« PreviousContinue »
I believe the Department of the Interior makes a contract with a commercial firm or with the public power agencies and that the laws are very exact as to what their responsibilities and duties may be.
Mr. Burleson. I think you are correct
Colonel Hewitt. We would not sell power as such.
Mr. Burleson. Thank you very much. That is all.
Mr. Fascell. Mr. Chairman, just one other thing.
Colonel, just to get me straight on this thing, though, in the computation of your benefit-to-cost ratio, you do have power production included, do you not?
Colonel HEwnr. That is correct, sir.
Mr. Fascell. You keep talking about it as a potential. If you took it out, what would be your benefit-to-cost ratio?
Colonel Hewitt. It would still be greater than unity. It would be about 1.8 to 1.
Mr. Selden. About 1.8 to 1?
Colonel Hewitt. Yes. Actually, that would be sort of throwing away money if we did it.
Mr. Fascell. So what you are saying is, you either have to contract for this power or the Government has to build the plant ?•
Colonel Hewitt. I would say so; yes, sir.
Mr. Selden. Should the Government build a plant in connection with the dam, to what figure would that reduce your benefit-to-cost ratio?
Colonel Hewitt. Well, the cost ratio for the plant on the basis of a 50-year project life is only about 0.23 to 1, and on 100 years, it would be 0.26 to 1. I would have to do a little figuring here to give you that exactly.
Mr. Selden. I would like to have that figure.
Colonel Hewitt. Would you be willing to let me supply that for the record a little later?
Mr. Selden. The subcommittee would be happy to have that for the record.
(The information requested is as follows:)
Question.—What would be the ratio of U.S. benefits to costs if the Federal Government built the powerplant?
Capital features and estimated costs—U.S. share
Dam without powerplant $56, 629, 000
Powerplant (70,000 kilowatts capacity) 15,217,000
Total 71, 846, 000
Annual benefits and costs—U.S. share (50-year life) with Federal installation of
1 Penstocks would be constructed as a part of dam, even though powerplant not immediately constructed.
3 Power benefit based upon Federal Power Commission report that no dependable capacity available, energy value 1.7 mills per kilowatt-hour—Letter Federal Power Commission, Apr. 1,1958, to International Boundary and Water Commission.
Mr. Selden. Congressman Kilgore?
Mr. Kilgore. Mr. Chairman, I wondered if I might ask a question or two at this point?
Mr. Selden. Yes, you may, Congressman Kilgore.
Mr. Kilgore. And while it might be better for me to comment later, I think it might be well, since Mr. Jackson has asked a question on a latent controversy here, it might be well for me to say something here which the committee might carry in its mind from here on.
On page 4 of your statement there is an item referring to 290,000 acre-feet of water which might be conserved at Amistad which would otherwise be lost to the users annually. And then on page 7, there is an item which indicates that the annual conservation of water at Amistad over and above water conserved at Falcon is in the amount of 86,000 acre-feet; there appears to be a conflict between those two items. And while I know there is not, I wonder if you would give the committee some indication of the manner in which those two figures are arrived at?
Colonel Hewitt. Suppose I ask Mr. Friedken to answer that question.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH F. FRIEDKEN, PRINCIPAL ENGINEER, SUPERVISING, U.S. SECTION, INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION, UNITED STATES AND MEXICO
Mr. Friedken. The total of 290,000 acre-feet which is made in your first reference is total waste to the Gulf and other losses to the river, with Falcon alone.
Now, with the building of the Amistad Dam there would be increased evaporation losses, and it is that increased evaporation loss that makes up largely the difference between the 86,000 and the 290,000.
Also, another part of it is, even after Amistad there would be a small spill of about 9,000, but that is the difference.
Mr. Kilgore. So that the 86,000 acre-feet is the actual net gain in conserved water annually resulting from the building of Diablo, or Amistad Dam?
Mr. Frtedkest. Right.
Mr. Kilgore. The treaty requirement in the 1944 agreement between the United States and Mexico calls for, does it not, conservation space on the part of both countries and circumstances under which that conservation space may be made available from one country to the other, so that this country has a treaty obligation to have conservation space of its own in this additional structure, which treaty obligation carries with it the obligation to make that space available to Mexico for storage of her waters in the event it is not needed for storage of U.S. water?
Colonel Hewitt. That is how I should interpret it; yes, sir.
Mr. Kilgore. Then is it not also true that there are feasible circumstances under which, if we assumed the building of a dam at the Amistad site, with either no U.S. conservation storage in it, or no right to use that U.S. conservation storage, that the existence of conservation storage belonging to Mexico at the Amistad site not only could
but likely would produce a loss to the United States of water, in that title could and likely would be lost to water which otherwise would be U.S. water in Falcon, alone
While I realize that is an involved question, what I am trying to point out is that the necessity for conservation storage at Falcon is related to a treaty situation which is required in order for us to maintain what we now have, with Falcon alone.
Colonel Hewitt. I think you have said it very nicely, sir.
Mr. Fascell. How about putting it in the English language? Are we going to have more water or less water?
Colonel Hewitt. Well, it is our opinion that with no conservation storage in Amistad, that water which would belong to the United States would flow to Falcon, and just as soon as the conservation space in Falcon pertaining to the United States was filled, then any remaining water which comes down the river automatically has its ownership transferred to Mexico, so that Mexico could retain its own water in Amistad and save a space in Falcon for U.S. water arriving there, to which it would obtain title once it reached the Falcon ReservoiK.
I don't know that that is any better.
Mr. Fascell. Well, I think I get the general idea. If you hold it upstream and you overflow downstream that gives you a chance to hold everything you can get downstream?
Colonel Hewitt. There is a matter of the international ownership of the water. The treaty provides that when the conservation space in Falcon attributable to the United States is filled, any excess water which belongs to the United States and reaches Falcon, title to that water is transferred to Mexico.
Mr. Fascell. Falcon can get all it can get by whatever limits are now imposed but can it lose anything? That is what I am trying to find out.
Colonel Hewitt. We lose to Mexico once our conservation storage is filled.
Mr. Fascell. At both places?
Colonel Hewitt. Not at Amistad.
Mr. Fascell. Just at Falcon?
Colonel Hewitt. Falcon. But if we have no storage space in Amistad, then necessarily our water goes down to Falcon. Mexico,. on the other hand, can hold their water in Amistad, leaving a large vacant volume in Falcon which just the minute it begins to be filled with U.S. water, title to this water then goes to Mexico.1
Mr. Kilgore. I would like to say in general response to the comment made by Mr. Jackson earlier that the area below the Diablo site, the Amistad site, is largely within my congressional district, so if there is any controversy which would develop, it would develop in my district and not in Mr. Fisher's.
I think it is a fair statement to make that there is no controversy with respect to the extreme need for the flood control protection that the Diablo or Amistad Dam would provide to all the areas of the river below.
Mr. Jackson. I meant to make that clear in my statement. I am; not questioning that in any way.
1 See app. Ill; supplemental information furnished by Colonel Hewitt, p. 268.
Mr. Kilgore. There is true here, as is frequently true in storage questions, that there is a diversity of opinion relating to water rights and water storage. These questions are essentially State questions.
It is my hope there will be no controversy here in this matter relating to the desirability of the structure. If there is any, it will relate solely to the matter of water rights and not to the matter of the desirability of the project itself.
Those are matters that we have been seeking to work out for some time. We are still seeking to work them out. We met in my office until 9 o'clock Saturday night and again yesterday. We are continuing to meet. This is a culmination of many years of meetings. Maybe it is a matter of eternal optimism, but at this point I could not say that there will be any controversy.
Again if there is any controversy, it will relate to the matter of water rights and not to a matter of desirability of the project inherent in the project itself.
Mr. Seldest. Are there any further questions that subcommittee members would like to ask Colonel Hewitt?
Mr. Fisher, do you have any questions %
Mr. Fisher. I don't think so, Mr. Chairman.
Colonel Hewitt, in response to the questions about the hydroelectric power, cited a letter from Central Power & Light evaluating the falling water at $337,000 per year, and indicated that probably that could be made into a firm offer.
I call attention to the fact that in the bill I introduced, H.R. 8080, authorization is sought for the authority to lease the water. In the same provision, I included a preference clause. In other words, if it comes to a matter of selling or leasing the water, it will be a matter of the highest bidder under the most favorable conditions to the Government. It wouldn't be limited to one company or one purchaser, or if a cooperative expressed an interest in this, it would have some preference, things being equal, to bid on it.
Assuming it should not be found feasible for the Government to build a plant itself about which you are to hear more testimony later on, I think it should be made clear that it is a matter of getting the best offer the Government can get. This water has considerable value. It is very valuable as a source of revenue for this conservation storage.
Mr. Fascell. I am glad to hear, that, Mr. Fisher. If it is that economical, maybe the REA's can get a loan.
Mr. Fisher. They are certainly interested.
Mr. Fascell. I should imagine they are.
Colonel Hewitt. If the Congress decides a Federal powerplant is desirable, we feel willing and able to build it.
Mr. Selden. Are there any further questions?
Colonel, it is my understanding that you will not be available again today or tomorrow, but that you will be available Wednesday in the event subcommittee members have additional questions that they would like to propound.
Colonel Hewitt. That is correct, sir. But on the other han 1,1 will have Mr. Friedkin here, who I am sure would be able to answer most of the questions which I would answer if I were here.
Mr. Selden. This afternoon at 2:30 we are going to hear from some of the witnesses from Texas.
The subcommittee stands in recess until 2:30 this afternoon.
(Whereupon, at 12:25 p.m., the subcommittee adjourned, to reconvene at 2:30 p.m., the same day.)
The Subcomittee on Inter-American Affairs reconvened at 2:30 p.m., in room 1310, House Office Building, Hon. Armistead I. Selden, Jr., chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Also present were Hon. O. C. Fisher, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas, and Hon. Joe M. Kilgore, a Representative in Congress from the State of Texas.
Mr. Selden. The subcommittee will come to order, please.
We have a number of witnesses from the State of Texas. Some are from the district of Congressman Fisher, and some from the district of Congressman Kilgore.
I am going to ask Congressman Fisher, if he will, to introduce all of the witnesses from his district. The names of those who are here will be incorporated in the record. Then, if he has anyone who would like to make a statement, we will be pleased to hear from him.
STATEMENT OF HON. 0. C. FISHER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Fisher. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. After listening to the testimony this morning I think the committee can understand why there is such a tremendous amount of interest manifested by the people who live along the Rio Grande, who live under the gun, so to speak, with the hazards of floods always staring them in the face. We have from the immediate area of Del Rio, quite a large delegation who have come here because of their interest in this project.
I should like to introduce them. There are two or three of them who would like to make 2- or 3- minute statements. They will be very brief. They have undertaken to select two or three spokesmen to avoid repetition, and out of deference to the time of the committee.
First I want to introduce, Mr. Chairman, Mayor Arthur Kennedy, who is the Mayor of the city of Del Rio, one of our fine citizens there. I will introduce them in the order listed here.
Mr. Lyle Almond, executive vice president of the Del Rio Bank & Trust Co.
Mr. James A. Slaughter, prominent businessman, and also representing the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. W. H. (Bill) Kelley, president of the Del Rio National Bank.
Mr. W. M. Stool, of Del Rio, who is in the real estate business and a very prominent merchant in Del Rio.
Mr. Aubrey Rowland, a prominent businessman of that city, and who represents the city on the toll bridge that connects Ciudad Acuna with Del Rio. The bridge is owned by the city.
Mr. H. M. Pettit, who will testify briefly in a moment, and I will explain then what his title is.