« PreviousContinue »
Recognizing, however, the objections of the local interests of northeast Louisiana, a provision was inserted requiring the Chief of Engineers to acquire the flowage rights of 75 percent of all of the spillwaysMorganza, Eudora, and its northern extension before work was undertaken upon any of them. This proviso was agreed to by the author of the bill, the Chief of Engineers, and all of the gentlemen representing the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas then engaged in negotiating the terms of the bill.
The adopted plan is comprehensive and feasible and will solve the flood-control problem of the Mississippi River if promptly carried on to execution under the able direction of the Corps of Engineers and the Mississippi River Commission. It must be kept in mind that the unanimous verdict of all the engineers charged with the responsibility of flood control in the alluvial valley is that diversion from the middle section of the river is imperative.
For nearly 2 years now nothing has been done, and in the light of the flood of 1937, where one tributary and one only--the Ohio-sent down to us a greater discharge in cubic feet per second than has ever been measured before at the latitude of Arkansas City, which is a complete verification of the statement made by General Markham, Chief of Engineers, on numerous occasions that there was 1,000,000 cubic feet per second of water in the middle section of the river that the levees could not hold.
Diversion was necessary in 1928. It was necessary in 1936, and is more necessary now when it is realized that owing to the changed slope of the river, especially in the vicinity of Arkansas City, resulting from the splendid channel improvements that have been made, the differential afforded the east side of the river over the unenlarged levees of the west side does not exist.
The record of the Yazoo Delta in its past leadership and in its cooperation with the Federal Government and its neighbors in no way warrants the imputation that we are now or ever have been obstructionists.
We ask this committee to reject this suggested amendment, and if it is necessary in order to secure the rights-of-way through northeast Louisiana, then necessary amendments should be made to the act of 1936.
Senator OVERTON. Just one question, Mr. Allen: What is the greatest flood of record in the lower Mississippi Valley?
Mr. ALLEN. The greatest flood of record? You mean, the discharge in cubic feet?
Senator OVERTON. Yes.
Senator OVERTON. I say, the greatest flood of record that has passed down the Mississippi River.
Mr. ALLEN. There was a greater discharge at Arkansas City in 1937 than ever passed there before, that we know anything about.
Senator OVERTON. In 1937?
Mr. ALLEN. Oh, yes—that which passed Arkansas City. The records show that, if I am not very seriously mistaken; and I do not think I am.
Senator OVERTON. What is recorded as the greatest?
Mr. ALLEN. Around 2,000,000 feet.
Senator BILBO. It has been suggested that the back levee to be built from the Arkansas down to the Arkansas-Louisiana line would divert the water back into the Mississippi River. What effect, if any, would such diversion of water and the impounding of the water in what you would call a reservoir have upon the levees on the Arkansas side?
Mr. ALLEN. Provided they were coupled up with the main line of levees?
Senator BILBO. Yes.
Mr. ALLEN. It would accelerate the flow from the head of it down to the bottom and pile it up there.
Senator BILBO. And increase the strain upon those levees? Mr. ALLEN. It would necessitate a raising on both sides of the river. It would endanger both sides of the river, in my opinion, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Of course, Louisiana would get it after Arkansas got it.
Representative McCLELLAN. Mr. Allen, I did not quite understand from your statement one reason that you gave for stating that the differential with respect to the protection by reason of the higher levee on the Mississippi side does not now exist in the region of Arkansas City.
Mr. ALLEN. I did not say that, Senator. I said, on the unenlarged portion.
Representative McCLELLAND. Maybe I misunderstood you. There is at present a differential, is there not?
Mr. ALLEN. There is estimated, if I may answer the question in this way, and speaking entirely from the practical standpoint-it was estimated in 1928 that the breaking point of the fuseplug was 60.5 feet on the Arkansas City gage, which at that point was actually coincident with the grade of 1914. As a matter of fact, the establishment of a grade line does not fix the top of the levee. It is just like that [illustrating), as General Ferguson said. They build it up, and some of it shrinks and some of it subsides and some of it stays like you put it; and the result is that that so-called fuse plug levee in many places is higher than the 1914 grade. There is some of it that is lower; I know that. On my side of the river that condition is still true. But it varies up and down. In some places we have spots probably 6 feet over. I do not know, because I never worried with the profile of the fuseplug. That was under the jurisdiction of the Army and those people over there, and I did not think I had any right, and I do not think so now.
Representative McCLELLAN. If it does not mean anything, if it does not afford any protection, why is there a necessity for having a fuseplug levee lower on the opposite side? I understood that the purpose of having a fuseplug levee 3 feet lower than the contiguous levee and the levee on the west side was so that the break probably would occur there, or the overtopping would occur there, and by doing so create a factor of safety.
Mr. ALLEN. That was in the report of the Chief of Engineers, the original report. That was not at our instance one way or the other. Representative McCLELLAN. I did not ask you at whose instance it was. But, as a matter of fact, that is the theory, that it would afford an additional factor of safety?
Mr. ALLEN. That is true.
Representative McCLELLAN. Regardless of whether the levee runs up and down that way or not (illustrating). The fuseplug levee is 3 feet lower, running up and down that way [indicating], is it not?
Mr. ALLEN. I would not say that. As I told you, I did not keep up with that. The cut-offs have had the practical effect of enlarging the northern portion, I would say, from practically Sheffield dike north; that is a little below Arkansas City, where it is seriously in danger of what you might call the fuseplug, or as I call it, the unenlarged portion of the levee.
Representative McCLELLAN. This is the only point I am seeking to make, unless I misunderstand it, that the fuseplug levee was created by reason of the act of 1928 by the works provided there. They created this fuseplug levee, and it was designed and the purpose of it is to operate so as to be a factor of safety to the entire valley; in other words, to try to confine a break or overtopping of the levee at that point rather than at other points in the levee on either side.
Mr. ALLEN. It is like a spillway. General Jadwin provided a fuse plug instead of a spillway. Your assumption I think is correct.
Representative McCLELLAN. The purpose was to modify that plan by constructing the Eudora floodway as a substitute, and in connection with the modified plan there was to be provided a back protection levee for the area as indicated by the map?
Mr. ALLEN. Yes; after the completion of the works, and so forth.
Representative MCCLELLAN. The act, I believe, says "simultaneously''?
Mr. ALLEN. Yes. That back protection levee is provided for in the act.
Representative McCLELLAN. If I understand you correctly, and all of those of you who have testified for Mississippi, what you favor is not abandoning the project as a whole, or any part of it, but continuing our united efforts to secure the execution of the whole project, particularly any engineering modifications that the Corps of Engineers
Mr. ALLEN. A hundred percent. They can change it in any way they want, and we are with them.
Representative McCLELLAN. But you want the whole project executed, and not any part of it withheld?
Mr. ALLEN. Yes, sir.
Senator OVERTON. Mr. Allen, I started to ask you a while ago this question. I think the 1927 flood brought down the largest volume of water from the Mississippi Valley than any other flood in the history of the Mississippi River, did it not?
Mr. ALLEN. At least we found it so, Senator.
Senator OVERTON. I think that is the largest flood of record. Of course we do not know what happened before the white man reached this country; but so far as there is any record, the 1927 flood was the largest. Is not that correct?
Mr. ALLEN. My recollection is that in those two reports that I referred to, the Mississippi River Commission, at a cost of $750,000,000, proposed to take care of the 1927 flood. As to the actual
discharge per second I am a little hazy. I do not know whether the flood of 1927, of 1844, or of 1882 was the biggest.
Senator OVERTON. If the 1927 flood had been confined it would have represented a flow of two-million-four-hundred-and-some-odd thousand cubic feet per second?
Mr. ALLEN. As computed, those are about the figures.
Senator OVERTON. The middle section can take care today of the 1927 flood, which was the largest flood of record, without a diversion channel, can it not?
Mr. ALLEN. I do not think so.
Senator OVERTON. You do not agree with the views of General Ferguson?
Mr. ALLEN. No; I cannot agree with him. He is one of the very best men that ever lived; there is no question about that. But I have lived there so long that I could not agree with that, because, after all, the freeboard is a very serious problem. The General said nothing about the freeboard. I know he is great; he is just as fine as they make them, and I heartily admire him for the courage and the frankness that he has; but in that statement I am afraid that he was optimistic.
Senator OVERTON. Do you concur in the view expressed by General Ferguson that we ought to proceed now with the construction of the Morganza floodway?
Mr. ALLEN. I think I covered that in my statement, Senator.
Senator OVERTON. Do you think we ought to proceed now, or that we should not proceed now?
Mr. ALLEN. Our position is just like it was in 1936 when we cooperated with you so heartily
Senator OVERTON (interposing). Which I appreciate very much.
Mr. ALLEN (continuing). That this thing is both Morganza and Eudora. They are part and parcel of a great comprehensive plan to finally close the matter of flood control on the lower Mississippi River which we have hoped for 200 years to see. So, therefore, we stand for the execution of your bill with such modifications as the Chief of Engineers and the president of the Mississippi River Commission may make with reference to the middle section of the river. We are not now nor have we ever been against Morganza; and there is no man who knows that any better than you do.
Senator OVERTON. Of course, Mr. Allen, the engineers cannot proceed with the construction of all projects at the same time. They have to take them up project by project. Is not that true?
Mr. ALLEN. Certainly.
Senator OVERTON. If the engineers are ready and the options have been obtained and the property owners are willing to go ahead with the Morganza project, have you any objection to proceeding with the construction of the Morganza project? And I will put the converse of it, so as to get the whole thing. Or are you taking the position that if there can be no Eudora there shall not be a Morganza?
Mr. ALLEN. We stand for the execution of the plans. Senator OVERTON. So do I. Mr. ALLEN. Of course the engineers cannot start and complete the whole thing in a day. Let them acquire the rights-of-way; give them authority to acquire rights-of-way. Do not tie their hands as we have done since 1880 by local differences among ourselves. I want to give them a free hand.
Senator OVERTON. I want to get your view. If circumstances, whatever they may be, prevent our going forward with the Eudora, do you take the position that if there is no Eudora there shall be no Morganza?
Mr. ALLEN. You have got to change Morganza before you can go ahead.
Senator OVERTON. Let us take the Morganza as it is now. Do you take the position that the Morganza, as it is now provided for in the law, should not be constructed if Eudora cannot be?
Mr. ALLEN. I think they both need modification, Senator.
Senator OVERTON. I really would like to get an answer from you so as to get your viewpoint on it.
Mr. ALLEN. What was my viewpoint in 1936 with reference to Morganza?
Senator OVERTON. That they should both be linked.
Mr. ALLEN. That is true. Why? Of course it is your business to ask me questions.
Senator OVERTON. I gathered from what you have said that you thought the Eudora should be linked with the Morganza and that Morganza should be linked with Eudora in order to insure the building of the Eudora.
Mr. ALLEN. Based upon the fact that there was a powerful lobby here in Washington bearing down on certain distinguished friends against Eudora, just as it existed always, ever since the law was passed. That was my only motive, my only reason. I wanted to be assured of the construction of the Eudora floodway in accordance with the reports of the engineers, whatever the report was. I stand that way today.
Senator OVERTON. At the time that there was an understanding that the Eudora and the Morganza should be linked together, it was freely predicted that there would be no particular trouble. There would be some trouble, but no great trouble in obtaining options in both Eudora and Morganza.
Mr. ALLEN. I heard the statement made at the time by my distinguished friends Mr. Martin and Mr. Jacobs, that owing to peculiar conditions in the Morganza, that the rights-of-way could be acquired in 2 weeks, they had no apprehension about it. But apprehension existed in Eudora.
Senator OVERTON. Did they entertain any apprehension at the time that the necessary options could be obtained in both floodways? Was not the statement made that 90 percent of the options could be obtained in 90 days in both floodways?
Mr. ALLEN. I think so; yes.
Senator OVERTON. And it looks to me as if we are confronted with this situation, that either we can have one of the floodways now or we can kill both floodways. If we cannot get both, should we not have one, at least, now?
Mr. Allen. I stand for protection through the middle section of the whole river from Cairo to the head of the passes. I have, always. My people stand the same way. We are firmly opposed to a divorce, and we insist that this matter should be put in shape so that the engineers, who are, after all, charged with the responsibility of this work