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RIVERS AND HARBORS BILL
THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The hearing was resumed, pursuant to adjournment, at 10:30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Joseph J. Mansfield (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
LOUISIANA AND TEXAS INTRACOASTAL CANAL
STATEMENT OF DALE MILLER, DALLAS, TEX. Mr. MILLER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Dale Miller, of Dallas, Tex. Roy Miller, president of the Intracoastal Canal Association, in Texas, had hoped to be present this morning to present his statement. He was unable to do so, and asked me, with your permission, to deliver it for him.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. You may proceed.
Mr. MILLER. You have scheduled for hearings several projects in Louisiana and Texas which have a direct relationship to the Intracoastal Canal of Louisiana and Texas and the construction of which will greatly enhance and extend the already invaluable service of this waterway.
I refer to the Franklin Canal and Mermentau River in Louisiana, which will constitute valuable feeders to the Intracoastal Canal and particularly to the enlargement of the Plaquemine-Morgan City cutoff of the canal which was a part of the original project authorized in the River and Harbor Acts of 1925 and 1927. In the Mansfield bill which authorized the enlargement of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Carrabelle, Fla., to Corpus Christi, Tex., and its extension to the Mexican Border with a depth of 12 feet and a bottom width of 125 feet the Plaquemine-Morgan City route was not included. In the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944, a 12-foot channel in the Mississippi River from Cairo to the Gulf was authorized. Since the Plaquemine-Morgan City cut-off assures a saving of more than 100 miles in the movement of traffic to and from the Mississippi River system to and from points on the Intracoastal Canal west of Morgan City it is obvious that this particular section of the waterway should have the same dimensions as the canal itself and the Mississippi River.
In Texas you have scheduled for hearings two projects which, if authorized and constructed, will add substantially to the value of the
Intracoastal Canal. One is the proposed improvement of the Trinity River below Liberty, Tex., and the other a change of route of the canal in the vicinity of Aransas Pass, Tex. The proposed Trinity River improvement involves a change of route in the waterway at its entrance into Trinity and Galveston Bay, where, through the Houston ship channel, it will connect with the Intracoastal Canal.
Mr. PITTENGER. That has been before the committee before, has it not?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir; it has.
Mr. MILLER. It is the same comprehensive project. This is a new report which merely involves a change of the channel after it reaches Galveston Bay. I think, as previously approved, the channel would cut directly across Galveston Bay to the Gulf; but the new report, which has the approval of the Army engineers and is now before this committee, would change the route of this canal after it reaches Galveston Bay to where it skirts the eastern shore of the Bay as it goes into the Gulf.
The recommended improvement will substantially lessen the distance the canal will traverse the open waters of the bay, should materially decrease cost of maintenance, and provide extensive industrial sites along the waterway. The change of route in the canal in the vicinity of Aransas Pass will remove the canal from open waters, insure a more protected waterway, and substantially lessen the distance traversed by the canal from Galveston to Corpus Christi.
I am also familiar with the other Texas projects listed for hearings, namely, Adams Bayou, Sabine-Neches Waterway, Mill Creek and Brazos Island Harbor. All of these projects are modifications or improvements of existing projects and, in my opinion, are fully justified.
You are of course advised of the enormous commerce which is now being handled by the Intracoastal Canal of Louisiana and Texas. I think the record justifies the claim that the Canal is one of the most successful, if not the most successful, inland waterway in the United States. The Intracoastal Canal Association is now devoting its energies to the development of meritorious feeders to the canal in the rich coastal sections of Louisiana and Texas, which the waterway traverses We feel that the improvement of such feeders as may be recommended by the Army engineers will greatly increase the value of the canal to the great Southwest and insure a constantly increasing commerce. Through this program of development we visualize a great Intracoastal Canal system which will constitute the Southwest's most valuable material asset. As
you of course know, the main trunk lines of our inland waterway system have been completed and are now rendering service of inestimable value. It is obvious that the services of these main trunk lines can and will be enormously enhanced by the improvement of tributaries, which, after careful study, are found to be meritorious and justified.
Mr. PITTENGER. You mean, by trunk lines, waterways or railroads?
Mr. MILLER. I am sure he means here, Mr. Pittenger, the principal waterway developments.
The CHAIRMAN. The Intracoastal Canal and the Mississippi Riverin that section?
Mr. MILLER. Yes.
Mr. PITTENGER: Your father is the president, is he not, of this Intracoastal Canal Association?
Mr. MILLER. Yes.
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir. I believe it celebrated its fortieth birthday recently.
Mr. 'ITTENGER. It is dedicated to improved water transportation ? Mr. MILLER. Yes.
Mr. PITTENGER. Do you know of any railroads that have been put out of business as the result of the marvelous progress that this Intracoastal Canal Association has made!
Mr. MILLER. No, sir; I do not. On the contrary, it has been responsible, I should say, for a great deal of industrial development all along the coast which has benefited the railroads enormously.
Mr. PITTENGER. And the people down in Texas are so progressive and so forward-looking that they have kept this organization going year after year because of its great value to the people of that section?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir; they have.
Mr. PITTENGER. And they have not only done that, but have kept men here in Washington to see that it moves forward all the time?
Mr. MILLER. Yes, sir.
Mr. PITTENGER. Some other sections of the country might well take a page out of their notebook. Mr. MILLER. We think so; yes, sir.
In this connection, may I not express the hope that the committee will take prompt action in reporting out a bill at the earliest possible moment. I feel that expeditious action on the committee's part will probably be necessary to insure the final enactment of a bill at this session of the Congress. As you are aware, there appears to be a probability that the Congress will adjourn sine die some time during the month of July. If this should happen, the bill should be acted upon by the House as soon as possible in order that final action may be assured in the Senate before adjournment.
I may be pardoned this observation. Construction of meritorious river and harbor and river improvement works are not expenditures but investments which I think the record demonstrates pay large dividends to the American people. We are confronted with the necessity of increasing materially and substantially our national wealth production. Experience has demonstrated that on the whole no investment of Federal funds contributes so much to our national growth and prosperity as the development and utilization of our water resources. It is obvious, it seems to me, that it is sound public policy to authorize the construction of these water development projects as speedily as possible after they have been recommended to the Congress.
The question of their construction can be determined from time to time by the Congress with respect to appropriations. Inasmuch as the Congress itself controls the purse strings there is no sound argument, from the standpoint of economy or any other consideration, against the authorization of projects if, as and when they are submitted to the Congress with conclusively favorable reports by the Army engineers. Personally, I have always felt that the Congress should enact annual rivers and harbors bills or at least as frequently as the reports submitted may justify. When reports are permitted to accumulate over a period of years, there is always opposition because the total money costs of the authorizations are large. Many projects recommended are urgent while others are not. Prompt authorizations will make it possible for urgent projects to be appropriated for promptly while others less urgent can wait a more convenient time.
I express the earnest hope that the projects I have briefly described may have your careful and favorable consideration. I regret circumstances prevent me from making a personal appearance before the committee and I am therefore asking Mr. Dale Miller, who is assistant to the president of the Intracoastal Canal Association, to submit this brief statement in my
behalf. The CHAIRMAN. You may inform your father that we received his statement with thanks and have incorporated it in the hearing.
Mr. MILLER. Thank you.
Mr. PITTENGER. I would like the record to show that your father has a very able representative here and you have presented a very able statement. It sounded like an argument for the St. Lawrence seaway and power project. I wish you would tell the good folks down there that I am for this improvement because I think it is needed; and we need the St. Lawrence seaway. I want them to "get religion and help us out. Mr. MILLER. Thank
sir. (Sabine-Neches Waterway, Tex., project heard at this point, printed separately.)
BIG SIOUX RIVER, S. DAK.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES B. HOEVEN, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IOWA
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Hoeven.
Mr. HOEVEN. My name is Charles B. Hoeven, Member of Congress from the Eight Congressional District of Iowa.
Mr. Chairman, I want to state at the outset that I deeply appreciate the consideration which is being given a delegation from Sioux City, Iowa, today, who are here to offer their testimony as to the Big Sioux River project, which, as I understand it, is scheduled for hearing before this committee on the 16th of this month.
Through some misunderstanding, the delegation from Sioux City understood that the hearing would be today, instead of on the 16th, and the chairman of this committee has been kind enough to grant this delegation a short time in which to present their views on the Big Sioux River project.
On the 16th, when the regular hearing will be held, Mr. Chairman, I propose to offer some testimony before this committee, but I do not want to take up more time now, other than to introduce the members of this delegation from Sioux City who, with your permission, will offer their testimony now so that they can return to their homes.
The CHAIRMAN. We will hear them now and go as far as we can.
Mr. HOEVEN. I want to present Mr. Forrest M. Olson, of Sioux City, who is the mayor of Sioux City.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you want him before the colonel makes his presentation ?
Colonel FERINGA. I wish that I could explain the project briefly, and then it could follow in the normal order of business.
Mr. HOEVEN. I believe that would be better.
Colonel FERINGA. Mr. Chairman, the report of Bix Sioux River, S. Dak., is in response to a resolution adopted by this committee on November 22, 1939.
Sioux River, known officially as Big Sioux River, flows south, forming in its lower reaches the boundary between South Dakota and Iowa and at the westerly limits of Sioux City, Iowa, enters the Missouri River 810 miles above the Mississippi River.
This report considers improvement of Big Sioux River at its mouth to serve as a harbor auxiliary to the authorized Missouri River 9-foot deep navigation channel.
At present the Big Sioux is not under improvement for navigation.
The navigation project for Missouri River in effect prior to March 2, 1945, provided for a channel 6 feet deep from the mouth to Sioux City.
Work under that project is about 90 percent completed between the mouth and Kansas City and 84 percent thence to Sioux City.
The River and Harbor Act of March 2, 1945, modified the project to provide for securing a depth of 9 feet between the mouth and Sioux City. When this is accomplished, Sioux City will become the head of navigation on Missouri River for the type of barge tows in successful operation on the Mississippi River.
And right there, Mr. Chairman, lies the importance of this proposed harbor. This will be the treminus of the large amount of traffic which will make use of the Missouri River and flow down the Mississippi River.
From the graphs which we have previously presented, you know that the traffic, the inland waterway traffic, of all the waterways in the United States has gone up by leaps and bounds.
Whereas in 1934 the ton-miles on all the waterways amounted to 9,423,000,000 ton-miles, the waterway traffic in 1944 amounted to 31,343,000,000 ton-miles.
The CHAIRMAN. Traffic on the Missouri is simply grain, is it not?
Colonel FERINGA. Mostly, sir; and traffic in the Missouri, of course, has been handicapped by only having a 6-foot channel. The 9-foot channel is now authorized but has not yet been constructed.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, it will take a few years for that to develop under the character of treatment you are putting in there, as I understand it.
Colonel FERINGA. Pardon, sir?
Colonel FERINGA. That is right, sir; it is nearly all by restrictive works, such as dikes being built out in the shallow, wide portions bank revet ment, and so on.
The CHAIRMAN. And that will take several years,, perhaps to develop?
Colonel FERINGA. That will take several years to complete.
Mr. Hogan points out that although we expect that probably the principal cargo will be grain, it also carries coal; certainly petroleum products of every type; and I imagine steel, and even automobiles.