is no overlapping
Mr. Lr41. To be concrete, in the Tennessee Valley, for instance, that Authority might want to uncertain the annual run-off in that watershed. Does your service furnish them with information on that?
Mr. GROVER. Yes. We cooperate very heavily with the Tennessee Valley Authority; and they furnish us money in addition to the money that is appropriated to us.
Mr. LEAVY. That is something that I was just going to ask you. Do they match you? Are they compelled to match you?
Mr. GROVER. No. They do not match us. They give us the full amount that we spend for the work that they want us to do.
Mr. LEAVY. But in the Colorado River drainage and Boulder Dam, you carry on studies there and work?
Mr. GROVER. We carry on studies there, and that is paid for directly by the moneys appropriated to us by Congress. Mr. LEAVY. And that is made available to the Reclamation Servica? Mr. GROVER. That information is made available to them. Mr. LEAVY. Likewise in the Columbia River region? Mr. GROVER. Yes, sir. Mr. LEAVY. Do you go into the question of sanitation at all?
Mr. GROVER. No, we do not. That gets into the field of the Public Health Service. We do not go into the problems of sanitation. However, our records are widely used in connection with problems related to pollution by municipalities and industries.
Mr. LEAVY. That is all. I appreciate the tremendous significance of your work.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. In addition to this $800,000 that you estimate to be spent here, you also spend $600,000, which makes a total of $1,400,000?
Mr. GROVER. Yes. And then in addition we have other moneys furnished by Federal organizations of various kinds, as shown in the justification offered by Mr. Mendenhall. The total that we are spending this year is about $1,900,000 of moneys from all sources.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Have you any questions, Mr. Chairman?
CLASSIFICATION OF LANDS
Mr. FITZPATRICK. We will go over to the item on classification of lands on page 325 of the bill. It reads as follows:
Classification of lands: For the examination and classification of lands with respect to mineral character and water resources as required by the public-land laws and for related administrative operations; for the preparation and publication of mineral-land classification and water-resources maps and reports; for engineering supervision of power permits and grants under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior; and for performance of work of the Federal Power Commission, $100,000, of which amount not to exceed $70,000 may be expended for personal services in the District of Columbia;
Dr. MENDENHALL. The justification for this item is as follows:
In 1879 Congress delegated to the newly formed Geological Survey the classification of the public lands and examination of the geologic structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain. Subsequent legislation has had the result of defining the present work of the Survey in public-land classification as determining the location, quantity, quality, and workability of mineral resources and the location, quantity, quality, and best methods of utilization of the water resources of the lands of the United States. It is essentially a job of taking inventory as a basis for securing use of vast natural resources in the best interests of all the people of the Nation. The related duties of publishing classification maps and reports, of supervising operation of water powers on the public lands developed by private parties and corporations, and of furnishing information and advice to the Federal agencies that manage or supervise the exploitation of mineral and water resources of the public lands are also performed under the auspices of the appropriation for classification.
Under present policies, when the 16 million acres in unperfected entries are Sinally adjudicated and outstanding grants to States and railroads are staisfied,
to little of the remaining public land will pass into private ownership. The
land will be devoted to public use, as in the case of national parks and monuments, or rights to its use under supervision will be granted to private citizens, associations or corporations as in the case of lands valuable for water resources or for minerals to which leasing laws are applicable. Classification has developed a changing aspect but has become even more essential to wise administration and use of the public lands and their resources.
How is the work progressing? What has been accomplished? What remains to be done? Should it be speeded up or slowed down?
Of about 25,000 miles of important streams of the public domain more than 21,000 miles have been surveyed in sufficient detail to permit general plans of developinent to be made. Survey of the remainder, detailed examination of important dam sites to determine their feasibility, review of more than 6 million acres in water-power reserves, about half finished, formulation and publication of plans of development with attendant summary of information, and continuation of advisory and supervisory duties are the remaining tasks relating to water resources to be performed under the appropriation item for classification of lands. The estimate for 1938 provides for continuation without expansion of the advisory and supervisory functions and for the expenditure of about $17,000 in the field work of stream surveys and dam-site examinations. At the rate permitted with such expenditure it will take 35 years or more to complete the normal field work precedent to classification as to water resources. A speeding up of the work is indicated as highly desirable.
About 200 billion tons of coal are estimated to underlie lands of the l'nited States. Two-thirds of the coal land has been examined in sufficient detail to warrant classification as valuable for its coal content, but little is known as to the workability in detail of the coal measures that it contains. About 27 million acres withdrawn for classification as to coal await examination, together with about 20 million acres withdrawn for classification as to oil and gas, oil shale, phosphate, and potash. (See accompanying table no. 1, showing, by States, the outstanding mineral withdrawals.) Survey and examination of these lands is a task of years on which little progress has been made for a decade. About $10,000 is to be devoted to this task in 1937, and the estimate for 1938 contemtemplates a similar expenditure. Reasonably prudent management of the Federal estate would warrant an annual expenditure of $100,000 or more for this purpose until the major items of field work are completed. The estimate for 1938 also provides for continuation on a normal scale of the advisory functions of the Survey as to minerals, including the field work most necessary to the solution of immediate urgent questions relating to specific classification problems. As an illustration of the specific needs, the utilization of oil and gas fields including large areas of Federal lands, is cited.' As of December 1, 1936, plans of unitization of 31 such fields had been consummated, 179 were in process of revision, and 53 were awaiting consideration. The area logically subject to unitization on the basis of stratigraphic and structural surveys must be determined for each such plan before intelligent action upon it can be taken. A detailed structural survey by Government forces is highly desirable in each case but is unavailable except in a very few cases. The best available information obtainable from all sources, reliable and unreliable, must be evaluated and used for what it is thought to be worth. Serious mistakes are inevitable if the Government continues to depend on outside sources for information on which rights to its mineral resources are granted. The surveys that are needed could be supplied for less than half a million dollars, but only one or two such surveys can be made under the estimate for 1938. Expansion of the program for such work would be in the public interest
The accompanying table (no. 21 of principal types and number of technical reports requested and rendered reflects the changing nature of the advisory work resultant from classification activities, agricultural cases reported in previous years having been excluded from this table because of the transfer of such work to the Division of Grazing. The withdrawal of lands from entry in aid of the Taylor Grazing Act has resulted in a reduction of the number of "Land Office cases." on which joint mineral and water reports have been requested and a reduction in the number of appl.eations for claritication and reclassification. A reduction in the number of mineral leasing law cases consideredt is attributable chiefly to the O'Mahoney-Greever Act of August 21, 1935, which changes the wildly speculative system of issuing oil and gas prospecting permuts to a more business-like lessing system. The great number of unit-operation canes is in the nature of a peak load, though a considerable number of such caars will hereafter be a mattre of regular business On the whole, this phase of clasification has been directed to marre important cases and placed on a more adequate and effective basis. Further
reduction in volume and cost subsequent to 1938 and possibly to some extent during 1938 is anticipated.
Supervision of 172 power projects under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Interior and 145 under the Federal Power Commission has been much neglected and should receive more attention.
The accompanying table (no. 3) of available funds and approximate expenditures for public-land classification shows the effect of transfer to the Grazing Division of the work of classification as to agricultural and grazing utility. Most noteworthy is the serious reduction, almost continuous, in funds that could be expended for field investigations as to mineral and power, and the almost complete cessation of such work in 1934, 1935, and 1936. Resumption on the scale of 1933, though with different distribution, was possible in 1937, but no further expansion of field activity is proposed for 1938. Only by such expansion can real progress be made in the fundamental activity of classifying the public lands.
TABLE 1.- Mineral withdrawals outstanding Dec. 1, 1936, in acres
1 Blanket order, acreage undetermined. * Includes 13,578 acres withdrawn for helium gas. TABLE 2.—Principal types and number of technical reports involving the natural
resources of public lands requested and rendered by the Geological Survey in specified fiscal years
1 Includes cases pending at beginning of year as follows: 804, July 1, 1934; 1,864, July 1, 1935; 2,976, July 1, 1936.
• Included in joint mineral and water.