Thursday, October 5, 2017

Dam Battle - March 1967 Press

In February the Interior Department/Johnson administration and the Senate — Hayden, Jackson, & Anderson leading — allied on a Basin proposal stripped of 1966’s most controversial items. The Basin states were no longer in accord, but in scheduling hearings in mid-March, Chairman Aspinall wanted to make clear he aimed to put together a Basin bill based on states’ agreement to confront and correct what he saw as the shortcomings of the Interior-Senate version and the overreach of the 1966 bills.
Surprises were in store.

1 Mar, Post, marked Aspinall’s introduction of his “compromise” in the “tradition of compromise and fair play to try to bring two sharply opposed interests—water development advocates and the conservation groups—together.” The part of the Grand Canyon upstream of the existing National Park to the Glen Canyon N.R.A. would be added to the Park. An added bone would be extending 1) that northern end of the Park to the Vermillion Cliffs, and 2) the west end to take in part of the existing Grand Canyon National Monument. Hualapai Dam would be built. Lake Mead N.R.A. would be extended upstream to include the reservoir behind Hualapai.*
  Beyond his compromise, the bill would authorize the Colorado Five, a national water commission tasked with studying water import into the Colorado, California’s guarantee of its share of the River, and creation of a Basin fund to collect revenues for future development.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dam Battle - February 1967 Press

1 Feb, Star, carried a report on testimony at an Arizona legislative hearing on the irrelevant scheme to bring water to Phoenix from Lake Powell through a 160-mile tunnel.

Irrelevant, as with so much else, because on this date, the hinge swung smartly and irrevocably toward closed on fate’s door for the dams.

1 Feb, in many papers, from AP, Sentinel, and a Sierra Club press release, the news was broken: A new concept for the lower Basin project was announced by Interior Secretary S. Udall. Two “controversial” dams were dropped, with pumping power for the CAP to be (pre-)purchased. Separate legislation would add Marble Canyon to Grand Canyon National Park. A national water commission would be created and action on Hualapai dam would be “deferred”. Udall said, “We now propose to obtain low-cost pumping power for the project by federal prepayment for 400 megawatts of capacity in a large efficient thermal plant built in the region under the sponsorship of the utilities (of WEST).” Interior, the Budget Bureau, and the White House are solidly behind the plan.
  RMN on 31 Jan had broken the story, saying Udall would announce the plan in a couple of days.
  Sentinel headlined the “mere shell of a plan which Congress unsuccessfully wrestled with last year’, with five upper Basin projects cut, along with the two Grand Canyon dams, a guarantee for California’s water allocation, and a lower Basin fund for future water projects. It is “a signal victory for the Pacific Northwest and the conservation groups”. Added would be the “unique” feature of federal prepayment for pumping power. The CAP would be paid for by the prepayment feature, municipal and industrial water pricing, and a property tax in the water using area. Udall’s announcement followed a four-month review in Interior and the Budget Bureau. [I had been informed that Bureau of Reclamation employees did all the heavy lifting.] Most basin water problems would be left outstanding. Aspinall had set 15 Feb as the date for an Interior report, hearings to follow. Aspinall & Johnson have already introduced a bill slightly scaled down from that of 1966. Arizonans’ bill was like the administration’s but with Hualapai dam included. Udall had talked with Senators Jackson and Anderson — who approved — as well as Aspinall and Hayden.
  The Club release listed: the water commission, adding Marble to the Park, deferring a decision on Hualapai dam, immediate authorization of the CAP including Hooker Dam [important to us because it would invade the nation’s first Wilderness, the Gila in New Mexico]. The prepayment plan will allow rates of $10/acre-foot for agricultural water, $55/af for m&i, with a property tax of .5 mil for the serviced counties. Udall asserted that this success is possible because of a new high level of cooperation between public and private utilities.

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

ILLEGAL NOTICE ABOUT BEAVER FALLS, HAVASU CREEK

PARK SERVICE SURRENDERS TO HAVASUPAI OCCUPATION OF NATIONAL PARK LAND AT BEAVER FALLS IN HAVASU CANYON.

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 http://gcfutures.blogspot.com/2009/09/visionary-hualapais-proposal_7874.html) 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”.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dam Battle - November 1966 Press

2 Nov, Sentinel, editorial: Currently Colorado River Basin (CRB) bill is in stalemate, with much finger pointing now. Backers should have listened to Chm. Aspinall. Upcoming meetings will provide chance to explore solutions.

4 Nov, Salt Lake Tribune, editorial: Nat. Reclamation Assoc.(NRA) should be complimented for inviting Brower to speak at its convention Nov 19. His arguments should be heard in an open meeting, where they can be answered, as they will be by Cong. Udall. CRB proponents will have to do more than call him uncomplimentary names to get their program passed. We hope that the Sierra Club will do likewise at one of their public meetings. [We already had, inviting Udall to speak at the Santa Fe Conference on a topic of his choice, which turned out to be the proposed Sonoran Desert National Park.]

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dam Battle - October 1966 Press

Interior Secretary Udall, as reported on 18 Sep, offered the idea of replacing the dams in the CAP legislation with nuclear power plants. About a week later (I have no media reports on this), Udall ordered a study of alternate power production as part of a sweeping review of the entire legislation. This set the stage for a CAP/Colorado River basin bill that would be free of dams and an import study. Just three years before, 3 Nov 1963, Udall had ordered that “a plan of action designed to deal constructively with the acute water problems of the Pacific Southwest”, which became the Pacific Southwest Water Plan (PSWWP) and the basis for H.R. 4671 the 1965-6 effort to reach basin-wide agreement on water issues. That effort came to a halt in August 1966. This new plan, a retrenchment from the grandiose 4671, would be used to launch more modest Basin water legislation in the Senate in 1967.
  At the same time, those who wanted to retain the larger-scale provisions and those —Arizonans— who wanted to shrink back to just a state-built dam and waterworks, were arguing for their approaches.


1 Oct, Post, editorial commended Udall for his announcement of a study of dam alternatives. The 1966 bill was dead, due to fears in both the Upper Basin and the Northwest for water supplies and to “the Grand Canyon controversy”. The latter cast doubt on the dams’ validity. The editorial says both nuclear and coal plants need to be considered in a “full and impartial study”. New facts are needed. Then the arguments will start and compromise will be needed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dam Battle - September 1966 Press

1 Sep, Santa Fe New Mexican, editorial: Bill not being passed “is a bitter disappointment to champions of the project”. “Serious setback” given Arizona’s increasingly urgent water needs — and delay for two New Mexican projects. Several weeks ago, we attempted to reveal distortion and half-truths hurled by Sierra Club and Readers Digest. Many countering letters since from citizens. We published pro-dam statements by Cong. Udall and State Engineer Reynolds. “Main point” is whether dams are necessary or would harm canyon’s beauty. They “are sought only as a means to transport and better utilize the precious mineral.” Backers are already planning for next session, so public can be better informed and “realize that the contention of ruining Grand Canyon is comparable with dumping a bucket of water into Yankee Stadium.”

1 Sep, RMN: another report: most of bill’s supporters are “in a state of mourning” though a few are still hopeful. Rules Committee holds the bill, and there seems too few votes for House passage as is, and nobody wants the bare-bones substitute. Aspinall is heading for Colorado; his guidance would be crucial.

1 Sep, Sentinel reports on an emergency “loan” of water to Mexico. Any power loss at dams would be repaid in dollars.

1 Sep, AP, R.Johnson, one of Arizona’s chief CAP lobbyists (he later wrote a book about the CAP fight) said some “hard-nosed” Californians — “a small group of water leaders” (Johnson was likely thinking of Northcutt Ely) — were “scuttling” the hopes of all the basin states for a cooperative solution by imposing “unreasonable demands”. They were convinced the Saylor substitute would pass the House, so they would not let the bill out of Rules (there were two Californians on the small committee). He concluded, “We must begin a thorough examination of alternatives”.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dam Battle: August 1966 Press

And so it turned out that the decisive act that took the wind out of the CRB bill’s sails grew out of mutiny, instead of the external storm stirred up by dam opponents. Captain Aspinall thought it best to change course a bit, hoping to placate the (unplacatable) elements from the Northwest, but the Californian mutineers were determined to keep on the course right into the heart of the heaviest seas. August brought the result.

1 Aug, Washington Post, reports that a committee of scientists urged more and better study of water projects, including exploring all alternatives.

2 Aug, Houston Chronicle, opinion piece by the Outdoors Editor, wondering if the dams were less about water and more about “an overzealous federal bureau”. America’s Park System “is one of the few intelligent things our forebears did”. Now in the House, the dam question requires a better discussion of alternatives. “There is only one Grand Canyon.” Someone has to ask, “Where does it end?”. The growing power of agencies that can bulldoze through legislation bothers the writer.

4 Aug, Farmington (NM) Times, reported that the Navajo Tribal Council had passed, 29-2, a resolution condemning the two Grand Canyon dams as a “needless waste of public funds”. A 1961 resolution in favor of the Marble dam was rescinded [although that resolution was already a dead letter as the Navajo had gone on to oppose the state dam in front of the Federal Power Commission]. They objected to being ignored even as the Hualapai were receiving millions. Annie Wauneka spoke out strongly listing the ways the Navajo had been ignored.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Dam Battle: July 1966 Press

June was the setting for the climax that came in July: The Colorado River Basin reclamationists had approved the final form of their grand compromise, defiantly pushing forth their entire package of projects, dams, and import studies.
 In the “old days”, that would have been enough: By adding on one interest after another (“compromising”), they had secured all the allies they should have needed to get approval of the wider congressional world. And as for the opposition that was left — the Northwest would be conciliated or overrun.
Yet there the Canyon’s defenders stood. We had attracted national attention for the Canyon and for our cause thanks to the big ads and the IRS action. So the question— who cared about what the canyon-lovers said?—that was the reclamation-business-as-usual reaction, was receiving an unsettling answer: America cared.
   Watch now, as that tidy little reclamation world runs into the reality of a different America than the one they had prospered in for so many decades.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Dam Battle: June 1966 press

(Unfortunately, some of the clippings in the files from now on were saved without information on the newspaper of origin. I have added an ? to indicate my best guess.)

1 Jun, (AZ paper) editorial: With the House Committee about to act, compliments to those officials and lobbyists who have labored to bring the House bill this far. We should shortly know if this golden opportunity will bear fruit. But Congress is straining for adjournment, and it would be a brand new game next year.

3 Jun, LA Times, editorial cartoon, titled “Psycho”.


Dam Battle: May 1966 press

The New York Times had long been a friendly voice for conservation and its causes. Not a newspaper in the West, however, its coverage did not reach to the day-to-day events of the dam fight. The following long article, bylined “Grand Canyon, Arizona” without apparent justification, took the overall summary approach, an almost historical perspective.

2 May NYT, “Nature Lovers Say Dams Will ‘Disfigure’ Grand Canyon”: Opening with a quote from Thoreau, the reporter celebrated the 250-mile-long (sic) 7- million-year-old “masterpiece”. But now “man … plans to regulate (it) and erase ages of (time’s) handiwork. The House reclamation subcommittee will open hearings 9 May “on a bill to authorize two dams across the canyon”, appendages of  a “huge project to divert” Colorado River water to “dry areas of Arizona and Colorado”, principally the Phoenix and Tucson areas.
  The project is not new; “formulated by the West’s principal dam builder”, Reclamation, it passed the Senate twice, but was delayed for 15 years when the House ordered Arizona to settle its water dispute with California. Now, all the Basin states have reached an agreement, with Colorado no longer an opponent since it will receive five irrigation projects.
  The dam near Bridge Canyon, west of the Grand Canyon National Park, was deferred by the Budget Bureau due to the furor raised by conservationists. However, F. Sparks of Colorado pointed out this dam is in the legislation as part of the Basin-unanimous agreement, and he was quite sure “Congress will enact the legislation by August”.
  That dam would drown out “the entire inner gorge at some points”. The two dams would, according to conservationist leader the Sierra Club, convert a living river into a dead reservoir, a static museum piece. Wildlife habitat, archeological and geological records, campsites, river boat trips, would be adversely affected along with the scene being disfigured by roads and transmission lines. Thirteen miles of the Park and 40 miles of the Monument would disappear under water, as would another 90 miles above and below the two dams. This would leave 98% of the Park “untouched”.
  The Sierra Club’s response was a bill introduced by Rep. J. Saylor to triple the park acreage and include the Canyon’s entire 280 miles of the Colorado. However, first, it would fight to delete the dams’ authorization as extraneous to the water diversion. Hydroelectric dams are a separate Reclamation enterprise to produce power to help “reimburse the Treasury” for the diversion’s cost, as is traditional for Reclamation. The dams — called “cash registers (to) ring up sales of electric power” by Reclamation — are a $710 million project to make the diversion feasible. However, dam opponents set forth arguments to show the dams are too-costly anachronisms distant from power-using areas. Their revenues would not be needed if project water were priced at the going rate. But most of the water is going cheaply to farms growing cotton, long in surplus. And this water will need to be augmented from desalinization or other diversions.
  Reclamation responds the dams will both subsidize more water and put the “inner cavers (sic) of the vast gorge within the reach of millions”. The Club call this a crime against nature; there are already 600 miles for Colorado reservoir boating.  An unpublished Park Service report says silt and debris would eventually clog the reservoirs. That report hasn’t been circulated since Interior Secretary Udall favors the dams. Reclamation head Dominy says nature will be improved upon, contrary to Theodore Roosevelt’s, “The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it”.

A balanced report — if by that is meant neither choice is presented as the correct and obvious course. And the reporter worked to be accurate in what he chose to present.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dam Battle: April 1966 press

Coverage of the Reader’s Digest convocation continues with reports from three big papers, Denver & Phoenix

1 Apr RMN, Wm. Logan: Headlined “Hearing on Dam Flooded With Bitter Debate”.
“Bitter battle erupted” over dam that “would back water into the lower 27 miles of the 121-mile-long Grand Canon”(sic). For the first time, the seven Basin states had come to a united position. However, the “well-known” Sierra Club is leading a “last minute movement” to block dam. In a “most unusual attempt … to mold public opinion”:  more than 50 “Eastern” reporters, radio and television men flown in by Digest. (RMN was paying for its reporters’ expenses.) Organized by “nation’s largest advertising agency, J Walter Thompson Co.
 Reporters will fly over canyon, and hear debate over dam. 200 assembled in El Tovar heard that the dam was among the “best-kept secrets”. Gov. Godard statement called anti-dam campaign a graphic illustration of misinformation; “unfounded, inaccurate and irresponsible propaganda”. Rep. Udall spoke: Dams will be built regardless of whether public opinion influences Congress, since FPC could license state dam. He was the only congressman; others turned down invitations. Conservationists pointed out Reclamation had taken many into Canyon. Northcutt Ely, chief California water lawyer, said 1919 Park Act allowed reclamation project, and conservationists replied, “Times have changed.”

1 Apr DPost, B Hanna: “Bitter Debate; Barry Urges Grand Canyon Dams”. At Thursday breakfast, Sen. Goldwater argued for expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars for “public power dams”. Debate part of “backgrounder” for newsmen. Not true, said Goldwater, that dams will violate Canyon’s grandeur and beauty. General public would be able to see unmatched scenic values, not just a “wealthy few that can afford the trip”. Dam would also help Hualapai tribal economy.
  Bradley article in RD led to event. Fisticuffs were approached when BuRec’s “elaborate model” appeared, showing that dam & reservoir locations would not affect Park overlook views. Brower and followers tried to remove exhibit, but BuRec refused and call to IntSec Udall oked leaving model in place. Rep. Udall had charged RD wanted pro-dam speakers barred, but panel chair S. Spurr gave them time. Speakers against the dam, besides Brower, were Bradleys (brothers & professors), I. Gabrielson of Wildlife Mgt. Institute, and C. Callison of Audubon. Besides Udall, Ely and governor’s representative spoke for dams. Arguments followed the familiar pattern.

1 Apr Rep, W. Meek: “Barry, Swinging Late, Hits Hardest at Canyon Forum”; “Failure Admitted By Foes”. Sincere defense stole the show. Articulate on state water needs and compassion for dam opponents. Neither dam would ruin or desecrate to Canyon. “I know river better than most here and love it as much as anyone.” Bridge Canyon dam “would enhance the canyon”. Opposed by Sierra Club members who want to preserve geology and wildlife habitat.
   Goldwater expressed reservations about dam in Marble Canyon, and pro-Canyon viewpoint should have been aired in Congress years ago, but now Arizona cannot wait for water. “I have to weigh millions of lives against remote part of canyon,” so please weigh carefully the value of the river you fly over for human needs.
   Few conservationists were convinced, but one admitted it was tough to beat Goldwater on his own ground. Rest of day was anti-climactic, and Club members thought meeting failed to present their views forcefully. No report of bitter argument on Wednesday when Udall pressed for the chance to speak.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dam Battle: February 1966 press

5 Feb, Scottsdale Progress: James Kowalsky guest editorial on GCdams: Sierra Club mbr. Costs of a NJ nuclear plant less than hydro estimates. So cheap coal or nuclear or outrageously expensive hydro. Wrong choice in legislation means water project stalled since DC deluged by letters deploring dams.
(mentions a 12 Dec 65 NYTimesMag article)

11 Feb, DPost: CAP Assoc chair Mehrens in Denver speech says water import into CRBasin essential; job of convincing NW people of study of their “surplus water” is of “great magnitude”. Need 22 maf; Colorado has 15 average. Echoed by Colo gov. Love; 140 maf of Columbia wastes to sea; proud of Colorado water users unity. Colorado needs to use its allocation; 5 projects dont use all of it.
FSparks, Col water dir., import study by 1970. Mead not to be lowered just to help power generation at Glen.
  Editorial says:  Jackson in early Feb said he favors study of all Western water needs asap. So maybe he is open to diversion, but he also stated fear of Calif political power not yielding water once taken. This is same fear of upper basin about CAP using UB “surplus”. So import essential.
Colo unified position: import planning, more Upper Basin development projects, guarantee water level at Glen to meet Lower Basin commitment, put revenues at Glen on parity with Hoover to pay for more projects.

The CRB water leaders just could not stop talking about importing water. There was never any thought that they would be denied.
The Colorado unified position listed the items that the state was insisting on if there was to be a CAP at all.

Dam Battle: March 1966 press

Mar WWN: after several meetings, hearings to be resumed on CRBP bill

Since Interior Comm. chair Aspinall controlled hearings schedule, this was a signal he was being placated.

Mar NYT (no day): At Senate hearing on national water commission bill authored by Sen Jackson, Sec Udall says it should do import studies, and provision should be dropped from CRBP bill. CA Sen Kuchel disagrees. Jackson said NWC study would look at broad national interest; would be “ludicrous” to assign priorities; water a national problem. Udall tells Kuchel “you cannot pick fight with people in Northwest and chairman of this committee and get legislation”.

So here was a hearing in the Senate, at which Sec. Udall and Sen. Jackson were in agreement to take the import question out of local & regional hands and make it a national question. The Water Commission was in part an anti-import move, but made sense in the 1960’s, since there were a number of water questions being brought up due to the growth in the US since World War II. California’s Kuchel would disagree because the CRB leaders wanted the import study to be in the CAP bill.
Udall was telling them to wise up.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Dam Battle: January 1966 press

The officials and legislators concerned with water issues in the seven states of the Colorado River Basin had been struggling throughout 1965 (and earlier) to put together legislation that would authorize the Central Arizona Project (CAP would bring Colorado River water over to Phoenix and Tucson) while protecting the myriad water interests of the other states.

The guiding force for relevant policy and construction was the federal Bureau of Reclamation, headed & cheer-led by Commissioner Floyd Dominy, himself a force, although he was nominally under the guidance of the Secretary of the Interior, Arizonan Stewart Udall — brother to Arizona Representative Morris Udall, leader of the Arizona lobbying effort in the house.

Jan, WWN: Dominy speech before Irrigators convention, Dec 1965, asserts needs for AZ & southern Cal cannot be met by Colo R. in long run but also will require desalination, sewage reclamation, and import “from areas of surplus”. He agreed with Sen. Jackson of Washington that import must be actually needed and needs of proposed diversion must be determined. Northern Cal is one such area.
Convention opposed efforts of preservationists to stop multipurpose projects.
Northcutt Ely, (California water attorney and guru), attacked provision in recent water planning act added by Jackson to prohibit some studies of interbasin transfer (p.l. 89-80).[WWN Jan 66]

Perhaps the biggest problem of this knottiest of western water matters is brought right out: The Colorado did not carry enough water to meet the greed & need of the Pacific Southwest states. In the climate of the time, a further huge water project bringing Columbia River water from the Northwest, seemed the obvious solution. But not to the Northwesterners, headed by Senator Henry Jackson, who was in an absolutely key position as chairman of the Senator Interior Committee. He repeatedly made clear his opposition to anything that might hint at a commitment to such an “importation” or “water diversion”. However, CRB spokespersons could not shut up about it.

Introduction To A Crossroads In American History

How In The 1960’s We Chose The Course That Would Better Protect The Environment Supporting Us, On Which We Would Depend For Our Future Well-being and Prosperity
I have wrestled over the years with the Jabberwock of narrating how the United States in 1966-8 turned away from a future of megalomaniac exploitation of the earth and its resources, to build a future richer in its dimensions and more mutually supportive of that earth and the prosperity that depends on it.

That story has many themes and strands; I think it meaningful to emphasize the effort to protect the Grand Canyon from becoming the site of a titanic industrialization, beginning with the construction of two electricity-generating dams along with all the necessary appurtenant claptrap development, by-blow facilities, and destruction such gargantuan despoilers require and inspire.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Save The Grand Canyon Prelude: What Did the Defeat of the Grand Canyon Dams Mean?

Writing about the 1960’s battle to keep the Grand Canyon free of two monster dams has been daunting to think about. First, the story has been written about from various points-of-view. Second, I have two files drawers full of material. But, third, I have no journal or other chronological record of my own to guide a history, as I had for the 1972-5 effort to enlarge Grand Canyon National Park.

One asset I do have is a collection of newspaper clippings from regional newspapers collected during the fight when I was Sierra Club Southwest Representative. I plan to go through these, summarizing them, and hoping that from these pieces I can construct an armature from which to hang the other material I have kept, and eventually a coherent narrative of that 50-years-past adventure.