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to Port Inglis at the mouth of the river and for snagging and clearing to Pembertons Ferry, a distance of 85 miles upstream.
Improvement from the mouth to Inglis, a small town 6.4 miles above the mouth, was authorized in the Second Deficiency Appropriation Act of June 28, 1944, in the interest of national defense. The plan of improvement provides for initial dredging of a channel 10 feet deep and 70 feet wide and its purpose is primarily to permit the delivery by barge of about 100,000 tons of fuel oil per year to a steam power plant at Inglis, owned by the Florida Power Corp.
Mining of limerock, hard-rock phosphate, and farming and fishing are of the chief activities of the region.
The new channel serves a substantial amount of commerce and the small expenditure required for its maintenance is justified. The Board accordingly recommends, modification of the existing project for Withlacoochee River, Fla., to provide for maintenance of the channel between the river mouth and Inglis to a depth of 10 feet and generally 70 feet wide, at an estimated cost of $1,000 annually, in addition to that now required.
The Chief of Engineers concurs in the views and recommendation of the Board.
Maintenance of the project is recommended subject to the condition that local interests agree to furnish free of cost to the United States all rights-of-way and spoil-disposal areas necessary for the maintenance work when and as required, and to hold and save the United States free from damages due to the maintenance work.
Both the Governor and the Budget approve. That is all, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. That is all, then, for this evening.
(Whereupon, at 4 p. m., the committee recessed until 10:30 a. m. tomorrow, Friday, April 12, 1946.)
RIVERS AND HARBORS BILL
FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10:35 a. m., Hon. J. J. Mansfield, chairman, presiding.
SCHUYLKILL RIVER, PA.
(H. Doc. 529, 79th Cong.) STATEMENT OF HON. FRANCIS J. MYERS, A SENATOR OF THE
UNITED STATES FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Myers, we shall be pleased to hear you on the Schuylkill River project.
Senator MYERS. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate very much the opportunity that has been afforded me to appear
before the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and present my views as to the advisability of Federal participation in the program for the restoration of the Schuylkill River, Pa., as recommended by the Chief of Engineers in the report which you now have under consideration.
My interest in the project actually dates back many years. The Schuylkill River at Philadelphia, where I was born and raised, was one of the most attractive and useful streams in the entire country. Not so long ago there were no man-made impediments to navigation in the tidal section of the river below Fairmount Dam of serious consequence, and the banks of the river in Fairmount Park above the dam and along a substantial part of its entire length did not overflow almost every
time it rained. The river then was a stream of great beauty and esthetic appeal, and a wonderful recreational asset. Fairmount Pool, first above tidewater, was then used for the famed Henley regatta, a boating contest which attracted world-wide attention. The river was a desirable source of municipal water supply for Philadelphia and for many other upstream communities.
All of these advantages began to be destroyed about 30 years ago when the fine-sized particles of coal which were being discharged into the stream in its upper reaches by the anthracite coal industry were finally washed by floods and freshets into the lower parts of the river. Since that time the situation has become progressively worse each year and, as a result, there are today an estimated 30,000,000 tons of coal culm and silt lying in the channel and on the banks of the stream.
I would like to emphasize that all of this material eventually would have to be dredged by the Federal Government from the navigable section of the Schuylkill River and of the Delaware River into which the Schuylkill empties at Philadelphia, if things were to be left to
That also means that even though the source of pollution has been stopped, it would take 50 to 100 years for the nontidal section of the river to cleanse itself by natural processes.
Fortunately, however, a program has been advanced by which both of these objections can be eliminated. By its execution the river can be cleared of those obstructions which interfere with navigation and produce floods, within the next 6 years. Such a program involves joint action of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Government.
It calls upon the State to enforce its stream-pollution laws to prevent the further discharge of unreasonable quantities of coal wastes in the river. It also places the responsibility upon the State for dredging the approximately 20,000,000 tons of accumulated waste which lie in the section of the river above Norristown. The State, by legislative action, has agreed to carry out its part of this program. It has obligated itself to spend $15,000,000 during the next 6 years for that purpose and specifically appropriated $5,000,000 for work to be done to June 30, 1947. _Such work is now under way.
The Chief of Engineers report, which you are considering, recommends that the Federal Government participate in the over-all project by dredging and disposing of the deposits which are accumulated in the section of the river between Norristown and Philadelphia. He estimates that there are about 10,000,000 tons of such wastes and that their removal and disposal will involve the expenditure of about $13,000,000. He conditions his recommendations upon the completion of a substantial part of the State's job and upon certain assurances relative to the provision of rights-of-way and easements in order that the Federal Government may prosecute its project.
Multiple benefits will be derived from the completion of the Schuylkill River desilting project. They will be of both national and regional significance. They will accrue to the Federal Government, the State of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, local municipalities, business, and industry, and the public at large.
I concur wholeheartedly with the findings of the Army engineers and urge that your committee give them its full approval.
I would like, Mr. Chairman, to incorporate in the record two telegrams, one from the Interstate Commission on the Delaware River Basin, and the other from Grover C. Ladner, president of the Schuylkill River Valley Restoration Association. (The telegrams referred to are as follows:)
PHILADELPHIA, PA., April 11, 1946. United States Senator FRANCIS J. MYERS,
Senate Office Building. The Interstate Commission on the Delaware River Basin, the agency of the States of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and New York, entrusted with the responsibility of securing a coordinated development of the land and water resources of the Delaware River watershed, endorses the Chief of Engineers' recommendations concerning navigation and flood-control improvements in the Schuylkill River, Pa. Will appreciate having you present these views to the House Committee on Rivers and Harbors and urge its approval of the engineers' report.
JAMES H. ALLEN, Executive Secretary.
PHILADELPHIA, PA., April 11, 1946. Hon. FRANCIS J. MYERS,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C: The Schuylkill River Valley Restoration Association, comprising civic conservation organizations, maritime organizations, chambers of commerces
, municipalities situated in the river valley, and individuals, request you to make known to the Rivers and Harbors Committee their desire that the United States Engineer's report on the Schuylkill River improvement be favorably adopted by the committee.
GROVER C. LADNER, President. STATEMENT OF HON. MICHAEL J. BRADLEY, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES FROM THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. BRADLEY, Mr. Chairman and gentleman of the committee, I would like to add my endorsement to the recommendation of Senator Myers that the committee give all consideration possible to the recommendations of the Army engineers, which I believe involve the expenditure of approximately $13,000,000. I want to say that the State of Pennsylvania has already appropriated $15,000,000 of its own funds for its share of the work which is contemplated in the proposal which is before your committee.
There is no politics involved in this. Everyone in Philadelphia, Republicans and Democrats, are all for this, including our city government, which is very strongly Republican. That might help you gentlemen to make a decision.
STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE SAMUEL K. MCCONNELL, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to appear at this hearing and present my views as to the advisability of Federal participation in the project for the restoration of the
Schuylkill River. The Schuylkill River flows right through Montgomery County, Pa., the congressional district which I represent, and naturally I have a great interest in the favorable report of the Army engineers, which calls for the dredging of the Schuylkill River between Norristown and Philadelphia.
The provisions of the over-all program have already been outlined to you and I feel confident that you will agree that it is a much-needed and beneficial project. Its advantages will extend to not only my district, but to the entire State of Pennsylvania, as well as many of the cities and towns of Delaware and New Jersey. It will prove a boon to both the health and industry of these sections.