Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dams: Marble + Kanab, - Kanab: 1960-3

Rising to a new peak in its mischief-making against Arizona's attempts to get FPC approval for a state dam, in November 1960, LADWP started thinking of seeking a meeting with Reclamation to discuss a recon of Kanab. This brightened Region 3 up, and it sought permission to review the "tremendous resource potentiality" of Kanab. The situation was that Reclamation over the previous decade had studied Marble, and decided on the 32.8 site; always hopeful about Kanab. 1956 on, Arizona (APA principal) & LADWP were skirmishing in the FPC arena, first over Bridge, and then, after pressure was brought to keep Bridge a federal project, APA focussed on Marble for its state dam.

January 1961, a new, now Democratic, administration took office, with Stewart Udall, formerly Representative from Arizona, as Secretary of the Interior. The next several months would involve Reclamation in three intertwined matters growing out of 1950's work: responding to the APA's FPC application, educating the new Interior officials, and responding to LADWP's initiative on Kanab. Then by 1964, these cards would all be shuffled into the new deck created by the decision in the water suit, Arizona v. California, and the administration's (and many others') response.

Work on Marble had been suspended in 1958, but in 1961, Reclamation made a new estimate of power capacity, 625 mw for 32.8 mile, 700 for 39.5. The APA asked for some Reclamation data from the 1940's. In March, Reclamation commented on the APA's Marble dam that the latter seemed to be aware now of tailwater encroachment, but still were not planning on Paria silt trap, and were not studying Kanab. 

In January, LADWP had made its request for Reclamation materials on Kanab, and followed this up in April with an estimate of two routes, the "Park route" and an "upper tunnel route". The significant features were the tunnel through the Park north of Tapeats, with a vertical shaft there and an adit at Fishtail. The construction could go about 50' per day. There was a range of estimates of capacity and cost, including assuming it could be peaking power. 

In April, Reclamation Commissioner Dominy floated this balloon before the new Secretary, writing of Kanab's great potential. The tunnel would pass under the Park, he wrote, only diverting water not needed to maintain a steady stream for scenic purposes. Reclamation intended to make a "paper" study if "local" (though he did not mention LADWP) funds were made available. In May LADWP offered $10,000 to Reclamation to fund study. This caused NPS to memo Secretary Udall opposing any study or discussion of Kanab, even if non-federal. Reclamation, region and commissioner, urged the Secretary to take this chance to review a tremendous resource. 

June, Reclamation gathered materials on Marble for the Secretary, expecting to resume work within a year. Also, Region 3 suggested topics for FPC testimony: benefits of Reclamation marketing the power, irrigation assistance, effects on Glen, Reclamation's primacy in study, including Kanab. Work had been done on 32.8 site, and would be scheduled on 39.5 and Kanab. The Navajo stated they preferred a federal dam; they would not get much from a state project. For these reasons, the FPC should postpone consideration, allowing Reclamation to look at 39.5 mile, update hydrology & market, study other benefits. Big factor was the need for integration over the regional system, including coordination with Glen.

In June as well, Reclamation discussed with LADWP the latter's Kanab work: 2000 mw, cost > $1 billion, a federal project; there were drawings of the tunnel and maps of location and transmission. A field trip was planned. The Californians said they were trying to keep the cost low in order to make a more favorable picture for the FPC, to delay action on Arizona's Marble. They put out a press release urging a Kanab study; the Arizonans called this a double cross and a delaying tactic for FPC application.

Getting approval, in July Reclamation made a contract with LADWP for a reconaissance and paper study. Interestingly, it was already clear to the Regional Director, as he said in his memo to Dominy, that there would be no trouble disposing of spoil from tunnel compatibly with the scenic beauty of the Park; only a geologist could tell the difference. Not only that, but access would be increased, and for the first time, NPS could bring public into hitherto inaccessible parts of the Canyon. The tunnel would provide a "familiar pattern of Reclamation construction enhancing the public interest in those areas where the activities of Reclamation and NPS overlap". This was an opportunity we can ill afford to overlook for the full development of the Colorado. Because there would be no evaporation, it would be the "very cream of the resource development potential" of the river. We need a full-scale effort to at last secure opportunity to look, openly and intelligently, at a project whose value will dictate that it ultimately be built -- if, of course, engineering analysis showed its feasibility. [Grand Canyon analysis already showed it was the idea of a horse's ass-- romantic idea though it was.] Interior wanted no news release on the contract.

The study request called for layout, cost of dam and powerplant at 39.5 [the one Reclamation had rejected before, but which the APA was pursuing], tunnel & its powerplant, forebay storage, estimate of all annual costs, and transmission. Assume an operation at full capacity of 12,000 sec-ft for 12 hrs/day for 5 days. There would be 1000 sec-ft from Marble. LADWP suggested there be a dam 4½ miles from Kanab's mouth. There would also be storage capacity at Deer and Fishtail. Assume Paria, but plan would also have to take care of sediment at tunnel intake. The work from 1953 was included. Complete study by September 1, to be kept confidential. 

An early July meeting included California water engineers who had done much of the work for LADWP. Their report talked about three construction camps being needed on the Kaibab and at Kanab, a total of 10,000 workers. It used Reclamation's earlier work to decide the rock was competent. It assumed an underground powerplant. An adit was located within the Park as the tunnel passed under it, with another outside. They were also thinking about two vertical access shafts between Tapeats and Kanab, to cut construction time and interest cost. Most of the area was so remote it could only be reached by helicopter, so spoil could be deposited inconspicuously. A quick aerial survey was done. The question of whether this work was sound enough that it could be used by Reclamation came up, but LA's answer was that if had served its purpose of raising the feasibility of Kanab before the FPC. In September 1961, when LADWP and Reclamation got together, LA made clear it wanted Kanab as a federal project, since there were so many uncertainties.  

Ignorant of all this, NPS said in July it had no objection to Marble dam, wanting only to know about a regulating reservoir downstream.  There should be a master plan for the area. Archeological sites should be explored. This was only factual before FPC. A discredited voice was heard later on when Bestor Robinson said he was ready to oppose Kanab, but found that more difficult on Marble. He did his usual number saying the dam was not particuarly objectionable, but there should be restrictions. He was ignorant of the real plans.

A September review included Nevada. The Kanab report was done in early October. Power operation as peaking used 500 mw units; underground power plants at or below Kanab (perhaps they lost the 1953 report), perhaps mile 138.5. Power could be generated for 7-12 hours a day. There were two schemes. The tunnel might go directly to the Kanab reservoir, with a surface powerplant near the junction. Or, the tunnel could go through the underground powerplant and then into a reservoir, employing a pumped storage concept of peaking power, where water is pumped back off-peak. Because of the Bright Angel, there would be extra cost to get the powerplant foundation to limestone. There were concerns about the temperature and the underground water. The tunnels would have to bend twice. With no openings allowed in Park, there would be a problem with dewatering; the full release could send 37,000 sec-ft against south wall. The next step would be a feasibility study. Sep 1961 LADWP presented its material to FPC to outflank Arizona's Marble application by suggesting there were better alternatives, which should be followed up as a federal project. When Arizona asked Interior to re-do its Kanab study, Reclamation replied that it was not of primary interest, and only used material in its files (!).  In October, NPS internally took note of the report, saying it was full of errors, and listing its questions about effects on the Park. The flow of 1000 sec-ft would be way below the lowest ever. We want lower Kanab added to the Park. So NPS Director Wirth objected to the study in November, which was by this time, done. He cited the 1949 decision. His Secretary, when the NPS objected to any work at all on Kanab, only said that Reclamation could refuse to supply the old files (!) when asked. In December, Reclamation was still considering, looking at a two-stage plan in order to lower the costs. In reply to protest letters over the next few months, Interior's language went from "you may be sure continued protection of GCNP will be the over-riding consideration in any future review" to  such protection "will be a primary consideration in any future review". 

Concurrently, the FPC proceedings continued into November. The NPA was allowed to intervene. Testimony on behalf of the Navajo was stricken.  And on November 1, Interior had made a big, bad noise when it issued its formal recommendation that the license not be issued, because there was pending congressional action, waiting only for Arizona v. California decision to be handed down. APA was "understandably upset" that Interior would say this after 4 years, 2 months & 23 days of silence, and without consulting Arizona. Your timing, they wrote Udall, provided optimum gratification for our opponents. And the press got it first. Then, FPC staff found that the APA design maximized hydropower, while Arizona condemned Interior for lifting its ban on Kanab study only to head off FPC action. Reclamation replied that the site was not Arizona's, and only made possible by Glen and Paria dams. Furthermore, it may well be that APA plan will cream off the financial reward, and perhaps impair the feasibility of the Central Arizona Project. 

1962, internally, Reclamation considered presenting its Kanab studies to Congress in order to seek authorization for Marble-Kanab. It could later "firm up" some of the unknowns, like location, number and size of units, etc. Another unknown was the "present" attitude on Bridge dam's height. Further, it thought APA was weakening complete unity of agencies. We must complete our investigations because we want to have full integration and coordination; APA does not have to support irrigation. Indeed, even a high Bridge dam may not be possible. And in January, Reclamation even went so far in wanting to thwart the APA as to resurrect the idea of a tunnel from Marble to the Verde. The changed conditions since our 1947 CAP report, it said, indicate that all alternate plans should be reconsidered. Fish & game officials want Marble re-examined for their uses.

More January studies showed that not sending as much water through Kanab as possible would not make sense for power generation. For every 1000 sec-ft sent through Park, 500 million kwh would be lost. "Despite" unfavorable comparison with steam plant, careful analysis would show Kanab to be feasible, given future coal costs. Any diversion through the Park would only make our task of demonstrating feasibility of Kanab more difficult. 

In February 1962, Reclamation was readying to make feasibility designs for 39.5, while revising 32.8 to increase capacity. The powerplants were now to be for peaking power. It would also look at Marble as the first Kanab stage. This, just as the Interior Secretariat wrote a congressman that it had no current program for investigating Kanab. So in March-April, Reclamation decided it would not consider Marble for Kanab; it was no longer appropriate given Interior letters. More mundanely, Tatahatso Point was selected for the construction camp, and 2-mile tunnels for access. Powerplant operation should not dry up the river, but minimum release could be 2,000 sec-ft, with maximum at 34,000. Such fluctuations may be dangerous in Park, so afterbay dam was considered, but could not be large enough. In June, they needed more study on Paria and their inclined railway, but there were no funds.

The FPC staff having prepared its brief on the APA application, Reclamation criticized it in May. The energy output could be higher. The credit for keeping silt out is way too low. Our concept for many years has been that this is a logical Federal project in coordination with and benefitting from Glen operation. Also, it grumbled, saying Kanab is not realistic is short-sighted. Even so, August-September, it complied with APA technical requests for data and access to the site, as APA was going ahead with its final design. Reclamation was also discussing review of both Grand Canyon dams. The costs of the Kanab study were under $10,000, so the remainder was returned to LADWP. When asked in November if there was a Kanab study, Dominy said no. Reclamation was working hard on preparing costs for testimony before FPC, and criticizing holes in APA briefs. In February 1963, it labelled as absurd an APA statement that said Glen limits rather than improves Marble's performance. Reclamation's Marble is primarily to help deal with water shortage. APA plan still bad on silt trap; not good on peaking. Reclamation's draft report on Marble was ready in March for the 39.5 mile site, calling for four units for 700 mw. Paria was necessary to trap silt, prevent delta encroaching on Glen, and for recreation site protection. 

And by this point, the Secretary, in order to solve all Southwest water problems, had announced a grand comprehensive Lower Colorado River Basin Plan, including a coordinated Marble operation to contribute revenues for financial assistance for urgently needed additional water supply. Marble would provide "urgently needed" peaking power and surplus revenue that would be available for future work, including import from the Pacific Northwest.

Sources: Bureau of Reclamation archives, Region 3 & Denver office.
NPS archives, Washington
LADWP files

No comments:

Post a Comment