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”.

7 Jun, New Mex. paper: The state Democratic Council voted against construction of the dams, and sent a letter to senior senator C. Anderson, expressing concern over CAP financing as described by Reclamation officials at its meeting.

7 Jun, Sentinel, article saying bill is unlikely to be reported out of committee until late June. There will be a congressional recess 1-11 Jul. Also there is no indication of life as far as Senate action goes. Also Senator Hayden had returned to hospital, where he has been off-and-on all spring. Beginning of subcommittee mark-up last week was taken up with procedural wrangle by Cong. Saylor; two more weeks may be required. Saylor and the Northwest are objecting to the water study.

9 Jun, Kingman Mohave Miner, editorial: Illustrious Sierra Club has made many contributions, but gone too far in tying park enlargement to dam opposition. We dont necessarily agree with Reclamation’s views, but we do respect Secretary Udall. And we respect his opinion that the Grand Canyon is not endangered. Asking for an enlarged park only clouds the issue, leading to confusion.

9 Jun, Rep, letter (Sierra Club official E. Barnett) blasting editorial that called on Arizonans to write letters for CAP. Main thrust is that newspaper abuses its power and publishes articles liberally seasoned with opinion-manipulation.
  Letter, 15 Jun, J Ricker, another Club official, also on the attack.

10 Jun, UPI reports that Reclamation Subcommittee endorsed dam, renamed Hualapai Dam, and authorized $16 million for the tribe. Opponents charge Canyon would be ruined, benefit only power companies, lose water, and create a long, fluctuating shoreline.

In early June, the news had quickly become national about the IRS raid on the Sierra Club offices in aid of an investigation of whether the Club had violated the rules governing whether contributions to it could be tax deductible. The Club had published full page ads in the New York Times & Washington Post on 9 Jun, and the IRS reacted within a day. Newspapers followed, and continued what was obviously a growing drumbeat of negative publicity for the dam pushers. Editorials abounded; I have only a few.
   The debate was no longer the cozy back-and-forth between the southwesterners, Reclamation, and the Canyon’s defenders.
  Since the House Interior Committee was readying the bill for floor action, this was hardly the time for the burst of negative publicity that resulted. Reading through even this limited collection, it must have been clear that bringing the bill to the House floor and the resultant total national spotlight shining down would have doomed the dams, and maybe even lamed the bill. The idea that it would be whipped through the House, and sent to the Senate for quick approval was now ludicrous. And Aspinall was canny enough to realize it, as shown below in the June 20 interview with his home district newspaper.

13 Jun, Post, B Hanna, report on CAP bill strategists hoping to get Indian tribes solidly in favor. They feel Indian needs for water and recreation development can blunt preservationist arguments. First move was to change dam name to honor Hualapai. Conservationists were taken aback at recent hearings when there was testimony by Indian allies for the dams. Cong. Udall had a letter from H. Dobyns, who had worked with the Hualapai, and was strongly in favor of the dams to bring economic prosperity to the tribes, accusing dam opponents of “active discrimination”.  Udall is planning on a Hualapai march on Washington if the bill moves to the House.
 Tribes from southwestern Colorado spoke in favor of one of the Colorado 5, to supply Southern Ute lands. They are now writing letters describing how they need water to raise cattle.

I remember our surprise and discomfiture at this Dobyns letter. Put it down to our ignorance of regional history. Anyone cognizant of Hualapai affairs would not have been surprised. And although this is not the place to reprise that history, what is significant is that in the CAP legislative action of the later 1940’s, the Hualapai had made their demands known, and had them incorporated into that earlier bill. The crux is that the southern side of the dam & reservoir would have been on Hualapai land. They had shown interest back in the 1930’s, and then been left out in the 1940’s action until they complained. What is most strange is that the Udalls and others involved in the 1960’s again seem to have ignored the Hualapai, until once again they made it clear their land ownership meant they had to be taken care of.

Anyway, we were deservedly embarrassed by Udall’s waving the Dobyns snarky screed around. Of course, the dam-builders had also ignored the Navajo, on whose land the east side of Marble Canyon dam/reservoir would have sat. The legal situation was quite different however, because 30 years earlier, Senator Hayden had been behind a law that gave that water-power land to the Navajo, but only until it was needed for the dam. Moreover, that law excluded the Navajo from getting any benefit from a Marble dam if it were built — which was one of the factors behind the Navajo being against the dams. Since this mixed situation never came to the fore, it is only a footnote, but who knows what would have been the case had there been House debate and Senate action?
Now back to the main story.

11 Jun, Oakland CA Observer editorial opposing dam.
12 Jun RMN, reported IRS had warned the Club, 24 hours after ads appeared.
13 Jun, Chicago Sun-Times: Dams should be defeated and Park increased.
  15 Jun, Medford Ore Mail Tribune: Plans for dam should bring outraged howl of protest.
 11 Jun, Oroville Mercury-Register “Unsavory Act”; finger points at Sec. Udall
 15 Jun, Reno Gazette
 16 Jun, Los Gatos, Observer
 17 Jun Lodi News Sentinel
 17 Jun Burlingame Advance-Star
      Red Bluff CA News , Stockton Rec
18 Arkansas Gazette
19 Jun, reference in Long Island Press to teenagers getting county executive to oppose dams.
And Rep Tunney (Dem) of CA decided to take a boat trip
16 Jun, Rep, editorial cheered subcommittee approval of two dams and IRS attack on Sierra Club.

19 Jun, RMN, W.Stief: Vote in subcommittee set for next week. Udall all ready. Aspinall will then move it through Committee and head for floor in July. Suggests Jackson will follow Hayden wishes if House passes. Says Udall sicked IRS on Club. Says Udall got “tacit consent” for import study from northwesterners.

19 Jun, Rep, Big effort: Long, long letter from Sierra Club member in favor of dams. Editorial with usual arguments for dams, and with three clip-and-mail lettergrams to Udall, Aspinall, LBJ. And an editorial cartoon to show how little of the Park would be affected.
20 Jun, another Arizona editorial, attacking the falsehood in a Seattle Times of 12 Jun that there would be “virtual obliteration of the matchless scenic splendor of the Grand Canyon”.

20 Jun, Sentinel: “Outlook on Basin Bill’s Passage Touch and Go”, according to interview with House Interior Committee Chair Aspinall. He had no idea how or when bill would come out, maybe not even this year. There were those, he said, who are trying to hold up the decisions. Opponents demand a quorum at all times. Most difficult bill I have ever had before me — worse than Wilderness Bill. Mark-up began on 2 Jun, and half the bill is done (2 ½ weeks). Try to finish June 23-28.   
  Some backers are calling on Senate to schedule hearings, but Aspinall doesnt see much interest there. Anderson of Senate Water & Power Subcommittee said no one has talked to him about hearings, and he doubted bill would clear Congress this year. Aspinall to stop committee work after 1 Aug. It is difficult to keep quorums. There is no other major legislation behind CAP, so pressure is off from other members to push the CAP through.

20 Jun, Monterey Peninsula Herald with analysis against dams, and Sec. Udall’s position, and the topper: the IRS is threatening the Sierra Club.

21 Jun, LA Times editorial “In Defense of Grand Canyon Dams”, they will meet power needs and finance the water plan. It then repeats the clich├ęs about how the Park wouldnt be harmed.

22 Jun, RMN, editorial not only defends the Canyon, but attacks the “clumsy, costly and unimaginative plan” for the CAP. Reclamation wants to slap down two dams, but they are not even to provide water, only a  financing device, which is “absurd”. Benefitting Californians and depriving all the people of the Canyon, it would be better to pigeonhole this “cynical and unimaginative scheme”.

22 Jun, RMN, “GOP Unit Revolts Against Aspinall”: The 11 Republican members of the Democratic-majority Interior Committee supported the Washington Post  for its criticism of Aspinall for shutting down the Committee after July without action on a bill to preserve California’s redwoods. Aspinall wanted to put that issue off until the next Congress. The 20 Democrats then wrote a letter praising the constructive record of the Committee led by Aspinall. And the Republicans, led by John Saylor, “revolted”.

22 Jun, RMN reported that Rep. Tunney was preparing a bill to protect the tax status of the Club and other such membership organizations. Meanwhile, the subcommittee is working, and has defeated all efforts to delete the dams. Tempers are short, and the tension is not eased as national media, starting with the Readers Digest, are calling to “Save the Canyon”. Udall had tried to force the Club to report their lobbying expenditures. Though Tunney is for the dams, he felt the IRS “is terribly unfair”.

24 Jun, AP in RMN, on final vote, though cost is $1.6 billion. Subcommittee started work on 2 Jun. Three opposition amendments still to be voted down. 

25 Jun, Boise Statesman reported southwestern “spokesmen” said the major opposition was conservation groups. Rep. Udall attacked “distortion” and “vicious propaganda”. The northwesterners, he said, were reasonable, though he still insisted on a Reclamation-led import study.

25 Jun, Rep, B  Cole: Udall predicts subcommittee will approve amended bill by 5 or 6 votes at 28 Jun meeting. Costing $1.755 billion, it includes Hualapai and Marble Canyon dams, CAP, Colorado 5, plus payments for  the Hualapai, water salvage, and fish & wildlife.

25 Jun, The New Republic, editorial, “The Destroyers” is a general attack on administration’s inadequacies, including on Redwoods, Indiana Dunes and Hudson River, ends attacking dams, citing IRS swift reaction, and hasty action on Colorado Basin issues.

27 Jun, NYTimes, Letter, from IRS Commissioner S Cohen: The ads contained a mass appeal for funds to fight a pending bill. Thus the Sierra Club “set in motion a nationwide campaign”, clearly indicating IRS action on its tax status. The IRS therefore had a duty to inform the club and possible contributors that contributions may no longer be deductible.

On the one hand, there had long been a “nationwide” campaign. On the other, this IRS action made sure that the campaign would be even more thoroughly nationwide, and quite possibly was a tipping point in energizing wider and stronger dam opposition. By bringing this national focus to the issue, the IRS  also contributed to the impetus for the environmental movement that blossomed in the late ’60’s.

28 Jun, Sentinel: The article summarized the changes from the bill introduced by Rep. Udall: $1.755 is a cost ceiling on the CAP + Colorado 5. Title II was changed by Aspinall to make the Water Resources Council rather than the Secretary the overseer of water augmentation studies, but the Sec is then made the WRC “agent” for the import. Texas and Kansas are included in the study area. The “first stage” of water import will provide 2.5 million af of federally funded water below Lees Ferry, to satisfy the treaty with Mexico. Additional water would be 2 maf in the lower basin, 2 in the upper, and up to 2 elsewhere. Deadlines are, first, the end of 1970, with a final report a year later. These provisions were to “soften opposition” by the Northwest based on Reclamation being a “prejudiced party” in any water study. Title III authorization is the $1.395 billion for the dams and CAP. The lower dam was renamed “Hualapai”, and that tribe would be paid $16.4 million for the land, with $12 million for a recreational road, and the right to buy power, all these costs to be paid from the general treasury.

29 Jun, Sentinel: Making nice, Aspinall noted the only difference with the Northwest was the study. Foley of Washington said he and the other northwesterners hoped “the time would come when we can support the bill”. The subcommittee voted to approve the bill, and the full committee will consider it over 4 days in mid-July. Discussions continue on softening the study provisions to bring Northwest support. A compromise over the dams, dropping Marble Canyon, is possible. However, conservationists indicate no interest in this approach.

29 Jun, Seattle Times editorial notes Reclamation’s Dominy says the 13-5 vote on the dam “augurs well for full congressional approval”. Millions of Americans hope he is wrong. Man-made changes will destroy the record of nature’s changes. Dominy’s claim that the dam would beautify the Canyon is like approving a reshaping of Mount Rainier. In the Northwest, we also object since the dams would be used to finance a water-diversion project. We disagree with Dominy that only a selfish few want to lock up 253 miles of the Canyon — it is really untold numbers in the future. (About 1 ½ million — maybe 2— river runners in the 50 years since the dams were done down.) We share Rep. Foley’s view: “We have just begun to fight.”

30 Jun, Chicago Tribune editorial agreed, citing the view of Wisconsin Rep. H Reuss that the landscape would be substantially changed. And also noting the strange position of “leading conservationist” Int. Sec. Udall and his brother.

30 Jun, Cong. Rec. Senate, p 14129, carried a piece by New Jersey’s Clifford Case, a new voice. The dams are a “financing gimmick”. Lets find another way to pay for water projects than sacrificing what most Americans regard as their birthright. Natural processes would be seriously impaired, maybe halted. Water would be wasted. The Grand Canyon is a resource that should be immune from exploitation. Water supply is not a regional problem, and we have passed a National Water Commission bill. He ended with T.R.’s words: “We have gotten past the state when we are to be pardoned if we treat any part of our country as something to be skinned for two or three years for the use of the present generation….Handle it so that your children’s children will get the benefit of it.”

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