Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dams: The Sideshow: APA v. the World, at FPC Arena, 1956-64, part II. (replaces 31 Oct 2010 entry)

Then in November 1960, signs showed up of a compromise with LADWP. Hearings on Bridge were postponed on the joint motion of agencies from the two states, having agreed the dam should be high, and therefore federal. (Reclamation dominance over Bridge was thus secured; nevertheless, the applications were not formally dismissed until 1969.) APA was considering whether to make Marble a separate application. Hearing was now set for April 1961. There was a meeting of LADWP with Dominy of Reclamation, where LADWP emphasized Marble-Kanab. Dominy promised unlimited access to data on Bridge, Marble, etc. In December, still upbeat, APA was readying its FPC testimony, looking toward an April hearing. It met with S. Udall, Secretary-designate, who was told all agencies in Arizona wanted APA to press on, although action on Bridge would be withheld while they talked with LADWP. Udall seemed convinced of Arizona unity.

In January 1961, the schedule was set for pre-hearing, APA testimony, motions to strike testimony, answers to those, other testimony and strike motions, then action on motions. Real hearings in April. LADWP wanted a six-month extension to allow consideration of Kanab.  After the pre-hearing conference, the APA was miffed at LADWP which had used APA willingness to cooperate on Bridge to disadvantage APA on Marble. Early in the new Congress, Feb 1961, Nevada's Senator Bible introduced a federal Bridge bill, calling it like Hayden's 1951 bill. Congressman Rhodes attacked it. The Kanab study and Nevada actions worked to slow down the APA. There was also skirmishing before the FPC, with the Navajo moving to get the hearing delayed. And LADWP, with Bridge dropped, was determined to intervene on Marble. There was squabbling over whether the stream gage at Lees, below the Paria, would be damaged. LADWP strategy seemed to be to involve Reclamation, about which Dominy was willing. Negotiations continued, and in May, LADWP indicated it would offer Kanab in opposition to Marble, and wanted to divide Bridge from the CAP. The hearing did begin in May and the Bridge and Marble applications were promptly severed from each other, with LADWP and APA ordered to show why their Bridge applications should not be dismissed. 

[It is a measure of something, perhaps Californian greed, arrogance, intransigence or perhaps Reclamation's, that a deal was not done here explicitly to build a federal Bridge and allow the state to pursue Marble. The stakes were too high for control of the energy for such a compromise? Or just too deeply rooted an animosity?] LADWP was getting substantial help from the California Colorado River Board staff on the Kanab works. They were all putting in a large amount of work preparing, trying to make the project realistic, and writing cross-examination questions. 

The 1960 compromise simplified hearings on Marble, which had been made its separate proceeding. The FPC staff testimony was good for APA's Marble, only asking for further study on a re-regulating dam, recreation, and increasing capacity. Then, LADWP brought up Kanab in June and the N.Parks A. successfully petitioned to intervene, with arguments that were actually against Marble's impact on the canyon. In granting this petition, NPA was restricted to Kanab, however. The Navajo successfully petitioned for another delay, even with the APA arguing strongly that the 1934 Navajo Boundary Act excluded water power lands from the reservation, as Hayden had stated at the time: it was a trade of land for power development rights. LADWP moved to delay again, and So. Cal. Edison was allowed into the proceedings. Delay was until October 1961, and FPC noted there had been no answer from the Secretary. 

By July, LADWP had stopped negotiating, and was opposing APA before the FPC. Reclamation would study Kanab for LADWP. APA staff heard indications that Interior was looking to add Marble to a federal scheme for a basin-wide project, but all state agencies were still behind APA effort. Arizona Gov. Fannin attacked Reclamation for supporting Kanab before FPC in league with California, and thus casting doubt on Arizona's Marble dam. He wanted the Secretary to withdraw the Kanab report, on this "single-purpose power project, of doubtful…economy involving invasion of a national park". NPS had not opposed Arizona, and if Kanab were found feasible, Arizona would be willing to subordinate Marble in time. Secretary Udall's reply was that all FPC action should be deferred until after Congress acts following court suit resolution (oral argument coming in Spring). Power revenues may be needed for complete and full utilization of Colorado River; pumping power may be needed; land withdrawn for reclamation may be needed. Anyway, Kanab study was only old material updated with LADWP money. We want all facts, and that FPC not be premature.

The NPA's August testimony was given by A.W.Smith in a long statement about the philosophy and law on protection of the National Park System. He had worked with Pinchot, 1932-46, then on conservation for C.I.O. until 1956, during which he had worked on Bridge.
In October, the hearings were in recess (the LADWP man was sick). Kanab would be brought in, LADWP claiming all its power could be used by 1976. The NParksAss'n would oppose anyway. APA negotiations continued with the Navajo over what benefits they would get for agreeing to rights-of-way for Marble. 

In November, Dominy spoke in favor of multi-purpose development but not against Arizona's dam; he doubted, though, that FPC was place to make a decision. Marble revenue may be related to CAP given that Bridge construction is not guaranteed. We helped the Navajo to prepare their testimony, not to be contrary to Arizona interests, but to fulfill Secretary's duties. To the APA, this felt like a blow by Sec. Udall against his home state.  Hayden also weighed in wanting all to agree that revenue from any Colorado River power project should serve water development. Also in November, conservationist F. Masland wrote to NPA and Sierra Club that all forces should be marshaled against Kanab. Putting Marble into focus only as one end of the Kanab monster may have helped in the conservationist decision to intervene before the FPC. December testimony and publicity against Kanab was reported as very effective. 

Feb 1962, APA filed its brief: Marble was a comprehensive development of that river stretch. Arguments from Reclamation, LADWP, Navajo, CAP, Kanab were all irrelevant, inadequate, and dilatory. We agreed to set aside Bridge in Nov 1960 to allow study as tri-state development. The traditional FPC criteria support us: engineering is sound (used Reclamation cores from mile 39.5), maximum use of water for power, power marketable, economically and financially feasible, recreation and other public benefits provided-- "transforming a now isolated and rocky wilderness into an area attractive and accessible to sportsmen and vacationers" [although] river "runs through a deep gorge almost as spectacular as the world famous Grand Canyon--a region of arid, treeless and wild natural beauty". There would be 293' of gross head going through 510 mw, which would use all of Glen's discharges; transmitted to Flagstaff, Prescott, Mesa, and west Phoenix. Paria silt trap not needed for a century. A re-regulating dam may be added. FPC staff was favorable and conservative; it found the project would be dependable. The benefit-cost ratio would be 1.29 even at high interest. Navajo use and occupancy was not a problem because only a few medicine men come there, along with a few graziers who let animals down on makeshift slings to little grassy areas. We are willing to sell power to Navajo. Congress need not get involved. The brief also made an extremely strong case against Kanab: weak geology, immense damage to Park, understated costs, remote benefits, adverse benefit-cost, problems with excess water, engineering inadequate and uncertain, powerhouse would have been grounded in the Bright Angel formation. 

[For some reason, LADWP and Reclamation did not make comparisons in their Kanab studies with other tunnels. They could have referred to what is still the world's longest tunnel: the Delaware Aqueduct bringing water to New York City.  Kanab was dreamt of as 38 miles long and 36' in diameter. (Well, there was an added 6-mile, 48' section, but let that go.) The Delaware was completed in 1945--so they would have known about it--; it is 85 miles long and is 13-½ feet wide. It leaks. 
Other long water tunnels are comparable in diameter to the Delaware, though the new NYC water tunnel gets up to 24' wide in a 13 mile stretch. The longest travel tunnel is Japan's Seikan, at 33.5 miles and a little over 30' wide. Pretty comparable, though it goes under the sea. The Kanab's depth average was 3800'. Seikan is, maximum, under up to about 300' of rock and 450' of sea; NYC, up to about 800' of rock. Seikan construction took 20 years. That later piece for NYC took about 30 years to reach operation. Reclamation estimates for Kanab were up to 10 years -- but it's a dry heat.]

The APA also had the testimony of a former Reclamation engineer, who had looked at Kanab, concluding it should not be studied further. He also testified that Reclamation plans for Marble did not consider using it for diversion or water pumping. I.e., the Reclamation Marble = the APA Marble.

That same February, Dominy made a speech that was not supportive of the state Marble. Nevertheless, the state agencies remained united. The FPC brief on the APA application, filed in April, was excellent for the state. The APA's attorney was very pleased at the primacy FPC gave to a state over a federal project. In June, there was a trip to Bridge, using LA guest house and boat, of Reclamation, LADWP, and Arizona officials. LADWP was told that Interior was considering the basin fund approach: selling power to finance irrigation. Meanwhile, LADWP filed a brief arguing that Kanab was a comprehensive project, and Marble would waste the resource. The Navajo argued that the project should be federal, and tried to argue they really did own the damsite. 

By June, all briefs had been filed, summarizing the positions, and APA was looking at the financing. It decided to have Harza proceed with field work, including drilling. Municipal bond underwriting was pursued, and a model of the dam was ordered. Reclamation was also hearing from APA officials wanting to use Reclamation's cableway, plans, specs, and maps.

In August, Reclamation's Dominy sent Hayden a memo topped by a hand written note saying he was concerned that the FPC might grant the APA's license and wanted to explain why that was bad. He also suggested that Hayden ask FPC chairman Swidler to come by soon and, off the record, discuss the matter privately. Hayden notated it, o.k., and to invite Swidler over. Dominy's memo starts off that yes, Bridge is included for the CAP, pumping its water [it wasn't] and assisting it financially [soon, the reach of that "assistance" would be revealed as far exceeding the CAP]. However, it would include inundation [his word, in spite of all the pro-dam blather to come that the dams would not "drown" the Grand Canyon] of the Park and/or Monument, even if lowered some. There was considerable opposition, so no assurance that Bridge was possible, and if not then Marble would be essential. [Beautiful--he uses conservationist opposition to Bridge to grab for Marble, although he never really intended to give in on Bridge. But hmmm, was this an indication that Dominy thought Udall --the Johnson administration-- was not solid on Bridge? As it was not.] Moreover, Dominy went on: There are other projects, dealing with the problem of getting more water for the Southwest, that could benefit from such assistance. So the public interest requires full opportunity for Reclamation to complete its investigations so Congress can consider. [I.e., Bridge is in danger, so we need Marble. But there is so much to do, we need both.] Anyway operation of one non-federal dam in the middle of all our stuff is not in the public interest, either. We need to assure coordination. [The oldest chestnut in Reclamation's bag of tools.] Also Glen provides so many benefits for Marble, that fed should receive much more compensation than APA is planning, since federal development of river makes Marble even possible. Following this memo, Dominy spoke with Hayden. 

Following up, in Sep 1962, Dominy "bluntly" told a Denver meeting of Sec. Udall and Arizona water officials that CAP had no chance unless all river resources, including Marble, were federally developed. He contended a high Bridge "could not be authorized in face of opposition by Sierra Club and others organizations of its type". Lowering Bridge to stay out of Park would mean Marble would be required for power and revenue requirements of CAP. [Just watch that man dance; so smooth.]

Oblivious, the FPC examiner issued his decision on 10 Sep 1962, having "concluded that the pubic interest requires the immediate issuance to Arizona of a license". Obviously, this was a different "public interest" from Dominy's. The Examiner's decision was excellent for Arizona. It treated Kanab as the main alternative, and swept it away: steam would be more economical, engineering uncertainties high, adverse effect on river and Park, strenuous opposition. LADWP and Navajo had until November to reply. 

Then, with only FPC commission approval left, almost as if a bluff had been called, on 1 Oct 1962, Secretary of the Interior Udall moved for leave to intervene, and to re-open the record to present evidence out of time, since "official rights and responsibilities would be substantially and adversely affected". Arizona officials flayed Udall for his arrogance and trying to make the CAP a regional instead of a state matter. Over FPC staff's objections, in November, the Secretary was allowed to intervene, since he was charged with developing a comprehensive project for the Colorado River Basin. There had been no testimony on federal projects, and some testimony was erroneous. History on river called for comprehensive Secretarial plan, held up by water suit, but now he has studied and is studying a comprehensive development for the River, only waiting on Supreme Court outcome. 

That same month, LADWP was given VIP treatment in Washington by top Interior brass working up a grand new plan. It would include a high Bridge dam and Marble-Kanab, power being sold for all the traffic would bear. LA officials listened, but were skeptical, especially about another feature, Interior's hope for a renegotiation of Hoover-Parker-Davis power rates to get more revenue for water development. This "Udall-Carr" plan was to be unveiled soon. 

The FPC Counsel argued that Marble would not affect water matters, and the Secretary is wrong that his authority is greater than the FPC's on the Colorado. The APA's answer said the Secretary had lost his "deliberate gamble". Allowing this late intervention would make a mockery of the administrative process. Interior refused to testify before, and now should be ignored.

Harza started drilling at the Marble site in October 1962, entirely at the APA's own risk, it believing it must keep demonstrating a pressing desire to get the project underway. Reclamation told those who bought Parker-Davis dam power from the APA, that they must cancel their contracts. The FPC decided, though not unanimously, that a limited intervention by the Secretary was in the public interest. The Navajo were happy to support the Secretary, since the Examiner had dismissed their claims. 

At the end of November, the Secretary offered 19 exceptions to granting a license, and moved to have oral argument. The APA instead wanted the FPC to strengthen its decision for Marble. California wanted the matter referred to Congress, since its ideas needed to be more widely considered than the examiner had. Oral argument was set for February. The APA attacked the 19 exceptions as nothing more than a federal Marble dam. Our plan is better, and the Secretary's claims about it are "strabismic".

But far worse news for the APA was that on 24 Jan 1963 Hayden introduced S.502, a bill to suspend FPC authority in the Grand Canyon through 1968. The APA said it would vigorously oppose it. Rhodes joined Hayden on the FPC moratorium bill in Jan 1964.

February 1963, there was oral argument before the full Commission about Interior's objection, with lawyers for APA, NPA, Navajo, California, FPC, and Interior. APA started by attacking S.502. Asserted that all agree federal project is not different from APA, not multi-purpose; it is just a matter of who controls the site. The NPA argument was interrupted by a facetious commissioner remarking that the tunnel muck was just like the Canyon walls or what is left by flash floods, and asking if NPS was subordinate to the NPA (thats a joke, the chairman added), and was a tunnel or a dam better. California argued for a comprehensive plan, and LADWP said Kanab is a better project. The FPC counsel supported the APA by claiming the FPC can license even if the Secretary has a plan. The Interior Solicitor seemed unimpressive, but made several arguments: claiming the federal plan was different because it included the Paria dam. Kanab was a congressional matter. FPC should decide this is a federal river. NPA will fight Bridge, so Marble may be needed for water development, which is the priority, and which will need dams as cash registers in the comprehensive plan the Secretary has been ordered to make. The APA replied that Interior was arguing the water, not the power, case. Opposition to our plan is vague about Marble, about Kanab, about water plans. It has taken Arizona since 1934, he winds up, to get here, but we have met all the requirements and have proved our case. The FPC should operate the Federal Power Act for us. 

In June 1963, the Secretary asked to re-open record due to the Supreme Court decision, which called for unitary management; we are working on a comprehensive plan, as shown by our letter about a Lower Colorado River Basin Plan in January. The APA answered that there was no conflict between Marble and water, and tried to bat down the main argument that the fed is the only logical developer of the Colorado. They also pointed out the speed with which their drilling had been done, so further review just means further delay. 

Then in August, the FPC re-opened its record to allow for comments on the administration's grand Pacific Southwest Water Plan. Studying this could mean a year's delay, the APA said in opposition. More drilling was required because Harza worried about Temple Butte seams. State officials took a visit. Drilling ended in October. 

The Secretary of the Interior wanted to revise the PSWWP, so FPC postponed action into 1964, after saying Interior has been "a principal architect of much of the delay". The PSWWP was filed with the FPC in March. The APA answered, of course, that its Marble still made sense, and anyway would not contribute that much to the PSWWP. In April 1964, after the Secretary's plan, an APA answer, a counter-answer, and a counter-counter-answer, weariness was expressed. May, the moratorium of FPC action on Marble was moved through Congress. The FPC chairman offered the gambit of a "conditional license", but to no avail. The moratorium was passed and signed in August 1964, the month Harza completed all its work on Marble. In September, the FPC suspended all action on the application. 

This was, in fact, the end of the line for the APA's dam-building effort, almost 9 years long. Not the dream; that would splutter on until the late 1970's (and may still, for all I know). But the bipartisan Arizona delegation pushing the moratorium meant that a Secretarial, federal, Reclamation plan --whatever it turned out to be-- was the only road for the CAP, which in the end, 1968, was all that was left of decades of effort. Taking the APA and the FPC actions on their face as a power project, divorced from just trying to stir up action on a water project, it was a near-successful effort,. Or was it? How deep a game was played by the wily Hayden, the solid Rhodes, the politically adept, with-it Udalls?  Was it all a big joke on the rubes back home? Oh, let'em have their playtime frolic; when the time comes, we big boys will settle it all. And in fact, why did it take until late 1962 to start shutting the APA/FPC effort down? Hayden was set on his CAP; did he really think the state could, or even should, build it? Did fears about the outcome of Arizona v. California cloud thinking or induce lethargy over confronting the APA? Could the attitudes present in the second term of the Republican Eisenhower have fostered the idea that a state project was more likely than a federal one? Or is it imaginable that the APA effort was a clever bit of show by Arizona, only aimed at keeping its needs before the public? It is a bit of a puzzle; it seems so irrational a waste in retrospect, when patience was all that was needed. But then, as that wise person said--when you cannot figure out the politics, remember that at bottom, it may just be stupidity and bull-headedness--just getting carried away by your dream.

Sources: APA files & archives
Papers of Carl Hayden, ASU
Johnson, Rich, "Water for the Desert, an Insider's View of the C.A.P."
Archives of state of Arizona
Files of Federal Power Commission
Bureau of Reclamation Archives, Boulder City & Denver offices
LADWP files

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