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The CHAIRMAN. A description of the areas involved follows what you have read.
Mr. JACOBS. The bill provides for payment
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). It covers flowage rights and damages to improvements thereon at the time of the taking.
Mr. JACOBS. That is correct; but if you will go a little further down, on page 2, beginning with line 19, you will find paragraphs
(a), (b), in line 23, page 2, and paragraph (c), on page 3, which are just copying section 3 of the Flood Control Act. Those provisions on page 2 are simply copies from the Flood Control Act, and the provision (c), on page 3, is also copies from the Flood Control Act, that provision reading as follows:
(c) Provide without cost to the United States all rights-of-way for levee foundations and levees on the main stem of the Mississippi River between Cape Girardeau, Mo., and the Head of the Passes.
That is the law today.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; and that is not any part of this bill. The Drafting Service of the House of Representatives requires that when you amend an act, you set forth in the text of the bill the language of the act after it is amended. That is to show how the act will read after it is amended. That, however, is not anything that is carried by this bill. Here we are simply following the procedure that is observed by the Legislative Drafting Service. When you amend section 3 “ to read as follows”, you provide, under this bill, for reimbursement on account of flowage rights, damages to improvements, and so forth. If you did not set out in this bill the language of the act as amended, they would have to write it in when the amended act was printed. That part of the bill you have referred to is merely a repetition of the language of the Flood Control Act, and it is simply meeting the requirements of the Legislative Drafting Service.
Mr. Jacobs. I am calling the committee's attention to it. As I interpret the bill, it makes provision for paying for the land and improvements in the areas shown here in red on the map [indicating], which area is beyond the Borrow Pit, between the old levee and the set-back levee. The bill does not provide payment for the area between the river edge and the Borrow Pit, but only for the land out toward the new levee [indicating].
The CHAIRMAN. This bill does not provide for reimbursement on account of the levee foundation and base. It does not cover foundations for levees in the main system along the Mississippi River. You could not do that without repealing the Flood Control Act.
Mr. JACOBS. That is exactly the point I wanted to make.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no way by which that could be done under a bill like this.
Mr. Jacobs. That is the reason I would like to appear before a full meeting of the committee. I would like to discuss that one point with the committee when there is a full attendance. In the State of Louisiana, on the Mississippi River, we have five levee districts that are affected. We have the Fifth Louisiana Levee District; the Atchafalaya Basin Levee District; the Pontchartrain Levee District; the LaFourche Basin Levee District; the Lake Borgne Basin Levee District; the Buras Basin Levee District, and the Grand Prairie Levee District. They are the levee districts in Louisiana that are affected by your bill, H. R. 7349. Now, under your interpretation of this bill, there will be only one levee district in the State of Louisiana that will be reimbursed on account of lands taken. The only levee district in the State of Louisiana that would be reimbursed is the Fifth Levee District. The Fifth Levee District of Louisiana has had 47,332 acres thrown out, of which 7,933 acres were used for levee locations. Therefore, payment would be made to the property owners of that levee district for about 47,000 acres.
All the other levee districts are left out of the question, as I will show you from .this map. This map [indicating) shows a stretch of levee on the Mississippi River at a point about 15 miles above Baton Rouge, on the west side of the river, and down the west bank of the Mississippi River to Donaldsonville. This [indicating] is a part of the Atchafalaya Basin Levee District, on the Mississippi River. The only levee which the Board would be reimbursed for, under the terms of this bill, would be in the area shown here in red [indicating] which is Australia Point. However, every levee you see on the map here [indicating] is a new levee. Every one of these levees [indicating] was rebuilt new under the 1928 act. All of the improvements in there have been moved back. They disturbed all the improvements. That is true of all the improvements in the area along the river front, and all of the highways in that section are: along the river front. Yet there would not be one dime of reim-bursement for the people in this levee district.
The CHAIRMAN. What you are talking about there are levee bases and foundations. That is something we cannot provide for in this bill, because that would involve the repeal of the Flood Control Act. We would have to have a different piece of legislation for that. We could not cover that in a bill of this kind, because this bill specifically relates to areas that are thrown out because of levee lines constructed on new locations.
Mr. JACOBs. If you take the situation in the State of Mississippi, below Greenville, you will find that the new concrete highway down there follows the base of the levee; yet they would have no reimbursement.
The CHAIRMAN. We had that same question, involving levee foundations, up in another bill.
Mr. JACOBS. This would be absolutely worthless to the State of Louisiana, except in the Fifth Louisiana Levee District.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no way of writing into this bill a provision covering levee foundations. That is an obligation that is assumed by every local interest under the Flood Control Act. In order to carry a provision of that sort, the Flood Control Act would have to be repealed. This is merely a clarifying bill to take care of property between the old levee site and the levee lines on the new location.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I appreciate what Mr. Jacobs says.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; I appreciate it, Senator Overton prepared a bill along that line. You cannot provide for that under this bill.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I can appreciate what Mr. Jacobs has said, because quite a large amount of the cost of the local boards in Mississippi has been in the city of Greenville, and there was a very considerable amount spent at the town of Friars Point.
Are we going ahead this afternoon?
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Jacobs, if you want to go ahead and discuss
Mr. JACOBS (interposing). This information has been prepared for the committee, and I would like to have the opportunity of presenting it and explaining it when more members of the committee are present. I would like to have consideration given to the other levee districts in the State of Louisiana, as well as to the Fifth Levee District.
The CHAIRMAN. There is nothing provided specifically in the bill for the Fifth Levee District.
Mr. JACOBS. Of course, I appreciate that; but I would like to appear before the committee and present reasons why these other districts should be given some consideration in the matter of reimbursement, regardless of whether the areas are used for levee foundations or are lands that are thrown out.
In this connection, I would like to call your attention to statements contained in the hearings before this committee in 1932 and, also, again before this committee in the hearings held on February 7, 8, and 9, 1934, on the same question. There was a bill providing reimbursement or payment for lands thrown out. There was a bill which made provision for the reimbursement of the levee districts, regardless of whether they were set-back levees, or not. We certainly would not have gone to the expense of preparing all this data had we known it would have no consideration. I thought that this bill was a repetition of the other one.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee made a favorable report on that bill.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Will we have further hearings on this tomorrow?
The CHAIRMAN. I think we will probably have to hold further hearings on this tomorrow morning.
(Thereupon, the committee adjourned to meet tomorrow morning, Tuesday, Apr. 30, 1935, at 10:30 o'clock.)
SET-BACK LEVEES ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER
TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 1935
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The Committee resumed hearings on the bill above referred to at 10:46 a. m., Hon. Riley J. Wilson (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
Before we proceed, I wish to announce that I think there will be general debate on the floor all day today, and the committee will meet again at 2:30 and continue with this hearing.
When we closed our hearing yesterday, Mr. Jacobs was speaking. Mr. Jacobs, do you have any further statement right now?
Mr. JACOBS. Yes, sir; I would like to finish the statement I started yesterday.
The CHAIRMAN. I believe Dr. Wolfe was to go on this morning. Mr. JACOBS. I would just as soon wait until the doctor finished.
The CHAIRMAN. Dr. Wolfe, we would be glad to have your statement.
Please give your residence and your occupation.
STATEMENT OF DR. THOMAS L. WOLFE
Dr. WOLFE. This land is located at this location [indicating on map], right here. The old levee land runs along this black line (indicating], as you know.
Our open land is along the front. There are about 2,000 acres of open land. The back land is timberland. The whole tract comprises 4,115 acres. This tract of land we have owned about 30 years and paid levee taxes on. My brother lived on that, and made it his home for a number of years.
At present, with the new levee along this bayou, we have a strip of land about 400 feet wide and 5 miles long with most of our buildings there. Our land naturally drains to the west, into another river; and, as a result of building this new levee, our drainage is cut off, and since 1928 the larger portion of this land has been covered with water and we have not even been able to use it for farming or for pasture land. The timberland is being injured by the water.
As we come out of our residence over here [indicating), there is a. gravel highway there [indicating], and we cross it and we have a strip of land here [indicating], and we go up over the levee and there is a borrow pit about 100 feet wide, filled with water the year around, and it is just hard to picture a piece of land ruined by the con