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Depabtment Of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., February 9, 1960. Hon. Armistead I. Selden, Jr.,
Chairrnan, Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs,
Dear Congressman Selden: This is in response to a request from the subcommittee staff that you wished to know whether or not the comments of this Department to the Secretary of State dated December 18, 1958,2 on a report entitled "Proposed Diablo Dam and Reservoir" still represent the views of this Department.
We are glad to assure you that we consider those comments still to be applicable.
We appreciate your courtesy in inquiring as to the concern of this Department about the proposed dam and reservoir in connection with your consideration of legislation to authorize the project. Sincerely yours,
True D. Morse, Under Secretary.
Department Of Health, Education, And Welfare,
February 10, 1960. Hon. Armistead I. Selden, Jr., Chairman, Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives.
Dear Mr. Chairman: This is in confirmation of the telephone call to Miss Hashagen from a member of my staff in response to your letter of February 4, 1960.
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare still is in accord with the comments of Assistant Secretary Wilson to Assistant Secretary Rubottom of the State Department on January 8, 1959."
We do not plan to send a representative to the hearings of February 8 through February 10 on H.R. 8080, which would authorize the conclusion of an agreement for the joint construction by the United States and Mexico of a major international storage dam on the Rio Grande. Sincerely yours,
Robert A. Forsythe, Assistant Secretary.
The Secretary Of Commerce, Washington, D.C., February 12, 1960. Hon. Thomas E. Morgan, Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
Dear Mb. Chairman: In response to a telephone inquiry from your committee concerning our position on the construction of the Diablo Dam and Reservoir on the Rio Grande River, I wish to state that this Department reaffirms the position taken in Mr. Mueller's letter to the Honorable R. R. Rubottom, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State, dated December 10, 1958.1 We do not desire to present our views in writing or to testify on the bill H.R. 8080.
In reviewing this matter we have been concerned primarily with economy in the engineering design and construction of the facility in terms of both Federal and State funds, and the impact on the land transportation facilities affected. We are still of the opinion that the greatest economy and the least impact can be achieved in the manner we outlined to the Assistant Secretary of State.
We should be glad to furnish further information and assistance if desired. Sincerely yours,
Philip A. Ray, Acting Secretary of Commerce.
- See app. II, p. 261. 3 See app. II. p. 262. * See app. II, p. 259.
AMISTAD DAM AND RESERVOIR
MONDAY, MARCH 7, 1960
House Of Representatives,
The Subcommittee on Inter-American Affairs met pursuant to notice in room 1302, House Office Building, at 2 p.m., Hon. Armistead I. Selden, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.
Also present were the Honorable O. C. Fisher, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and the Honorable Joe M. Kilgore, a Representative lin Congress from the State of Texas.
Mr. Selden. The subcommittee will come to order, please.
Today we are continuing the hearings which began the 8th of February on the Amistad Dam project, with specific reference to Congressman Fisher's bill, H.R. 8080. During the hearings held on the afternoon of February 10, the subcommittee heard representatives of the Bureau of the Budget. The Bureau recommends that H.R. 8080 provide that arrangements be made with respect to water users for the repayment to the Government of costs allocated for water supply purposes.
In the light of the existing litigation in Texas regarding water rights and the difficulties inherent in distributing the cost of benefits to users, the Bureau of the Budget was asked by this subcommittee to review its recommendation.
I have received its latest position on this matter and without objection I will include the Bureau of the Budget's recommendation in the record at this point.
(The document referred to is as follows:)
Executive Office Of The President,
Bureau Of The Budget, Washington, D.C, March 4, I960. Hon. Thomas E. Morgan, Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Representatives, Washington, B.C.
My Dear Mr. Chairman: At a recent hearing of a subcommittee of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on H.R. 8080, authorizing the Secretary of State to conclude an agreement with Mexico for joint construction of Amistad (Diablo) Dam, witnesses for the Bureau of the Budget were asked to reconsider recommendation (No. 2, contained in an attachment to our letter to you of September 2, 1959,1 concerning repayment of water supply and irrigation costs.
It is recognized that a requirement for repayment of the costs of Amistad Dam allocated to water supply and irrigation is controversial in view of the present unsettled state of water rights on the Rio Grande. However, it is clear from the report of the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico, that significant water supply
and irrigation benefits will accrue to water users in the United States from construction of Amistad Dam.
It has long been the policy of the President and the Congress to require reimbursement for costs of water resource projects allocated to these purposes in recognition of anticipated benefits. While it may not be feasible or desirable for the Department of State to assess charges and collect for these benefits from individual water users, there appears to be no reason why the State of Texas, in which the benefits will be realized and which under the terms of H.R. 8080 will be responsible for determining the amount and timing of releases from Amistad Dam, cannot accept financial responsibility for these costs and collect in turn from the individual beneficiaries or the irrigation districts involved.
In these circumstances, we can find no basis for making an exception in the
case of Amistad Dam to the generally accepted Federal policy. To do so would
discriminate against other States and localities, which under law, are required
to repay the costs of Federal water resource projects allocated to these purposes.
Phillip S. Hughes, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.
Mr. Fisher. Mr. Chairman, do you not think you ought to read that so the witnesses will know their position?
Mr. Selden. The position of the Budget Bureau is unchanged. The letter states:
In these circumstances, we can find no basis for making an exception in the case of Amistad Dam to the generally accepted Federal policy. To do so would discriminate against other States and localities, which under law are required to repay the costs of Federal water resource projects allocated to these purposes.
The construction of the Amistad Dam will affect the districts of both Congressmen Fisher and Kilgore. At our previous hearings we had a number of representatives from the districts of both of these gentlemen. Today we have representatives primarily from the district of Congressman Kilgore.
We are very delighted to have you gentlemen with us today and we are going to ask your distinguished Representative to introduce, first,, those who will not testify and, then, those who will testify in connection with this project.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOE M. KILGORE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Kilgore. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We certainly appreciate the committee's scheduling this hearing particularly in the light of the problems the main committee has in your continuing hearings on the foreign aid authorization bill.
First, I would like to introduce to the committee, again, from Eagle Pass, two attorneys, who are here, who will not testify today but who were here at the prior hearing, Mr. Jeremiah Rhodes and Mr. David Hume, of Eagle Pass.
Mr. Selden. We are glad to have both of you gentlemen back with us today.
Mr. Kilgore. And from Laredo, two of whom were here before and the last two who were not here in the prior hearing, State Senator Abraham Kazen, Jr., and Frank Y. Hill. Both of these gentlemen were here before. And then, also, two who were not here before,. Mr. Honore Ligarde and Mr. R. S. Phelps.
Then among those who are here, who either will not testify or who will merely submit a statement for the record. The ones I will name now come under the general auspices of the Lower Rio Grande Water Committee, though they may have individual affiliations with water districts or with municipalities.
Mr. Leo L. Moses, of Los Fresnos, who is representing Cameron County Water Districts 6,10,11, and 12.
Mr. G. H. Loop, of Brownsville, who is representing Cameron County Water Control and Improvement District No. 5.
Mr. H. C. Fitzpatrick, of Los Fresnos, who is representing Cameron County Water Improvement District No. 11.
Mr. Elton L. Key, of Mission, who is representing Hidalgo Water Control and Improvement District No. 7. I might say his district is one in which I grew up and my father was chairman of the board of his district for many years.
Mr. Rex Flanagan, of Edinburg, who is representing Hidalgo Water Control and Improvement District No. 15; and Mr. Eldin Longwell, of Edinburg, who is also representing that same water district.
Mr. E. E. MacDonald, of Mission, who is the manager of and representing Hidalgo Water Control and Improvement District No. 6; and Mr. Glenn G. White, of Donna, who is representing the Texas Farm Bureau, who testified before the committee at the prior hearing.
Mr. Ralph T. Agar, of San Benito, who is manager of Cameron County Water Improvement District No. 2.
Mr. Norton Colvin, of San Benito, who is representing Cameron County Water Improvement Districts Nos. 2 and 20.
Mr. Mark Redford, of Edcouch, who is manager of Hidalgo and Willacy County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.
Mr. Otho Holland, of Edcouch, who is representing Hidalgo and Willacy County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1.
Mr. C. I. Haven, Edinburg, who is manager of Hidalgo County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1; and Mr. Richard Wiesehan, of Edinburg, also representing the same water district.
Then, Mr. Chairman, the others who will testify: First is Mr. C. Y. Mills, of Mission, who is an attorney and who is the informal chairman of the group who represent the Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Committee and whose testimony will be related primarily to that of summarizing the position of the water users to this point.
Mr. O'hara. Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Selden. Mr. O'Hara——
Mr. O'hara. May I at this time announce my interest in one of the witnesses, a long, personal and fraternal interest in Mr. Fitzpatrick. I shall, of course, Mr. Chairman, keep an open mind, but I do have this warm friendship for a very estimable gentleman, and I am happy to see him here with so many good friends.
Mr. Kilgore. I will say, sir, you have a fine friend. He is certainly well regarded in south Texas now that he is a south Texan.
Mr. Fascell. I just want to ask Congressman Kilgore if anybody is left back in your district?
Mr. Kilgore. We are working in shifts.
Mr. Selden. Congressman Kilgore, we are very delighted to have this distinguished group of Texans at the hearing, and we will be very happy to hear from those who are going to testify.
Mr. Mills, if you will come forward and have a seat, we will be glad to hear from you.
Mr. Kilgore. Mr. Chairman, if I might interrupt, several of these witnesses will make referenoe to a proposed redraft of section 3 of the bill of which I have several copies and which I will distribute at this time.
STATEMENT OF C. Y. MILLS, MISSION, TEX., MEMBER, LOWER RIO GRANDE WATER COMMITTEE
Mr. Mills. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, may I say at the outset that we of the lower Rio Grande Valley are indebted to you for allowing us to appear here today and present our case with respect to H.R. 8080, dealing with the construction of the Amistad Dam.
I am a member of the Lower Rio Grande Water Committee and several other irrigation organizations and am a member of a law firm representing six irrigation districts in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, below Falcon Dam comprising approximately 110,000 irrigated acres. With the indulgence of the committee I should like to review some of the testimony which has been previously presented with the objective of showing some of the effects of the construction of Amistad Dam upon the lower Rio Grande Valley below Falcon Dam.
From the Amistad Dam site to Falcon Dam, a distance of 300 river miles, there are only approximately 66,000 acres of land under irrigation on the United States side, most of which land is on the low benches near Eagle Pass. I understand about the same acreage is under irrigation on the Mexican side in this reach of the Rio Grande. Living in the United States in this area are approximately 120,000 people.
From Falcon Dam to the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of 270 river miles, there are approximately 750,000 acres under irrigation on the United States or Texas side. The population of this area is approximately 400,000.
By the terms of the 1944 Water Treaty between the United States and Mexico each country receives the inflows of its measured tributaries and one-half of the unmeasured inflows with the exception that one-third of the inflows of certain Mexican tributaries above Falcon Dam are allotted to the United States. The conservation capacity of Falcon Reservoir is divided 58.6 percent to the United States and 41.4 percent to Mexico. Falcon Dam affords a reservoir of a total capacity of 4,150,000 acre-feet, consisting of 1,710,000 acre-feet of flood control capacity and a total of 2,440,000 acre-feet for conservation and silt storage for both countries. The United States share of storage below the top of conservation level is reckoned presently at approximately 1,369,000 acre-feet. The lower Rio Grande Valley below Falcon Dam lies in an arid region with an average annual rainfall based on records of the last 87 years of between 18 and 24 inches, and the average annual supplemental irrigation water required for successful farming is two acre-feet per acre or a total of 1,500,000 acre-feet on the 750,000 acres now being irrigated.
This exceeds the United States share of the conservation storage in Falcon Reservoir, and of course, it is well known that the supply of water yielded by the Rio Grande over the past more than 50 years