« PreviousContinue »
NECESSITY OF COMPLETING GRAND COULEE DAM PROJECT
Mr. Leavy. Mr. Secretary, I want to ask you particularly in reference to Grand Coulee Dam. Now, there are three great western projects that are under way and not completed, at least two of which are long range in their nature; that is, the Grand Coulee project and the Central Valley project in California. The third one that I refer to is Boulder Dam, which is now rapidly nearing a stage of completion, at least to a point where it will begin to yield returns to the Government.
Unless further legislative action is taken by Congress, Grand Coulee has a $63,000,000 limit fixed upon it. In this budget you ask for $7,250,000, which will bring that sum up to $63,000,000 when that is spent under existing contract obligations. If nothing more is done you will have there only a foundation for a giant dam, is that not right?
Secretary Ickes. That is substantially correct. It will be more than a foundation, but it will be what we call a low dam.
Mr. Leavy. Could it be utilized either for the generation of power or the reclamation of land?
Secretary Ickes. It would not be a good, efficient project. We need a high dam. In other words, to make a real project, to give both power and provide for the reclamation development that that section needs, and that is capable of being produced by a high dam.
Mr. Leavy. Then, in order to get a high dam, is it not economically essential that the work continue without interruption on that project?
Secretary Ickes. I do not think there is any doubt of that. My own judgment is that the Government ought to provide by proper legislation for a high dam, proceed to finance it, so that it will be a continuing work until it is completed.
Mr. Leavy. Did not the act of Congress request a high dam and so provide?
Secretary Ickes. I am not sure. I am not clear on that point, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. Leavy. I think it did.
Secretary Ickes. If so, then that is covered. Then it would only be a matter of the necessary appropriations to keep the work going.
Mr. Leavy. If you suspend that operation without carrying it to completion, Mr. Secretary, would it result in a great loss economically?
Secretary Ickes. I would think so.
Mr. Leavy. And is it your judgment that the project will be a self-liquidating project over a period of years?
Secretary Ickes. I have no doubt of that, and it will bring into cultivation virtually a new empire. There is in excess of 1,000,000 acres of land out there susceptible of being irrigated from Grand Coulee. That is tremendously fertile soil. The estimate is that 20 acres of land properly cultivated will support a family in comfort.
We are helping now in the drafting of a bill which will make it possible to acquire that land without paying the excessive prices that we usually have to pay if we go through condemnation proceedings for a reclamation project. If that land can be bought at its fair and reasonable market value, and if water can be turned on it, it will profoundly affect the civilization and the economy of the Northwest, and, therefore, of the United States. I think we ought to develop that dam for both irrigation and power purposes. We should develop the latter, in order to pay for the former.
Mr. Leavy. And the area immediately contiguous to that, Mr. Secretary, and your geological staff has made its findings and reports on it, and I know it to be a fact, is a highly mineralized area that would consume tremendous amounts of electric energy at a low cost if it were available.
Secretary Ickes. I think that is true.
Mr. Leavy. And this project is susceptible of developing something like 2}i million horsepower of electric energy.
Secretary Ickes. I do not carry such large figures in mind. I can remember how much money I was given as Public. Works Administrator, but I cannot carry all of these other figures in mind.
Mr. Leavy. And the cost of it, as reported by your engineer in charge, Mr. Banks, is a fraction over one mill per kilowatt-hour, that is, the cost of generation.
Secretary Ickes. Yes; I think it would be an exceedingly low cost.
Mr. Fitzpatrick. To whom woidd you distribute that tremendous amount of electric energy?
Secretary Ickes. If we developed that irrigation district it would use a great deal, and if we develop the mineral lands, they would use a great deal. Here is something that should always be borne in mind: We talk about developing a great amount of electricity in what appears to be a remote region.
The General Electric Co. and other electric companies are developing means of carrying high voltage great distances with no appreciable loss, and I think that even we in this room, the oldest of us, will live to see the day when we can generate power on the Columbia River and transport it hundreds and perhaps even thousands of miles without appreciable loss.
I am not a statistician, but I heard figures yesterday showing that the use of electric power in this country doubles every 7 years, that is, the consumption of it. In certain areas it doubles now every 5 years I do not think we need to be afraid tht we can ever develop electric power in this country that will not have a market.
Mr. Fitzpatrick. That is what 1 wanted to bring out, because we are often asked that question.
The Chaip.man. They figure now on power being transported a thousand miles, practically. So, it is not a local matter any more.
Secretary Ickes. No.
Mr. Leavy. That is a long-range project that runs over a quarter of a century, practically, before completion?
Secretary Ickes. 1 do not know. I always like to do things faster than that myself, and it is necessary to do it as quickly as possible. There is considerable loss on the money invested if you are dilatory about finishing a thing. None of us would build a building that way. We would not put in the foundation and then wait for years without constructing the superstructure.
CENTRAL VALLEY PROJECT
Mr. Leavy. You are familiar with the Central Valley project in California? Secretary Ickes. In a way. They are both P. W. A. projects.
Mr. Leavy. But on Grand Coulee you are limited again, and can no longer spend P. W. A. money by reason of the limitation of Congress?
Secretary Ickes. That is right.
Mr. Leavy. And that may be true of Central Valley. I am not familiar with the regulations.
Secretray Ickes. That is true of Central Valley.
Mr. Leavy. Central Valley is a project that meets with your approbation and approval, and you recommend it to the committee?
Secretray Ickes. Oh, yes; absolutely.
The Chairman. The main obstacle, Mr. Secretary, in carrying out these worthwhile measures is the vast quantity of money that it requires?
Secretary Ickes. Ye9, sir; that is it.
The Chairman. And we cannot carry them all at once?
Secretary Ickes. That is true.
The Chairman. Each one has more or less to take its turn?
Secretary Ickes. That is right.
The Chairman. At the present time there are some States getting comparatively nothing?
Secretary Ickes. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. In other words, it is a question of cutting our garments according to our cloth somewhat?
Secretary Ickes. No; we cannot do them all at once; that is true.
The Chairman. And we do have to give respectful consideration to the estimates of the National Resources Committee and the Budget and the President himself, and the authorities that be, to systematize this enormous amount of work that we have laid, and which is in progress.
Emergency Activities And New Activities Established In The Interior Department
Mr. Rich. I was interested, Secretary Ickes, when I wrote you on February 25, in reference to the various organizations that have come into your Department, and those activities that have gone out of your Department, because I recall very definitely a year or so ago a statement that you made before the Public Lands Committee on conservation, and I am, in a measure, sympathetic with many of your ideas.
In order to be brief I would like to insert in the record the emergency activities that were established in the Department as given to me in reply to this letter, if that is satisfactory to you.
Secretary Ickes. That is quite all right.
Mr. Rich. And also the new activities that were established in the Interior Department, and the list of activities that were transferred to the Interior Department.
Secretary Ickes. Yes.
The Chairman. We usually put that in the record of the hearings. I think the last time we had 18 new activities.
Mr. Rich. They list some 20 new activities.
The Chairman. Yes.
(The letters and the lists of activities referred to are as follows:)
February 25, 1937. Hon. Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior,
Washington, D. C. My Dear Mr. Ickes: In order to give your Department the benefit of every possible consideration in connection with requested appropriation, I believe it would be very helpful if you would send me a list of agencies and bureaus under your departmental administration which have been created as emergency activities. Also, kindly note any new agencies or activities brought under your administration since your assumption of the secretaryship.
As one of the members of the subcommittee for the consideration of the Interior Department appropriation bill I think this information would be of value to me at this time.
Thanking you in advance for same, I am,
Robert F. Rich.
Interior Department, Washington, March 4, 1937. Hon. Robert F. Rich,
House of Representatives. My Dear Mr. Rich: In response to your request of February 25, I am glad to send you herewith a list of new activities brought under my supervision since assuming the office of Secretary of the Interior, and a list of the emergency activities established in this Department. Sincerely yours,
Harold L. Ickes,
Secretary of the Interior.
Emergency Activities Established In The Interior Department
1. Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration.
2. Recreational demonstration projects in national parks.
3. Work camps in national parks.
4. Emergency conservation work in national parks, on Indian reservations, grazing areas, reclamation projects, territories, and island possessions, etc.
Secretary Ickes. The activities listed as 2, 3, and 4 are under the direction of regular agencies of the Department, but they operate as separate units thereunder. This list, of course, does not include emergency projects of the various bureaus and offices of the Department for which separate administrative units have not been established.
NEW ACTIVITIES ESTABLISHED IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT
1. Division of Grazing, Office of the Secretary.
2. Division of Motion Pictures, Office of the Secretary.
3. Petroleum Conservation Division, Office of the Secretary.
4. Board of Indian Arts and Crafts.
5. National Bituminous Coal Commission.
6. Consumers' Counsel, of the National Bituminous Coal Commission.
ACTIVITIES TRANSFERRED TO THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT
To the Office of the Secretary
1. United States Geographic Board.
2. Administration of Puerto Rico.
3. Bureau of Mines.
To the National Park Service
4. Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks.
5. Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission.
6. Public Buildings Commission.
7. Agriculture Department Buildings (6 buildings).
8. Veterans' Administration Buildings (4 buildings).
9. Treasury Department Buildings (9 buildings).
10. National Monuments, Agriculture (16 monuments).
11. Abraham Lincoln National Monument.
12. National Military Parks, Battlefields, and Cemeteries (33 areas).
13. National Military Monuments (14 monuments). (
14. National Memorial Commission.
15. Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway Commission.
16. Perry's Victory Memorial Commission.
■ To the Office of Education
17. Federal Board for Vocational Education.
For administration of expenditures
18. Commission of Fine Arts.
19. George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission.
20. Mount Rushmore National Memorial Commission.
In addition to the above, two new divisions, the Division of Investi-11 gations and the Division of Territories and Island Possessions, werell established in the Office of the Secretary by the consolidation oflj activities already under the jurisdiction of the Department. \
CONSOLIDATION OF GRAZING LAND AREAS
Mr. Rich. In the discussion a year ago in reference to grazing under the Taylor Act, the President, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of the Interior had the power to consolidate the grazing lands of this country, but for some reason or other they did not act. I feel confident that I am quoting the Secretary of the Interior correctly when I say he was anxious that the grazing lands of this country be consolidated for the purpose of getting economy in operation and economy in handling grazing. Those three men no longer have that power, and it is up to Congress, as I understand it now, if it is going to be consolidated, to do so.
With the establishment at the present time in the Department of the Interior of the grazing activities, I can see where it is going to cost a lot of money if that Department is set up in the Department of the Interior. How can we, in some manner, have the grazing activities of the Department of Agriculture and those that are now being set up in the Interior Department put under one head for the purpose of efficiency and economy?
Secretary Ickes. If the President's Executive reorganization ideas are adopted by Congress, he would have the power to do that.
Mr. Rich. That takes us to the point where we have an investigation of Government activities in the Senate. We have a committee for consolidation. We had a committee in the House, and the President has established a committee.
Secretary Ickes. There is a joint committee that is considering the bill now, as I understand it.
Mr. Rich. I did not so understand.