Monday, September 18, 2017

Dam Battle - January 1967 Press

This entry continues the dam story using a file of press clippings I collected at the time. The Rep. Udall kitchen-sink bill had sunk in August 1966, and the big question was what the project backers would come up with now? The Sec. Udall initiative — ordering the Bureau of Reclamation to think of as many different plans-without-dams as it could — was complete, and the new Congress would convene to deal with these the different attempts, all, of course, still with the Central Arizona Project as the core.

1 Jan, Sentinel, reported that the Arizona Power Authority had asked the Federal Power Commission to issue the pending license for the APA to build Marble Dam, since the congressional moratorium on FPC action had expired the day before. The APA had filed in 1958, and the FPC was ready to issue a license when Congress enacted the moratorium in Aug 1964 at the behest of the Arizona delegation.
 The APA now argued there was no reason for further delay, it had spent $2.5 million, the project was feasible on economic, engineering, and financial grounds, all power head will be developed,  recreational values will be enhanced not adversely affected, power is urgently needed and can be marketed, annual benefits would be power ($3-4 million) and recreation ($8.5 million), conservation arguments are inaccurate and misleading.

1 Jan, Post editorial offered the opinion that the easily justified farmer-based Reclamation projects of the past will have to yield to new considerations of technology and population growth in the cities.

Early Jan, the Republic’s Ben Cole argued the political influence of Republican John Rhodes has increased after the 1966 elections due to a fortified position on the Appropriations Public Works subcommittee. Rhodes & his Democratic colleague Udall planned a “missionary” journey through the Basin states to talk about mutual interests. Another good sign is that Senator Hayden has recovered from a “trying illness”. And Secretary Udall says that his Reclamation experts have nearly completed their re-evaluation of the water projects.

At this time, the Sentinel editorialized on the “futile exercise” of trying to buck the emotion stirred up by the campaign to save the Grand Canyon. Though preservationists oversimplify and distort the facts, the general public doesnt care. Still the current Interior study of thermal power is folly, since it will cause a fight with private utilities. So we propose that Arizona build a thermal plant to help a federal CAP.

3 Jan, RMN, notes several important water resource bills were passed in the last Congress, and the new one will be dealing with several more big proposals, including the CAP. There will be a national water commission and a national wild & scenic rivers bills.
  It also cited the same authorities as the Post had that the cities were now able to over-match farmers in water matters.

4 Jan, RMN & Farmington NM, ran an AP report on the growing establishment of regional water councils to plan resource use and conservation.

6 Jan, RMN, gave space to Reclamation’s Dominy bragging about the burgeoning power capacity of the upper Basin dams — Glen, Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa, Morrow Point — though he noted that water supply was still too low to permit full power utilization.
  Rainmaking was also in the news, due to a proposed bill by Colorado Senator Dominick to fund an “ambitious” weather modification project for the Colorado Basin.

10 Jan, Helena Montana editorial rained a bit on all this parade by noting that instead of water going from the Northwest down to Arizona, that Arizonans pay for their water without subsidization — that probably would solve the import question.

10 Jan, Republic analyst R. Glasgow noted that even if Arizona built its own CAP, when water shortages showed up, that aqueduct might well not be full. Comments by Californian water officials indicate that shortages are inevitable, so it would be better to stay together to consider how to deal with the future.

11 Jan, Republic: The Arizona House delegation introduced its bill to build a high Bridge Canyon dam, create a basin account to received extra revenues, make the water owed Mexico a national burden to be investigated by a new national water commission, and not to guarantee California its water allotment in times of shortage. Californians meanwhile had re-introduced the failed 1966 bill.
  The Interior Department asked the FPC to suspend any proceedings on the APA dam proposal, since the federal government was committed to Colorado Basin legislation.

12 Jan, Sentinel, reports on agreement between Interior Committee Chair Aspinall and Interior Sec Udall that Colorado Basin bill will be one of only three issues to be taken up in the new Congress. Aspinall reintroduced a bill much like the 1966 bill, with the changes he favored to have a national water commission that would oversee a reconnaissance study of import. Marble dam and an import feasibility study were both dropped.
  The Arizonans’ bill, in return, dropped the Colorado five projects and any import study. Thus, California and Colorado seem to be moving closer, but Wyoming and Utah are “stand-offish”. Seats are being sought on relevant committees by Basin congressmen.

12-13 Jan, Rep. Ottinger (D-NY) press release that he was introducing bill to suspend any action by the FPC on dams “that would flood the Grand Canyon”. (AP in Republic, NYTimes, Santa Fe).

13 Jan, Tucson Citizen, reports on Goldwater, running for Senate, was asserting a state-built CAP was entirely feasible.

14 Jan, Post: Colorado water officials approved their legislative approach including criteria for water storage behind Glen Canyon dam, a Bridge Canyon dam lowered a bit to keep its reservoir out of the National Park, no Marble dam, study of water import, and the five Colorado projects. Sparks of the water board says Hayden will introduce and get quickly passed a CAP-only bill. But Aspinall has his own bill and there will be a conference. He noted Aspinall included a high Bridge dam as a “slap” at the preservationists, who will also lose if the FPC licenses the APA Marble dam. Aspinall denounced those fighting to save the Grand Canyon because they are unwilling to compromise, and thus may get BOTH dams (Hee-hee, smirked the old man?)

15 Jan, Republic columnist Avery reported the state hunting group, the AGPA, is to “open a drive” to get a CAP with a Bridge dam — that, Ben (irrelevantly) sneers, “once was approved by the Sierra Club of California at a time when tempers were not so hot” (and the world was young and stupid).

mid?-Jan, Republic reports that the President’s budget message will endorse building the CAP, although it will call for using the thermal power plant route instead of dams. That plant would be built by the utilities consortium Western Energy Supply and Transmission. The federal government would prepay WEST to help with construction, in exchange for the CAP’s pumping power.
  California’s House bill did not include Bridge dam, he writes.
  Sec. Udall will testify before Aspinall’s committee on the administration proposal next Tuesday.

17 Jan, Star ran a New York Times story that Interior asked the FPC to delay any action on the APA’s Marble license since the administration was committed to the CAP and interest in Lower Colorado Basin issues has reached a “new crescendo of intensity”.

19 Jan Star, reported that Sierra Club official Ingram addressed the AGPA meeting, saying that no prime hunting land on the Kaibab would be taken. Cong. Saylor had introduced a new Park enlargement bill, “designed to prevent the building of dams”. The previous year’s bill had been drafted without realizing it could affect hunting areas. Ingram suggested a joint effort by the Club and the AGPA to draw boundaries for a rim bill, “balking” at the suggestion to include government officials. Ingram appeared with the Club’s executive director; and the two ”conducted themselves well”, in what might have been an “explosive” moment. Such a moment appeared when a member “produced two buckets marked His and Hers, tar and feathers, and a hangman’s noose, saying, ‘This is what I have to show people who want to take my hunting.’, to which Ingram made the perfect reply: ‘Well, I guess this only proves that some sportsmen can be as emotional as we can.’”

19 Jan, Farmington Times reports Aspinall thinks hearing may be held after mid-Febrary. At present, not all bills have been introduced, and not all committee seats have been settled upon. Aspinall and Johnson (of Calif. the new irrigation subcommittee chair) have reintroduced last year’s bills, leaving out Marble dam. The Arizonans, backing away from the import proposal, stand alone.

20 Jan, Republic reports that Johnson, though from California, is “a fair man” who has been helped in his district by Arizonan legislators Hayden and Rhodes.

22 Jan, Republic ran an article on a promoter of an alternative CAP, through a tunnel from Glen Canyon Dam. However, a Reclamation engineer said the studies had been done and bringing up the tunnel idea again would just mean years of delay.

22 Jan, Sentinel queried Reclamation’s Dominy about thermal power, and he replied that there were no plans to buy any such plant. Thermal alternatives were being investigated, but the high Hualapai Dam is “much more economically feasible”. He added that weather modification “gives extraordinary promise”.

24 Jan, Republic reported that a state legislator will introduce a bill to build an Arizona-financed CAP.

27 Jan, Star editorializes about proposals, like the North American Water & Power Alliance, to bring water from Alaska to Tucson, and the questions raised.

28 Jan, Sentinel, Republic, S.L. Tribune, Star, et al. ran an AP story on the Sierra Club having filed an amended petition with the FPC challenging a state-built dam in Marble Gorge on the grounds of economic infeasibility and adverse scenic & recreational impacts. It claimed a nuclear plant, built near Phoenix, would be less costly.

Jan, Colo. Riv. Assoc. newsletter round-up: Full consultation and a united front needed, say water officials. Arizonans not in agreement, some for a state plan, others to renew federal effort. Hayden says there will be separate Arizona bills for a bare-bones CAP bill. Colorado is behind a slightly modified 1966 bill. Sierra Club statement is that it will fight any dam at any site or height—CAP can be paid with revenues from existing dams.

Thursday, August 10, 2017



When Congress passed the 1975 Grand Canyon National Park (and Havasupai Reservation) Enlargement Act, it documented its decision that Beaver Falls should be left in the Park, not added to the Reservation, as I have documented in posts dealing with the Act’s history.

In the past few years, the Havasupai have occupied Beaver Falls, established facilities there, and (at least at times) assigned a ranger to patrol the area. There have been incidents reported where the Havasupai ranger has asked hikers up from the river (always on Park land) to pay a fee to enjoy those Falls.

Someone has posted on the Lees Ferry bulletin board the following unsigned, unattributed, undated notice:

It reads: “NOTICE
If you choose to hike from the river to Beaver Falls, at Havasupai, you are entering Havasupai lands. The Havasupai are currently staging a ranger at Beaver Falls to collect entrance fees of $44.00 per person.”

Lets be clear: A hike from the river up Havasu Creek to and along Beaver Falls to their upstream end is entirely within Grand Canyon National Park. This is NOT Havasupai land. It is quite possible to visit the length of Beaver Falls without entering the Havasupai’s lands. No Havasupai ranger has jurisdiction over the Falls or the power to charge any fee to visit those Falls.

The Park Service should immediately remove this erroneous anonymous notice from Lees Ferry. It should notify river runners that Beaver Falls is within the Park, and no fee is owed to the Havasupai by any visitor coming up Havasu Creek from the Colorado to visit Beaver Falls. The Havasupai should be notified to end their unauthorized, illegal occupation of Beaver Falls, and not to interfere with Park visitors.

The Hualapai and the River — Then And Now: In two parts; Part 2

The second of a two-part review of aspects of Hualapai activities focussed on the part of the Colorado River that flows past their lands in the Grand Canyon.

SO, “NOW”.
The Hualapai, working with Las Vegas enterprises, have indeed come to see recreation (industrial mass tourism, that is) as the primary way for their reservation to provide them with an economic base, that goal they have been pursuing since 1883. I would like to consider these works more fully in another place, for they embody a more or less successful realization of their vision.

The Hualapai and the River — Then And Now: In two parts; Part 1

 First of a two-part review of aspects of Hualapai activities focussed on the part of the Colorado River that flows past their lands in the Grand Canyon.

“THEN” is 50 years ago, at the peak of the congressional decision-making as to whether dams should be built in the Grand Canyon.

“THEN” could extend back 30 years further, when Hualapai interests were first engaged by the possibilities for their economy that arose from Hoover Dam’s reservoir, Lake Mead. In 1934, Hualapai activist Fred Mahone wrote up a plan for access and recreation projects utilizing Mead. (My summary is at The Tribal Council and the BIA did not approve.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dam Press 1966: The Target Is The Sierra Club

Arizona newspapers did of course report on the events of the 1966 Colorado River Basin legislative struggle. In addition, or even as part of their reportage, they published material aimed at blunting, denying, and countering information put out by the anti-dam forces, in particular, the Sierra Club. These published pieces deserve their own display, in part because they were not central to events, but a side flow — this was the Arizonans’ preaching to their own choir. What I present here is a judicious selection and editing in order to provide a sense of what being so relentlessly targeted was like.

The pieces come mostly from Phoenix’s Arizona Republic (Rep) and Gazette (Gaz), Tucson’s Daily Star and Citizen (Cit)

This intense dis-informative coverage in my files starts with the “invasion” of Arizona by the Club and the Reader’s Digest in late March 1966.

24 Mar, Rep: “Sierra Club Prepares A ‘Low Blow’ at CAP” speaks of the Club’s fight “to scuttle the Central Arizona Project dams”. Reader’s Digest was sponsoring a workshop on the brink of the Grand Canyon. An R.D. representative was in Phoenix “issuing hurried invitations” to Arizonans to take part in the sessions to “explore possibilities of destruction of the Grand Canyon”. The Club’s Brower will moderate. The Club was the conference promoter, and the format was heavily weighted toward its point of view. The RD rep said newsmen and western officlals had been invited. They would be flown in and taken to the workshop. Goldwater was unable to come. The RD rep had contacted the CAP’s chief lobbyist, R Johnson, for help. Johnson was bringing several other pro-dam Arizonans, interested in “balanced development”. 

The AP version of this story ran in several state newspapers.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Press reports on 1965 hearings: Aug-Sep

Before I started in January 1966 as the Sierra Club Southwest Representative, much groundwork had been done on Colorado River legislation. The Supreme Court had affirmed Arizona’s water rights to Colorado River water. In response, Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall had overseen the development of a grand plan — the Pacific Southwest Water Plan — to satisfy Arizona and as well set the stage for avoiding water shortages looming in the Southwest’s future. Senator Hayden was once again ready to move a CAP bill, but set it aside to let the House, a more refractory setting, see what it could come up with. H.R. 4671, the Arizona bill from Representative Morris Udall, was worked on in 1965 under the guiding hand of Wayne Aspinall’s House Interior Committee.
  The only press clippings I have from this period come from the end of the hearings before the Reclamation Subcommittee, when anti-dam testimony was heard. This recounting then is only a fragment of what must have been a time of vigorous discussion on how to get the seven Colorado Basin states into agreement.

31 Aug, Phoenix Gazette (AP): “Conservationists Attack Dam Plans” started off by reporting the testimony of C. Callison of Audubon and Sierra Club Executive Director David Brower and Editor H. Nash. They argued that dams were not needed because coal-fired electric plants could produce cheaper power. Callison urged that Marble Canyon be added to the national park; a dam would diminish river flow, altering one of the earth’s grandest areas of scenic beauty. The lower dam at Bridge Canyon would be “an outright invasion of the national park principle by backing water into the existing park”. Nash testified that boat trips through the Canyon would be virtually impossible, because of the difficulties presented by a dam in Marble.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Dam Battle - December 1966 Press

1 Dec, Los Angeles Times, repeats Grand Junction Sentinel story of 28 Nov on possible use of thermal power for CAP.

2 Dec, Republic, article “Moving of Water Termed ‘a Folly’” reports “blunt” statement by Washington state water official, R. Tinney in front of a national Food & Fiber Commission: “transporting water long distances was transferring major income without specific social objectives”. Not a proper economic action for the federal government to subsidize such water movement. It would help Washington’s steel industry to subsidize movement of iron ore from Minnesota, but it is not clear that would be for the nation’s general good. Tinney said, the Southwest’s “enthusiasm for irrigation has led to many excesses”, such as exploitation of ground water. When the water table drops, the local community expects their water to be replenished. Tinney was praised for his report and “courage in giving it in Arizona”.