Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dam Battle - April 1967 Press

2 Apr, Republic, ad by Salt River Project: “You can be sure there will always be a plentiful supply of priceless water at the lowest possible cost even though the users of water may double in the next ten years.”

3-5 Apr, Star ran editorials and answering letters about the Young-Martin report that recommended changes in use of Arizona’s water, away from cattle feed, in order to avoid building the CAP. The paper was disturbing enough that the dean of U of Arizona’s agricultural college issued an official rebuttal. (Although a tempest in the Tucson teapot, the items showed the fears CAP backers had that any crack in the state’s pro-CAP front could doom their chances.)

5 Apr, Republic reports that Utah’s Senator Moss had introduced a bill for a CAP with a Grand Canyon dam and a feasibility study for water import. His approach was allied with California’s, reinforcing the line between the Hayden-Jackson-administration approach and the Colorado-California commitment to the 1966 effort.

5 Apr, AP: Secretary Udall testified about his optimism that weather modification would be a cheaper, less contentious way to augment the Colorado River flow. Senator Jackson approved, supporting that view “with a broad smile”. “Rivers of the sky”, according to Udall.

5 Apr, Star ran a story that combined the offer by Californians to supply water to meet the Mexican obligation with a strategy meeting by “water experts” to refute the Young-Martin theory.

9 Apr, AP: Udall, visiting Phoenix, predicted the passage of a CAP bill in 1967. Arizonans have been patient and supportive of others, and now it is their turn.

9 Apr, RMNews featured Reclamation’s new studies showing that the rate of sediment accumulation in Lake Mead had slowed, and its life was now put at 500 years.

9 Apr, Star had “Civil Engineers Take Stand” in favor of building the CAP. This was the Southern Arizona Branch, and they were at pains to celebrate dams’ benefits, recent studies to the contrary. (This, like the Udall story above, was repeated in this news-poor month.)

10 Apr, Farmington Times: the 24 March offer by the Eel River folks kept making the rounds, reporter Monberg making the point that they suffer from floods and would happy to control their rivers’ flows more to their advantage. Everybody should be grateful for this problem-solving offer.

11 Apr, AP: Sen. Moss tried another tack, pushing a bill to authorize a water study just of the reclamation states. He wanted a nuts & bolts job to get a close look at water problems, something the sponsors claimed the proposed national commission would not do.

12 Apr, Republic: scoffed at a poll of Arizona scientists’ opinions on the Grand Canyon dams, reported by Paul Martin of the Arizona Academy of Science. There were “only 234” replies. Results: 60+% against dams and for Park enlargement, 28% on the anti-Canyon side.

13 Apr, Star: As the no-news month limped along, Arizona’s political leaders gathered in Washington to stir up interest, and to double check on the state’s position as legislators prepared for the next steps—bill mark-up in the House; hearings in the Senate.

13 Apr, AP: A state Town Hall meeting called for maintaining and revitalizing Arizona agriculture, including by providing low-cost water to bring back now-idle areas.

Apr editorial in Scottsdale Progress called for new thinking, instead of “dusting off the same old plans”. It suggested bringing water from Lake Powell, mostly by gravity and with little evaporation, an idea from the 1930’s.

16 Apr, SL Tribune reporter F.Hewlett confirmed that congressional action would wait until May (after the Senate hearings May 1). He noted the Californian initiatives from Eel River and Los Angeles Power’s Goss. However, the split between Colorado-California and Hayden-Jackson-administration will provide the main battleground.

16 Apr, Republic ran a CAP Special Report featuring 8 major players with a pithy tag for each: Sec Udall—“backs any good compromise”; Sen. Fannin—“The Salesman”; Rep Udall—“victory if everyone will ‘give’”; Sen. Hayden “calls the signals”. Chairman Aspinall was “the key”. Notable that neither Sen. Jackson nor Canyon advocate Brower were included.
A view of Arizona's legislative team (except Hayden):
And here’s Hayden, with Pres. Johnson:

B. Cole summarized the legislative landscape: The Senate would consider the administration-Hayden approach and a Californian bill like the failed 1966 effort but without Marble dam. The House had a more complex agenda, with three Californian offerings, the administration bill put in by Rep. Saylor, a CAP-only bill from Udall, Rhodes & Steiger, and Aspinall’s version of his committee’s 1966 product. Cole prognosticated: House work is held up by Aspinall’s insistence on getting Reclamation to evaluate the GossPlan. He had chastised Cong Steiger for questioning Goss’s motives. And then, there were the Eel River people in northern California who stirred up more discussion by offering to send some of their water south. Cole conjectured there would likely be a House Committee bill with the CAP, Hooker Dam, import study by the national commission, a guarantee for California’s Colorado share limited in time, conditional authorization of Hualapai dam — and Saylor would fight any dam language. The Senate will pass a near-barebones CAP with prepayment of power. July 1 is a likely date for action by both houses. Cole’s “crystal balls get hazy” about what a Senate-House conference will end up with. Funny, he wrote, that in 1966, everybody was excited but there was little chance of success. This year, with success possible, everybody is solemn & gloomy.

17 Apr, Sentinel was gloomier than Cole: Aspinall would not move the bill until there was agreement on the California guarantee and a water import study. On the latter, the congressman sniped, “the Pacific Northwest has to subdue its passions enough to agree to a long-range augmentation study by (Reclamation), then …Ill support the National Water Commission.” (Basically, he was telling Senator Jackson to commit a seriously uncomfortable act. We will see…)  The article also claimed that New Mexico and Arizona politicos were being hard-nosed.

18 Apr, Star summarized a meeting of Arizona’s water lobbyists and legislators as waiting to see what happens.

19 Apr, Republic noted the southern Arizona branch of a civil engineers society had endorsed both dams, and were sure there would be plenty of wild river left to satisfy anyone who cared.

19 Apr, Republic & others recorded Sec Udall’s optimistic view that there would be a CAP this year by Hayden’s birthday.

20 Apr, a snarky columnist in the Republic lied that “David Brower … has repeatedly advertised in large newspapers that Arizona wishes to flood the canyon rim to rim”.

20 Apr, Republic announced that Sec Udall and his family planned to take a float trip through the Canyon this summer.

22 Apr, Star played up a Reclamation report on the millions of acre-feet of water absorbed by Lake Powell’s sandstone walls.

22 Apr, Sentinel reported that Colorado agencies were preparing for the Senate hearings.

24 Apr, Sentinel, with no news, spoke of “much behind-the-scenes work”.

30 Apr, the state Academy of Science endorsed including Marble Canyon in the National Park.

And so the “month of marking time” came to an end, surely to everybody’s relief.

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