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 A 1961 resolution in favor of the Marble dam was rescinded [although that resolution was already a dead letter as the Navajo had gone on to oppose the state dam in front of the Federal Power Commission].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.
4 Aug, Houston Chronicle ran another opinion piece on Texas water development: the current proposals do not look to the future for answers.
5 Aug, Berkeley Citizen reported a Democratic pressure group in northern California opposed any Grand Canyon dams.
5 Aug, Cong. Record — House, (pp 17640-1) Reuss of Wisc placed in the record a letter from the President’s wife, mostly the current position (Bridge not recommended), but adding her hope that “forthright consideration will be given to alternate means for meeting the water and power needs … before any actions are taken that would mar the Grand Canyon”. Reuss’ remarks strongly support the idea of a CAP “without” the “clumsy device” of financing a water transfer. The dams have no relationship to the CAP. Alternatives exist, and are not considered only because, as Cong. Udall admits, of “political” considerations. Let a national study look at the problems first.
6 Aug, Republic, reports the Governor’s Commission on Arizona Beauty supported the dams, by a 30-2 vote. Their claim was that 200 (sic) miles of wild river would be left.
7 Aug, St.Lous Post-Dispatch, had a “SAVE GRAND CANYON” ad (not full-page) paid for by the Albuquerque-based Save Grand Canyon Committee.
7 Aug, Santa Fe New Mexican editorial attacking “one of the greatest brainwashing campaigns of recent years”: to “sell the idea that the CAP will flood the Grand Canyon”. What are the facts? 30 Basin state representatives sponsored the bill, and if the benefits could not be gained without harming the Grand Canyon they certainly wouldn’t sponsor the legislation. No water will be backed up into the Park. Selling power is merely a sidelight—prime purpose is to pump water to Phoenix. Only surplus power will be sold. Faced with these facts, the opposition is clearly “all wet”.
8 Aug, letters opposing dams in Salt Lake and Phoenix papers.
9 Aug, Republic. The 200-page report on the bill will be filed on the 10th. Now Aspinall can ask for a rule and scheduling of the measure for House floor consideration.
9 Aug, Washington Post, cartoon by Oliphant (who had begun at the Denver Post):
9 Aug, unsourced remarks by Cong Udall using drought in east U.S. as excuse to argue that “each region should assess its long-range water needs and begin now a program to satisfy them”. And Arizona desperately needs the CAP. And the Grand Canyon will not be “ruined”.
9 Aug, opinion by columnist M. Childs: The country has many water problems. The CRB states are out ahead with their $1.7-billion bill. A fierce defender of the view that the dams will not intrude on the Grand Canyon’s magnificence is W R Mathews of Tucson’s Daily Star. A tumultuous debate is in prospect; Mathews charging the Club with “malicious falsehoods”. Then there is the Northwest, with its dark suspicion that the Southwest wants to carry off the Columbia’s “surplus”. So Jackson is backing a national water commission, but the CRB states want a project study completed in four years. Jackson will not agree to such an advance commitment. And also there are new techniques: the conventional cures are not enough.
10 Aug, Tucson ad by Sierra Club to public: see Glen Canyon film at library.
10 Aug, AP, Metro L.A. water board approves huge nuclear powered desalting plant off coast.
10 Aug, Republic, The CAP lobbyists have a tv program, but the local Washington DC CBS affiliate will not show it: appeal is too narrow, and station should produce its own material on controversial issues. Film was supposed to be tourist-oriented, but it is almost all talk by Goldwater and Godard. Film has been shown in 12 cities.
10 Aug, Tucson paper, AP: Northwest legislators ready to file their minority views in report. Dams also opposed. Northwest supports CAP, but solution of future problems is premature. They object to conditional approval of feasibility study. There should be a national study.
10 Aug, Albuquerque Journal, bill will be reported Thursday. Views are as expected. It is likely to be Labor Day before the House will consider the bill. Considerable speculation that bill will be stripped down to CAP alone.
11 Aug, Republic, Orren Beaty, aide to Sec Udall, warns Brower that the Club is alienating friends in its “current dubious fight”. Specifically, Brower claimed Udall brothers brought IRS down on Club. Letter ends by severing all relations. [The next year, on a pro-dam river trip using a motor raft, Beaty fell against the motor mount and cut his head badly enough that he had to be helicoptered out. Five years later, another passenger on that trip who had witnessed the incident, now a Republican Interior Secretary, ordered an end to the policy of removing motor rafts from the river because he accepted claims by pro-motor commercial interests that motor trips were safer than rowing trips. Short memory.]
10 Aug, RMN, runs story on unanimous Sierra Club Board approval in 1949 of Bridge Canyon dam. [I have written about this episode in posts dealing with congressional consideration of the CAP in the late 1940’s.]
12 Aug, Sentinel: Udall has hopes for an early grant of a rule, but has not yet been able to tell the Speaker he has the votes for the bill. Udall has to assure both the Speaker and Aspinall. Arizonans and Californians are working to get commitments. Aspinall, as chairman, does not solicit votes.
12 Aug, Sentinel: Udall rejects as complete capitulation, a Sierra Club plan to drop Grand Canyon dams, Hooker dam in the Gila Wilderness, the Colorado 5, and California’s priority to the river water. Brower laid out a plan for CAP without Gila invasion, paying for CAP with existing dam revenues, continuing to block FPC license for state dam, consideration of a greater National Park, national study of import and other water needs.
12 Aug, Star, ad opposing dams as “not necessary”, signed by Arizona residents, affiliated with various sciences.
12 Aug, RMN, Yosemite Sup’t bans Club’s Glen Canyon film because it is part of debate of a controversial issue. NPS Director supported ban.
12 Aug, Santa Fe New Mexican carries letter from state’s water chief, Steve Reynolds: New Mexico has stake in legislation because it promises us more water, which would require financing by the dams.
13 Aug, AP reports Cong. Senner (of northern Arizona) says approval is very much in doubt. Arizona is ready for debate, but opponents are using every device to kill bill. Their distortions have taken their toll.
13 Aug, I wrote a letter to the Republic noting Reclamation testimony that CAP can be built and paid for without a dam, without fossil fuel power, without nuclear power sales, without increases in water price. We can have CAP and a national park that includes the whole of the Grand Canyon.
[If my memory is correct, there were two criticisms of this idea. First, the calculations included revenues from electricity generated by the existing Hoover, Parker & Davis dams. Also included in the original Reclamation plan was an increase in rates for that power. Those assumptions were in aid of a bigger fund to import water. This power, however, went heavily to Californians; would they be willing to pay and at a higher rate if the revenue went to pay off the CAP?]
13 Aug, Albuquerque Journal: “Committee Report Lashes Back at Critics of Colorado River Project”: There were nine separate views as well as the 118-page majority report that is “highly critical” of dam opponents, with their “inaccurate and highly misleading information”. Mentioned were the Reader’s Digest and newspaper ads, but not the Sierra Club. Dams will enhance the ability to view canyon from the bottom up. There are no alternatives to the dams short of “huge direct subsidies from the Federal Treasury”.
13 Aug, Washington Post bureau chief writes “Water Import Bill Assailed”, leading off with the arguments of the Northwestern congressmen against the bill’s provisions for moving quickly to a feasibility report on water import. The majority replied that the Southwest’s existing water supply imbalance will grow toward a collision course with economic disaster. The majority bragged about its record of improving and adding to the National Park System. The dams were necessary to project success. They would not injure the Canyon in any way, and parks are created to open up places of great beauty, not to make access more difficult. This would be done by the “water highway” created by the lakes.
14 Aug, Washington Post writes that the IRS investigation of the Sierra Club may lead into a “sacred province” of tax-exempt lobbying by “giants of political consensus” — American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, and several others. These “lobbying giants” pay no federal taxes on the revenues that underwrite their political activities. The AMA campaign against Medicare makes the Club outlay look “miniscule”. A pro-dam group of rural electric co-ops has also run ads urging legislation, which along with its 12 lobbyists were paid for out of tax-exempt revenues. Contrary to the assertion that no lobby was entitled to tax subsidies, such areas as veterans, churches, education groups, labor, and business enjoy protection from taxes. The IRS Commissioner says such protection reflects the balance of political power. Thus, businessmen can deduct the cost of lobbying, but not an ordinary citizen. And then there is the question of defining “substantial” expenditures, and several organizations are listed with large lobbying costs. IRS says their action was not “politics”, and there was no prompting from such as the Udalls. It is just that the large ads in prominent papers were “so open, so crass, that (IRS) had to take notice”. Nevertheless, it is possible that the IRS will have to broaden its inquiry.
The article begins with a vignette of how “an excited young assistant” brought the ad to the attention of the Commissioner. In a “couple of minutes” the latter got the message and the same day ordered agents to audit the Club’s books. The resulting storm of angry comment was predictable.
14 Aug, Washington Star carries Brower interview claiming the Club has been losing $5000 per week due to the IRS action. Since then, there has been another ad and three more planned, including in a national magazine (the Sistine Chapel ad in the New Yorker). Overall there was a net income from the ads, but other contributions have declined sharply. The article says the dam fight has caused a “bitter split” with Cong. Udall, who is almost despairing about his ability to work in the future with the Club if Brower continues his personal attacks. On 1 Aug, Udall had made a speech saying that what Brower is telling Americans “is not true”—the ads imply the Canyon would be flooded from rim to rim. [Not so; the ad had an accurate diagram of the impact.] Brower answered that Udall played with words — a 600’-deep lake is a flood. If Phoenix had 10’ of water, that would be a flood. Brower, concerned the IRS question was overshadowing the real issue, was writing “a conciliatory letter” to Udall. However, the dam fight should continue. The IRS could reasonably interpret its rule to allow us to continue. After all, he pointed out that the Club could stay away from legislation and be safe, but “the land isnt safe”.
14 Aug, Albuquerque Journal, features interview with local dam opponent who said that recent series of articles overlooked “primary arguments”. S. Logan, of Save The Grand Canyon Committee, “shelled” Reclamation for trying to define away portions of the Canyon. “Esthetics and economics are on the same side”, he said. Revenues from existing dams could finance the CAP. The Canyon should not be sacrificed for indefinite, undefined future water imports. He claimed that the area is little visited only because it is not recognized as part of the national park. He “castigated” the article for ignoring the precedent question.
14 Aug, Salt Like Tribune ran a Washington Post article that started by relating that Arizona’s Senator Hayden had herded through Congress the original Grand Canyon National Park bill, including the provision that there could be a reclamation project if consistent with the primary purposes of the park. [This seemingly strong pro-dam point was rarely brought up because it was so antique and self-defeating.] Now Hayden has hopes the CAP, “rumbling noisily through the legislative millrace” may help slake Arizona’s mighty thirst. Right now, the dams are only generating heat — Reader’s Digest and Barry Goldwater have spoken out in the campaign, the latter bringing his home movies of the river to Washington. The Club spent $10,000 on ads and the IRS is investigating it.
The bill has been reported from committee, but Cong. Udall and other backers still have to convince House leaders they have the votes. Udall calls the situation “touch and go”. After the House, there will likely be an even rougher passage in the Senate. The dams would first pay back the CAP and then the cost of proposed water imports. The provisions are then summarized. The Arizonans are threatened because they have lowered the water table dangerously, but they have promised not to water any more subsidized cotton. The Senate passed the bill twice in the late forties, then in 1951 the House told Arizona to work out its dispute with California. Now, these Colorado basin states, and also Texas, want to import water to meet even greater deficits. The Northwest opposes any import studies, and they have a formidable champion in the Senate in Jackson; he willl not try to rush a bill through.
The bill perpetuates the notion that reclamation pays for itself, power users subsidizing water users. However, dam opponents are urging alternatives.
14 Aug, Star, editorial by W R Mathews: A few score Tucsonans at this late hour are trying to undo the water plan. They have swallowed the Club falsehoods, when badly needed recreation sites would be created instead. The Park would not be disturbed. Dam opponents, “good, intelligent people” shout the “damnable falsehood” that vast areas of the Canyon will be modified or destroyed. Another falsehood: If the Canyon cannot be protected, other wildernesses will destroyed. These false words smear those who have been working for 40 years to bring water to Arizona. To get the water from the river up 2500’ to Tucson will take “a prodigious amount of electricity … part of (that electricity) for pumping” and part for sale to pay for the project. This policy built Roosevelt and Hoover dams, and sends water to Los Angeles. “The two-dams way is the only way.”
15 Aug, Houston Post editorial attacking Californian congressman’s label of “lobbyist” for the conservationists opposing the dams. However, it is difficult to see any special interest here. The American people have a right to know and to voice their opinion. His point is that the dams may not be visible, but they will “irrevocably alter” wildlife, disturb the priceless geology, and change the flow of valuable recreation water. Once destroyed, these values are gone. If this canyon is damaged, what will be left to defend?
16 Aug, Republic, B Cole on dissenters in report: Arizona is entitled to the benefits she won in court. However, they objected to making the Mexican treaty obligation national, and to the import study, and to the two dams. Given the river now, the CAP can be started and have water for “all time to come”. Reinecke of California wanted the import feasibility determined before the dams were authorized. Some others opposed Marble Canyon dam only. The majority called the CAP a “rescue project” and insisted on the immediate study of water supply augmentation.
16 Aug, Tucson paper: In a speech, Cong. Udall said the Northwest was “needlessly concerned”. There will be no “piracy” of Columbia water. The CRB states just want “an impartial national study” to face our extremely serious water problems. We only want 1.2 million acre-feet. And “such rivers are national resources; it is the obligation of Congress to make certain that one area of the country is not deprived of essential water if it is being wasted in another area.” He defended dams, praising their benefits for water needs, beauty, recreation, wildlife, the Hualapai.
17 Aug, RMN, “Arizona Project Lacks Votes for House Passage” is headline for article that bill is “still shy the necessary votes”. In a secret meeting today, Wednesday, the backers lack the necessary 218 positive commitments required by the leadership. Otherwise, on the floor a substitute to be offered by Cong. Saylor could be adopted without adequate protection for the states involved. Senate foes would hustle a Saylor bill through with a “sigh of relief”. Upper basin representatives are forcing Cong. Udall to make sure he has votes to defeat the Saylor substitute. He cannot just count “maybes”, since they would vote on and for the substitute first, and if it passes, never have to vote on the full measure. Udall believes he has the votes to get the bill out of Rules, but that is still uncertain.
19 Aug, AP series on issue rehearses the usual arguments over the dams. (no newspaper id)
22 Aug, Sentinel, reported on Grand Junction meeting of Reclamation executives from all over the West. Dominy spoke of the likelihood of reductions in construction money. Budget had dropped from $454 to $390 million. Dominy was still optimistic about CAP legislation. He spoke about need for dam revenues.
23 Aug, Sentinel, “Showdown Near” reports that favorable head count is still needed. Supporters say they have it, but as of 20 Aug, “they did not”. At the weekend, they decided to meet again around the 24th. There is form letter from Mrs. Johnson on the “thousands of inquiries” about the dams. California support is a big question. If the bill gets out of Rules, the Saylor amendment would be considered first, and “most informed sources here believe (it) would pass”. California and Colorado would then oppose, and perhaps the administration would, too. There are two courses: an all-out effort to get the Udall bill, or widen the discussion to include key Senators to work out compromise. Without “drastic compromising” the Udall bill is dead”.
26 Aug, Sentinel, reports Dominy showed his slides of Powell and Bridge & Marble Canyons at Reclamation meeting.
26 Aug, Flagstaff Sun article on plans to mine coal for the southern Utah Kaiparowits project. Arizona Public Service, SoCal Edison, San Diego G&E are looking at 5 million kw plant. Coal mining technology now entering era of rapid evolution.
26 Aug, no name, New Mexico governor calls bill “extremely important” to state. Only a matter of time before there is water imported.
26 Aug, Republic, B Cole reports “Chances Held Poor”. Sec. Udall claims getting no bill this year is no reason for pessimism: We will persist and work for compromise. Chances are not too good this year, but some projects take ten. Udall was not concerned about expiration of moratorium on state dam consideration: “Cant conceive of (the FPC) granting license". Also reported in Chicago and Salt Lake Tribunes.
26 Aug, Republic, B Cole reports on idea from Idaho governor of including a guarantee of priority to Northwest if water is exported. Washington & Oregon took a hard-line view: remove studies from bill. Texan will offer amendment for state to be included. [This might have been a committee meeting??]
28 Aug, Post, B Hanna: “River Basin Bill Declared Dead” — for this session of Congress, according to Cong. Rogers of Denver. There would have been important gains for Colorado, and Denver. New approaches to the legislation must be made in 1967.
29 Aug, Sentinel: “Basin Bill Dies Despite First Aid By Arizonans”: The CAP bill is dead this year, although “a hardy band” of Arizonans doesnt want to admit it. There was a last gasp last week when they began considering a “barebones” version, just the CAP and 2 Colorado projects. The Arizonas bent over backwards to accommodate all the basin states this year. But she learned, with bitterness, that her accommodations didnt bring working allies when the chips were down. California rebuffed Aspinall, and helped lock bill up in Rules. Colorado at that point lapsed into non-interest. Aspinall leaves 1 Sep to campaign. Only one New Mexican helped Arizonans. State project will be looked at, though Interior likely to resist. Arizona will continue going after project, but not this way; the bill was so large and controversial it couldnt get through House.
30 & 31 Aug, there were articles on Brower attacking dams in Washington:
Republic: Brower spoke before National Press Club, as Goldwater had earlier. He showed wide-screen movies. He proposed: CAP financed out of existing dams’ revenues, national water study, preservation of free-flowing Colorado w/o dams, extension of Park to take in all of gorge. In reply to Goldwater, Brower said “when you build a dam backing water 93 miles, then that part of the canyon is flooded and inundated and no amount of protest or sophistry willl erase the fact, nor wash out a word of it.” Ten feet of water in Phoenix, even in a department store (q.v. Goldwater’s) would be a flood.”
Salt Lake Tribune: In Monday speech, Brower said dams not necessary. Either dam would cause “enormous and unnecessary damage to the grandeur and beauty of the canyon and … to the national park idea.”Opposed one-dam-or-the-other compromise—one bullet in the heart or two. Five-point alternative. In reply to question about 1949 Club approval of dam, he said we didnt know then what we know now. IRS action has cost $200,000 already.
Denver Post reported Brower’s alternative plan. Dam construction is “obsolete engineering in view of cheaper coal-fired steam plants and enormous prospects of low-cost atomic power”. Sec. Udall’s reputation would depend on saving the Grand Canyon.
Article also reported on attack by Oregon congresswoman E. Green on the Columbia’s permanence as water source. She doesnt want to be dog in the manger, but what if there were drought in Northwest like that in Northeast: insufficient water for turbines, temperature up, pollution increased, salt water going upstream, salmon survival doubtful.
And New Jersey congressman said bill was stalled because of furor.
RMN (AP) Brower renewed conservationist attack; article is same as above.
Santa Fe New Mexican letter attacking editorial on damage to Canyon. They are to earn revenue, a paltry economic objective that would critically damage the Canyon as a living phenomenon. (Zeller)
30 Aug, Star, editorial: Defeat of bill is because Arizona has done little about public relations. It allowed Club to massacre and distort facts about dams. We must look for other plans to bring water. So far, we have been unable to find alternative to CAP + dams. Congress might pay, but electricity must come from somewhere. Nuclear cannot compete. Governor must take the lead.
31 Aug, Sentinel: death of bill may hasten expansion of Hayden coal-fired powerplant and starting larger Kaiparowits project. Most proponents now believe dams will never be built. So WEST will ignore them in planning. New under-secretary in Interior (Luce) will push Hayden: SRP, and 2 Colorado utilities.