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LIBBY RESERVOIR, MONT. I am also interested in the Libby Reservoir because of what it means to the economy of Montana and the Northwest. Libby is a dam which has been authorized but for which very little in the way of funds has been apropriated and about which there is a certain amount of controversy regarding the site as well as a lack of agreement between the Canadian and American Governments, or rather the Government of British Columbia and the American Government relative to the reservoir, that part of which goes to the Dominion of Canada.
The Army engineers are asking for $50,000 this year. I hope that will be allowed.
FORT PECK DAM, SECOND POWERPLANT
I hope also that the $220,000 for the second powerplant at Fort Peck will be given serious consideration by this committee.
In addition, I hope that the $25,000 for the Billings area and the $75,000 for the Columbia River, a local protection for Idaho, Washington, Montana, and Oregon, will be considered; $75,000 is the amount asked for flood-control protection in these four States. A small part of that would be used for flood-control operations at Missoula and St. Regis. The total in this request is $1,085,000, and I think that every dime of it is justified.
I would like to point out, Mr. Chairman, that Montana occupies & peculiar situation in this respect. In it lie the headwaters of both the Missouri and the Columbia Rivers. If we build enough multipurpose projects and dams in my State alone I think we can reduce tremendously the flood conditions which seem to occur periodically in both those basins.
Mr. Chairman, I do want to ask this committee to give every one of these projects its most serious consideration.
As a supporter of power, flood control, and irrigation projects throughout the Nation and more particularly in the Pacific Northwest especially in Montana, I am appearing before this Appropriations Committee in behalf of needed appropriations, authorization, and actual construction on vital projects in Montana. Montana is a State which has been blessed with some of the greatest power potential in the United States.
There always seems to be a great deal of opposition to new Federal power projects. I remember very clearly the battle that was waged over Hungry Horse Dam, from authorization to completion. Only now that the huge project is completed and in operation do the people realize its benefits.
The appropriation of funds for continuing planning on the Libbs Dam and Reservoir and Fort Peck Dam second powerplant) are vital for providing increased power production in the North west. The initiation of funds for flood-control planning work at Great Falls and Billings is quite important. It is also important to consider appropriations for flood-control work in other Montana counties which are repeatedly threatened with flash floods each spring.
LIBBY DAM AND RESERVOIR
Of prime importance is the speeding up of the Libby project in northwestern portion of Montana near the Canadian border. The Libby project is one important element of the main control plan for the Columbia River. The project, on the Kootenai River, at mile 212.8, upstream from the town of Libby, Mont., was authorized for construction by the Corps of Engineers at an estimated cost of $239 million in the Flood Control Act of 1950, for flood control, hydroelectric power, and related water uses, as a part of the recommended plan for the comprehensive development of the water resources of the Columbia River Basin. This plan, submitted to the Congress by the Corps of Engineers and published as House Document 531, 81st Congress, included recommendations for the construction of the Libby project, together with a number of other projects.
Since 1948, when this plan was prepared, substantial development toward the accomplishment of that plan has been achieved, with the exception of the Libby project. McNary, Chief Joseph, Albeni Falls, and Hungry Horse are already operating or are near completion.
The population and industry of the Pacific Northwest has continued to grow, and its needs for development of its water resources have increased rapidly. Major expansion in the area of industry necessary for the defense effort, since 1950, has been made or is in process. All available information from the Army engineers shows that even with the substantial accomplishments completed to date and under way, the area will undoubtedly continue to be short of power for some time to come. Curtailment of power supply amounting to about 500,000 kilowatts to aluminum and other users because of low water was necessary last fall.
Those projects on the Columbia River presently under construction, together with the existing Bonneville and Grand Coulee Dams, will develop hydropower from a total head of nearly 700 feet. Only Grand Coulee, of the projects on the Columbia River, has storage capacity for use during the low-flow periods in the fall and winter. The other projects must rely upon the available flow in the river as supplemented by the releases of stored water. Grand Coulee and the other projects can be benefited to a large extent by the construction of upstream storage projects. Upstream storage reservoirs will make possible the release of water for use when most needed downstream, as well as providing a major flood-control measure through storing water during the flood season.
STORAGE CAPACITY OF RESERVOIR
The Libby Reservoir, with a storage capacity of over 6 million acrefeet, could materially assist in flood control for the region. Through later release of the stored waters, Libby could add to the present system of projects in operation or under construction up to a total of 1,080,000 kilowatts of average continuous power, depending upon the site finally selected, or about 9.4 billion kilowatt-hours of primary energy annually for supplying increasing power needs. About one
third of this increase in power would be from generation at the Libby Dam and about two-thirds would result from the Libby storage increasing low flows at downstream plants. The initial installed capacity at Libby will be about 660,000 kilowatts, according to material made available to me by the Army Engineer Corps.
As you know, planning for the Libby project was commenced in January 1952. By the end of fiscal year 1952, $285,000 had been allotted for engineering design. Investigation of a number of possible sites in reach of the river upstream from Libby, extending from mile 205 to mile 218, was initiated to determine suitable dam sites and the most economical plan for construction. It had been determined in 1950 that the maximum power pool should be raised from the original plan of elevation 2,440 to elevation 2,459, to utilize the available power head to the Bull River Dam site, 42 miles upstream from the Canadian border. Application to the International Joint Commission, United States and Canada, had been made in January 1951 for approval of the project as required under the terms of the Boundary Water Treaty of 1909 for projects in one country which will back water into the other country.
With available funds, planning had continued into the fall of 1952. The Senate Appropriations Committee, in its committee report on the fiscal year 1953 appropriations for the Corps of Engineers stated that additional planning funds from that appropriation would be available subject to a statement from the United States section of the International Joint Commission that the status of the necessary agreement with Canada was satisfactory. For various reasons, the Commission had not completed action upon the application, and the United States section of the I. J.C. was unable to make the required statement. It thus became necessary, in December 1952, to cease further planning on the Libby project, since available funds had been expended. No active planning has been accomplished until recently..
The action taken by the conferees in connection with the 1951 civil functions appropriation bill in including Libby Reservoir among the projects to which the 1954 planning appropriation was allocated, is considered to remove the former restriction which existed on the use of funds for work on Libby Reservoir. An initial allocation of $150,000 was made to the Libby project from the 1954 appropriation and that it is presently contemplated by the Army engineers that an additional allotment of as much as $46,000 will be made this fiscal year to further continue the planning work on Libby.
I believe present plans are to resubmit the application to the International Joint Commission so as to reach an agreement and settlement of the problems between Canada and the United States on this project. Recommendation of the mile 217 site by the Corps of Engineers now places the Libby project in favorable position for its resubmission to the international organization.
FUNDS FOR STUDY NEEDED
Sufficient funds are urgently needed so that detailed studies of the rnate sites can then be carried rapidly to completion to determine
al site and lay out the project. When this is completed and
approved, the application to the I, J. C. can be reinstated, and it is hoped that prompt action will be taken by the Commission on the reşubmission,
The principal problem involved in consideration of the application by the Commission is the matter of indemnifying Canada for the loss of the potential land and water uses of the 17,000 acres and 42-mile reach of the river in Canada that are necessary for the project. Canada has indicated that it will not object to construction of the project if satisfactory indemnification is made for this loss of resource development potential as well as for actual property damages. Canada can be indemnified in two ways; allocating a certain amount of the power from Libby to our neighbor or by a direct payment of Federal funds. I prefer the latter.
If the Canadian Government should insist on a share of the power produced at Libby, perhaps it would be necessary to select another site which would not involve an international agreement. A decision from the I. J. C. at the earliest possible date is quite important in planning the project.
I wish to stress the importance of the Libby Dam as it is the most important project for the next construction in the comprehensive development for the Columbia River, It will make a major contribution to the power supply of the region and provide needed regulation of flood flows.
GREAT FALLS FLOOD-CONTROL PROJECT
It is gratifying to see that President Eisenhower's budget now before Congress provides $700,000 for construction on the Bull Hook flood-protection project at Havre, Mont. This would complete the construction of the Bull Hook unit and permit construction to be initiated on the levees and drainage facilities of the Milk River unit. This is a project that was badly needed, but there is another area in Montana which has a dire need for a flood-control project. The area of which I speak is at Great Falls where the Sun River has flooded causing considerable damage twice during the past 5 years.
Torrential rains which fell in the Highwood Mountains and surrounding area of central Montana during the latter part of May and early June of last year caused extensive damage in the Great Falls, Belt area. Cascade County was declared a disaster area and the Army engineers were called in to assist approximately 2,000 families a tfected by the flooding waters of the Missouri and Sun Rivers.
Damage during the 1953 flood was estimated at over $5 million. The recent flood was considered even more devastating than the 1948 flood. Flooding conditions are appearing more frequently and with more severity. It is time to do something about this problem. Temporary measures and relief funds each year are costly and it is imperative that a flood-control project be started soon to prevent future floods in certral Montana.
The big problem along the Sun River is to straighten out the streams and removal of trees, bridges, and so forth, as the valleys were so full of water that the streams made the channel in the soft spots and has moved several hundred yards in many cases settling through rich meadows or directly toward farm buildings where now only a normal flood would complete the damage. There is no use in attempting rehabilitation of farmland or buildings until this situation is corrected.
REPORT UNDER CONSIDERATION
I understand that plans for a flood-control project at Great Falls are under consideration in an interim report now being prepared relative to conditions of flooding caused by the Sun River. With the extensive development in both the lower Sun River and Missouri areas in Great Falls, particularly since the destructive 1953 flooding, it seems to me that any reasonable preventive program can have ample justification and it should not be delayed. Something needs to be done in the immediate future to prevent flooding in the years to come.
The tentative allocation of $15,000 is not sufficient action on the part of the Government as I see it. Activating a flood-control project at Great Falls should not be put off, the sooner actual work can be started, the better. No one knows when another flash flood on the Sun River will ravage the area again.
There are other power and flood-control projects in Montana of considerable merit and I feel that should receive the proper attention from the appropriation committees.
FORT PECK DAM
The second powerplant at Fort Peck Dam and the flood-control project at Billings are among those projects in the Nation set aside to receive funds for the initiation of advance engineering and design in the budget estimate now before Congress for fiscal year 1955. It is my hope that the planning work on these projects will go right along and will not be delayed so that actual construction can be started in the near future. The second powerplant at Fort Peck Dam will be a great asset to the production of hydroelectric power in the Missouri River Basin.
PLANNING FUNDS REQUIRED Flood-control projects have been authorized as various sites throughout Montana, but as yet they have not received any sufficient amount of funds with which to begin the planning work. The sites designated for future flood-control projects are at Missoula, St. Regis, Harlem, Miles City, and Saco, Mont. A report from the Corps of Engineers shows that the majority of the funds for these projects, with the exception of the Missoula-St. Regis area will not be allocated until some time after fiscal year 1955. I sincerely hope that it is not the intention of the Appropriation Committee to postpone the allocation of funds indefinitely.
(The following information was supplied :)
MISCELLANEOUS DATA ON CIVIL-WORKS PROJECTS IN THE STATE OF MONTANA 1. Great Falls, Mont.
The amount of $15,000 has been tentatively allocated to the completion of the interim report on food control of the lower Sun River at Great Falls Mentfrom funds in the fiscal year 1953 budget estimate now before Congress fit general investigations. It is anticipated that the interim report can lie completed with these funds in fiscal year 1955.