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”.

2 Dec, Sentinel, AP reports that head of southern California’s Metropolitan Water District declared that Arizona could not terminate Arizona’s commitments as easily as D.Wall of Ariz. Interstate Stream Comm. thought. He denied California was responsible for legislation’s demise. Congressmen Udall and Rhodes said Wall did not speak for all Arizonans and that they would cooperate with other basin states on future legislation.

4 Dec, Republic reports that the Arizona Cattle Growers Assoc. favored a state CAP, “concerned over water for grazing lands”.

[Surely, they could not have said the latter; maybe water for cattle feed, but not for grazing land!. At this time, they also opposed Wilderness status for the Blue Range Primitive Area, since 14 ranchers worked the area. It remains deprived of congressional Wilderness recognition.]

Once it was clear in August that the Basin bill was not going to the House floor, Martin Litton (a Sierra Club board member) organized a 19-day September river trip through the Canyon, using four wooden rowing dories, with the main purpose of showing Brower and some other Sierra Club people what the fight was all about. Participants included Hugh Nash (Bulletin editor), Bob Waldrop (from the Washington DC office), Francois Leydet (author of the Club’s big book on the Canyon), and me (previously, I had only hiked Canyon trails.) When Brower joined the trip at Phantom Ranch, he was accompanied by Alf Heller, a California conservationist, who wrote an article that appeared in The New York Times travel section on 4 Dec.
  The article contained seven uncredited photographs, except that one carries the name of “Clyde Thomas”, a Litton conceit. Ernie Braun, a professional photographer, was on the trip, and his photographs were used later in another Club publication on the Canyon.
  The article, almost two full pages, is  almost entirely a celebratory travel piece; there is one paragraph mentioning the dams, and two on efforts to expand the Park to include the entire river, an increase from 110 miles to 277 miles.
I thought a bit of turbulence might be appropriate for this year, 1966, a hinge in history:

5 Dec, Sentinel, reports that Aspinall is irritated at efforts by Interior to squeeze Dominy out of Reclamation. “Informed sources” said the new Basin project bill will be very little changed. He also criticized the Johnson administration for big cuts in the budget for water projects.

6 Dec, Republic, reports statements by CAP lobbyist pointing fingers: what we learned about the Goliath across the river, other basin states wavering under pressure, emotional crescendo of extremists. Keep pressing to set course in DC, but continue planning on state project.

7 Dec, paper unk., AP reports that at a meeting of the CAPAssoc, Sen. Hayden said two different bills would be introduced, each tailored for its house of Congress. He endorsed, also, continuing studies for a state project, although he thought such would still require some congressional action.

7 Dec, cover letter from N. Littell to Brower for articles on Sec. Udall firing him as Navajo tribal attorney; he and Brower had been in contact over Navajo position on Marble dam, and he was open to conferring on “the Grand Canyon problem” again.

8 Dec, Star, editorial: Casts doubts on financial feasibility of state project with Marble dam alone. The alternative is a federal plan without any dams, using power from the coal in northeastern Arizona. Let Congress decide how to pay for it all, perhaps as a “gift”. Now is not the time for a wild good chase of “go it alone”.

9 Dec, Republic, editorial: reports on approach put forth at CAPAssoc meeting: try for federal plan one more time, but Arizona should be ready with a state plan.

9 Dec, Salt Lake Tribune reports CAPAssoc lobbyist says there may be compromise — no Marble, park extension —, and asks conservationists to review their position.

10 Dec, Republic editorial thanks Californians for their “advice”, but prefers Arizona to push ahead on two efforts.

10 Dec, Republic: “Sierra Club Opposed to Compromise”: Brower spoke at a Washington conference. A new study (the one I did using Reclamation numbers)  shows CAP can be paid by borrowing from Hoover dam revenues. Even a no-Marble + park compromise would leave a dam to back water into the Grand Canyon National Monument. NParksA head Smith also spoke
Also in 9 Dec Gazette and 13 Dec Tucson Citizen.
11 Dec, Post: Brower says compromise is one bullet in head instead of two. “The entire Grand Canyon is fully deserving of national park protection.”

11 Dec, Sentinel summary of situation: Colorado’s Sparks to propose compromises to ease opposition from conservationists and Northwest — may not be enough in either case. Arizona is proceeding on parallel tracks, and may not include a guarantee for California. Reclamation is studying thermal power alternatives. Also, there is the problem of increasing saltiness of water upsetting Mexico. More upper basin projects would add to the problem.

12 Dec, Republic reports on harsh anti-Arizona comments by Californian Cong. Hosmer: The state “collapsed into total disarray”. They naively thought it could pass in one session. They blamed Californians for selfishness and duplicity. Hayden offered no assistance. The Republic “churlishly blasted” any compromise. Another Arizonan charged project was down the drain because of Californian bad faith. Rhodes wanted to label California as an enemy. Sec. Udall tossed in nuclear power causing an even wider power controversy. Cong Udall made bad moves. Arizona should remember we have our own parochial alternatives. [Trust Hosmer to do the nasty.]

13 Dec, Yuma Sun, reports talk by CAP lobbyist asking conservationists to consider proposal by Colorado’s Sparks.

15 Dec, Star, reports on Sparks proposals being approved at water board meeting.

14 Dec, Sentinel, another article on Sparks’ compromise plan being laid out before appropriate water boards.

14 Dec. San Francisco Examiner, Brower says Club is preparing for next year’s attempt to get a dam approved based on a compromise, which he calls “one bullet in the head instead of two”. The Club is struggling to emerge from the “financial purgatory” its been cast into by the IRS action, losing perhaps 10% of its annual operating income. Major donations have been cut off. Last year, Club witness Ingram showed CAP could be financed with revenues from existing dams. Reclamation answered that this would not provide enough revenue for the “staggering scheme” to import Columbia River water. Ingram used a power price of 5 mills/kwh; Reclamation claimed it would be 6 ½ , but is now selling power at 4, and California just negotiated a price of 3 for its water pumping.
  Same paper also reported that Colorado water board had adopted the one-dam plan, and changed the study to a reconnaissance.

15 Dec, Sentinel, also reports on Colorado adoption of Sparks plan (no Marble &, lowered Hualapai dams; reconnaissance study), with support from the governor. It was noted no other basin state has approved. Opposition continues from the Sierra Club and state conservation groups, as stated by E Weiner: “one dam is as objectionable as two”. In speaking for the Club, Ingram stated the CAP can be financed without the dams. Sparks asserted power revenues are needed to pay for water supply augmentation, and conservationists want a surrender. There was also debate about water transfer within Colorado.

15 Dec, RMN, reports announcement by Colorado conservation coordinating group COSCC that it will support plan if there are no dams in the legislation, and if Colorado supports park status for the entire Canyon: “One unnecessary dam would arouse the same opposition as did two.” The group also opposed three projects of the Colorado 5.

15 Dec, Post reports on same meeting of state water board. It made clear that the COSCC & Club leaders spoke at length against the plan. Dissatisfaction also came from those wanting intra-state water transfer, and a stronger inter-state transfer stand.

15 Dec, Farmington paper also carried AP item on the meeting’s approval of the Sparks idea.

16 Dec, Star letter from dam supporter asking that funds be raised from citizens to fight for dams.

16 Dec, Republic, business editor analyzes the head-reeling staggering costs associated with the four tentative proposals for a state project. Even the cheapest of the bond plans would be in excess of all long-term state and local debt in 1963  Arizona. Even more deadly, interest rates on such bonds are currently high, or not high enough to attract buyers. And such an endeavor is less well understood than, say, turnpike bonds. The job will not be a “snap”.

16 Dec, Post, editorial, though not “encouraged about the prospects” of the CAP, the Colorado water board made an intelligent attempt to pick up pieces. It remains to be seen if other basin states agree. The Colorado conservationists seem more conciliatory.

18 Dec, Republic editorial “The Plan Will Work” opining that most attendees at symposium on the state water and power plan concluded Arizona can finance the project. High-powered authorities, top national engineers and bond experts, support conclusion we can go it alone. Four hydro projects are proposed. Once paid off, the projects will be a great source of revenue for the state. Every expert does say that a federal project would be better, but Arizona will not wait much longer.

21 Dec, Citizen, reports IRS has made tentative ruling that contributions to Club are not tax deductible. A 23-page letter sent to Club. Substantial legislative activity on dams and redwoods was charged. Brower issued statement about impact on entire conservation movement. There will be meeting with IRS head office, and then to court.

22 Dec, Star editorial “Arizona Cannot Go It Alone” states Arizona can get new water only with federal cooperation. Bonds involve a host of difficulties. Getting access to the river will require federal involvement. Forget any ideas from the Sierra Club, with its “totally despicable sway” over the basin states; it is a “propaganda organization, not addicted to the facts”; “enemies of the people of Arizona”. We are very low on political totem pole. Arizona cannot go it alone, particularly if water import is necessary.

26 Dec, Republic editorial approving of IRS action: “by lobbying against construction of two dams on the Colorado River (contending that they would flood the Grand Canyon), the club not only was factually wrong but openly political.” And if as Brower contends, this affects others, that is all to the good “if it discourages them from (engaging) in unsanctioned pursuits.”

31 Dec, Republic letter answering an editorial supporting IRS action against Club. Even if the Club only has left operating deficits and principles, we might just get an undammed river in an enlarged national park.

Dec CRA Newsletter noted Aspinall’s approval (in November) for the Sparks proposals, and his attacking Interior’s idea of thermal plants. Sen. Anderson had approved of this the day before. Study was continuing in the Northwest on its water needs.

Dec Western Water News reports on pro-Reclamation meetings of recent past.

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