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is becoming increasingly acute as their financial ability to meet this increasingly acute situation is steadily diminishing?
The CHAIRMAN. Exactly. That covers the stuation as it is today. Mr. WHITTINGTON. It there anything else, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. SUMMERLIN. I want to call the committee's attention to one little thing or feature of this matter that we overlooked. When I was here in May of last year, when I appeared before this committee, General Brown was here and he agreed to give us an extension of the levee line above the fuse-plug section of about 17 miles. Here is the beginning of the fuse-plug section. Supposed to begin at the lower end of the Arkansas River but the work was stopped at Red Fork. We asked for an extension of 17 miles. General Brown agreed to approve it but for some reason he retired before he completed that job and we still have the low-line levee above the fuse plug below the fuse-plug section at the end of it at Luna, that point here, of about 8 miles on this levee to the Vauclause levee is left low, and not in the fuse-plug section, which leaves a gap of 60 miles instead of 35 in the fuse-plug grade. We would like to have that brought up to the same grade and section as the levee below and above from Red Fork to Luna levee.
The fact is our improved and enlarged levees extend a distance of 56 miles on the Arkansas River and 37 miles on the Mississippi, making 93 miles being up to the present standard grade and section. Now, we have received the very best of cooperation from the Government engineers and the president of the Mississippi River Commission, but they state that they are unable to do that because General Jadwin in some way extended the fuse-plug section farther than the 35 miles. They would have no authority to do the work under the present law, so General Ferguson is holding this matter up.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That is simply a delay. They have the same authority now to bring it down that they had before.
Mr. SUMMERLIN. I want to compliment General Ferguson and the Government engineers for cooperating with us as they have done in the construction of these levees and agreeing with us on rights-of-way that we have acquired without a great deal of trouble; in fact, they have given us every cooperation.
STATEMENT OF HARRY JACOBS, CHIEF STATE ENGINEER OF
Mr. JACOBS. I will make a brief statement with reference to the work on the Mississippi River. We have a law organizing the levee districts in Louisiana. Every one of these levee districts have issued all the bonds that the law will allow. They have issued large amounts of certificates of indebtedness in addition to that outstanding when this act was passed. Senator Ransdell at that time estimated that it should have cost these levee districts approximately $1,000,000 to furnish rights-of-way on the Mississippi River. That amount is today about $10,000,000. The levee boards are broke and cannot go any further. We are willing to do everything we possibly can in obtaining lands at cheap prices for the Government, but as far as appropriating additional lands for these rights-of-way it cannot be done. There is still something like 30 or 35 percent of the
work remaining to complete the project, and I would like to impress upon this committee the importance of completing the project and the importance of amending the act so that the work can be completed.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I wish to add a statement, if I may, in just a word or two, if Mr. Jacobs has concluded.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
STATEMENT OF HON. WILL M. WHITTINGTON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I favor the passage of the act compensating property owners for set-back levees, and in support of the measure I make the following statement:
First, it is really a clarification of the Flood Control Act of 1928; secondly, it involves no authorization of expenditure of additional funds; third, it effectuates the intention of Congress in passing the flood control act; and fourth, the use of the set-back levees by the Corps of Engineers in the execution of the project has reduced the cost of the project and thus saved the Federal Treasury money.
Mr. Chairman, Gen. Edgar Jadwin was Chief of Engineers and the author of the adopted project. He stated, as shown by page 4830, parts 6 and 7 of the hearings, 1927 and 1928, that the estimated cost of the rights-of-way along the lower river to be furnished by the local interests was $4,088,790. I represent the third district of Mississippi with a levee line of approximately 300 miles. There are two levee districts in this area, known as the " Yazoo Basin." General Jadwin estimated that the cost of the acquisition of the rightsof-way in the upper or Yazoo Delta district with a levee line of approximately 100 miles, was $68,796, as shown by his testimony, page 4805. There have already been expended in this levee district alone approximately $800,000 or 12 times the amount of the estimated cost of the rights-of-way as made by General Jadwin, largely due to the fact that the levees are set back much further from the river than contemplated in the project.
In the other or lower Mississippi Levee District, General Jadwin estimated that the cost of acquiring the rights-of-way, as shown by his testimony, page 4830, and I quote from the hearings, is $1,099,624 which is the difference between $1,168,420 and $68,796. That district has already expended about $1,300,000, and would be called upon to expend approximately $100,000 more so that the actual cost largely because of the set-backs in the Mississippi Levee District is one and one half the amount estimated by Gen. Jadwin. First: I am advised by J. S. Allen, chief engineer, that the total costs for rights-of-way and set-backs in the Mississippi Levee District from May 15, 1928 to January 1, 1934 is $1,308,780.78, with $14,787.20 in process of settlement and an estimated cost, Duvall to Brunswick, $80,000, or a total of $1,403,568. I am advised by N. E. Appenhuser, chief engineer, that the total costs in the upper or Yazoo Mississippi Deltas Levee District for the same period is $789,266 with an additional cost in process of settlement of $23,000.
The adopted project provided for an expenditure of $80,000,000 of the $325,000,000 authorized for the construction of protective or
revetment works, and it provided for the building of 20-year levees with a life of 20 years. In the execution of the project, levees with a life of 30 years have been constructed by the use of set-backs. stantially little revetment work has been done so that the cost to the Government with 75 or 80 percent of the entire line from Cairo to the Gulf completed is less than the estimated cost of the project. Further, taking the district that I represent, as an illustration, practically that entire 300 miles of levee prior to the flood of 1927 have been built to the 1914 grade as fixed by the Mississippi River Commission, and these two levee boards had expended in the construction of that levee line, as shown by the hearings and as shown by the reports submitted as a part of the hearings on the Flood Control Act, 1928, approximately $42,000,000. At the time of the adoption of the act of 1928, the upper or Yazoo Delta Levee board had outstanding $4,000,000 in bonds, and the Mississippi or lower levee district $3,000,000 in bonds, to cover expenditures made in bringing the levee up to the 1914 grade.
Instead of the total rights-of-way for the adopted project costing approximately $4,000,000, as estimated by General Jadwin, it ap pears that the cost will be nearer 8 or 10 million dollars.
In the pending bill the local interests are asking to be relieved of no obligation imposed upon them and contemplated at the time of the adoption of the project, but they are asking to be reimbursed from the obligation that has been placed upon them by the Government engineers in the execution of the project that was not contemplated at the time the act was passed, I submit, Mr. Chairman, the pending bill should be reported favorably and enacted by Congress, and I think the situation that I have outlined from the record, not my opinion or my conclusion, but the cold facts based upon the testimony of the Government engineers, gives the situation that obtains in the other three great basins of the lower valley, to wit, the St. Francis, the Tensas, and the Atchafalaya. I will be glad to answer any questions the members of the committee may have.
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask you this. You referred to an $80,000,000 appropriation provided for bank revetment.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. That is to protect an old existing levee and avoid building a new one.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes; it is fair to say that just a few set-backs in the adopted plan were to be constructed here and there, and General Jadwin provided for them in the project, especially in the Missouri-Kentucky area, but these set-backs that have been testified to here by the witnesses from Louisiana, for the most part were never mentioned in the hearings.
The CHAIRMAN. In the set-backs, is it not a fact that the Government, if they had revetted the banks and built up the main levee line, would have saved more than enough to compensate the landowners for this property.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes; it is true that the passage of this act would be ultimately an economy for the Government because the Government would have expended less than provided in the act of 1928.
It is a question of who will benefit by this economy in expenditures, the Government or the landowners.
The CHAIRMAN. You have had considerable experience and know these lands. We are providing in this amendment one new phase, that when the Government acquired these lands, that it does not turn them back to the State or local interests unless it has to do so to retain them and use them for any purpose the Government may see fit. Would they be valuable for reforestration or game preservation purposes?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I think many of them would; unquestionably that would be true, I would say, in the backwater areas of the Red and the backwater areas of the Arkansas and the White Rivers, and especially in the lower Atchafalaya, and in the backwater areas of the Yazoo.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee adjourns subject to call.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. This completes the hearings for the present? The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
(Thereupon, at 4:05 p.m., the committee adjourned to meet again at the call of the chairman.)