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.