Saturday, January 13, 2018

Dam Battle - August 1967 Press

At the end of July, Cong. Morris Udall organized a river trip for nine of his House colleagues.  The Arizona Republic (1-2 Aug) was represented; here are the intrepid legislators near Phantom Ranch, investigating the Grand Canyon, Udall is the one grinning second from right. More important

to the newspaper was that Rodgers Morton (second from left), Republican of Maryland, “was convinced he was wrong in originally opposing” the CAP. After his six days on the river, Morton, “with a first-hand look at the country (was) convinced that the recreation advantages on the river with the dams are tremendous”. He saw that the damsites would not “interfere with Grand
Canyon National Park”, and would tell this to the “conservation groups and garden clubs in my own district” who had been “pressuring” him. Morton was the most outspoken of the group, though another member appeared shocked that the proposed reservoir would not reach to Phantom Ranch.

[This trip had no impact on the course of the legislation, but sad to say, events just downstream did affect Grand Canyon’s future. Orren Beaty, the man in the background fourth from left, slipped while on one of the pontoon rafts and hit his head on the motor, causing a serious enough injury that he was helicoptered out. Six years later, when Morton was President Nixon’s Secretary of the Interior, he was considering the question of whether motors should continue to be used on Grand Canyon trips. Remembering the Beaty incident, he decided that motors should stay while a study was done on river travel’s safety. This led to a 7-year delay in decision-making, and allowed motorboat operators to gain the upper hand in determining river traffic policy.
From my point of view, he showed remarkable consistency in the conclusions he drew in these two situations from his “first-hand look”. You can lead an ignorant person to the library; you cannot make him read books.]

3 Aug, Republic editorialized on the good chances for the CAP as the Hayden-administration-Jackson bill came to the Senator floor for consideration. This bare-bones bill comes up in a different spirit from 1966’s “vast ‘lets-do-everything-now’”.
Washington Post editorialized in the same vein on a bill “stripped of its most controversial features”. It “failed last year largely because it called for construction of two power dams”. Opposition to the current bill because it does not call for a water import study is unwarranted; the National Water Commission can do such a study. This “vague concern” is set against Arizona’s “direct and immediate” needs. Arizona should be promptly helped, and as well, Marble Canyon should be added to the Park.

4 Aug, the Republic, unable to leave well-enough alone, chortled as to how Udall’s trip had opened the eyes of one Representative, contrary to Sierra Club’s “phony appeal” that led people to believe “a Bridge Canyon Dam would send water lapping across the porch of the El Tovar Hotel”. [Newspapers in their Golden Age were just as good at perpetrating “fake news” as the Russians are today.] The editorial went on to grumble about Aspinall’s “attack” on the Senate CAP bill by announcing there would be no action in the House this year. Confused, it then trumpeted that the Sierra Club would not be able to fool the “floating members” again about the dams.

5 Aug, AP report in the Republic that House members on the trip from California, Michigan, North Carolina, and Maryland were now scornful, commenting about the Sierra Club: “Most of them havent even seen the damsite”; “Hualapai Dam will not hurt the canyon, only enhance it”; “Man cant build a dam large enough to flood the Grand Canyon”.

5 Aug, the Republic’s Cole: Aspinall “decreed yesterday that there wil be no further action this year by the House Interior Committee on the CAP.” The Senate will take up the bill today, which prompted “Aspinall’s shocker”. When questioned by Arizona’s Steiger, Aspinall replied “with patient indulgence (and) a sweet note in his voice” that he would be leaving and not returning to Congress in this session.

7 Aug, New York Times carries story on Senate approval. Will transport water to central Arizona; will not include dams. Vote against dam 70-12. Action not expected in House until next year. Hualapai dam was main target of conservationists led by Sierra Club. Administration had already backed away after protests. So power will come from a steam-generating plant. Dams were to be cash registers to pay for CAP. Third passage for CAP in Senate. Allot & Kuchel said there wasnt enough water and wanted a study of importing water,  a key issue for Senator Jackson of Washington who eliminated proposals to give priority to water import for Southwest.

8 Aug, New Mexican interviewed Aspinall allowing him to insist there had to be an augmentation study in the bill; all sides have to give a little. Senate passage was a tribute to Senator Hayden, a “purely political operation”. “When it gets to the House, it just isnt going to stand up.”
In the Senate, California’s Kuchel  and Colorado’s Allott had tried to add the import feasibility study and Hualapai dam, but failed 70-12. Only 7 of the 14 Basin state Senators opposed Hayden.

8 Aug, Hewlett of the Tribune noted there were three days of debate before the bill passed on Monday afternoon, 7 Aug. In floor managing the bill, Senator Jackson described Hualapai Dam as “proposed solely as a cash register to finance inter-basin water transfer”. Secretary Udall hailed the strong support for this administration bill as a basis for compromise with the House.

8 Aug, Republic’s Cole headlined “CAP approval”, but “dubious fate in the House”. He quoted Sec. Udall who hailed the bill as a tribute to Hayden while making substantial concessions to California and the upper basin states. The “issues are clearly compromisable if everybody keeps a flexible state of mind”. “I will do all I can to help produce the further compromises necessary to get the legislation to the President’s desk”.

9 Aug, Rocky Mountain News fulminated that “the bill will die in (the House) committee.” Aspinall stands as the bulwark. (It failed to mentioned the Colorado projects that had been added.) Its Washington correspondent reported Aspinall’s position of no action this year. On the Senate floor, the last-ditchers in Colorado and California aimed their attacks at Sec. Udall, a “flip-flopper” and “downtown bureaucrat”. When reminded by Arizona’s Fannin about the Colorado projects, Allott said he didnt see any money for them for 20 years.

9 Aug, echoing this, Colorado’s waterman Sparks refused to comment. Colorado thus continued its heels-dug-in position. But at the end, the article noted that Aspinall will not bring up the bill in his committee since the votes might be there to send it right to the House floor.

9 Aug, Republic’s Cole continued the dreary chorus of how powerful the House’s Aspinall was, a “Goliath” because Arizona’s 3 were opposed by California’s 38 members.
 [Did Cole remember how Goliath fared? For that matter, did Aspinall really think he was in the driver’s seat? In the 1965-6 House effort, his bill was not ready until August 1966; this time in 1967-8, the Senate was a year ahead of that schedule. Could Aspinall believe he could stall for over a year? It will be fun to see what sort of cards he tried to play to get back in control of the game.]

9 Aug, Denver Post report emphasized Allott’s charges that water for the CAP would have to come from the upper basin’s share, and that Reclamation project budgets had not been nearly enough recently to accommodate the CAP costs.

9 Aug, Republic provided a platform for gad-fly Arizona congressman Steiger to attack both Sec. Udall and Senator Hayden for their failure to get the CAP approved. They succumbed to “completely invalid pressure from the Sierra Club”. He groused that he and Cong. Udall and Rhodes were up against the huge California delegation.

9 Aug, a Republic editorial did its own attack — on nemesis Californians, “adept at delaying action”. They had parlayed the simple CAP into a “vast regional scheme” going from the Columbia to the Mississippi. “California conservationists” convinced the nation CAP dams would  “flood the Grand Canyon”. Arizona conceded it all in 1966, but Californians bottled the legislation up again. This year, we shifted to a bare-bones CAP, and now the Senate has approved. California will resist in the House, yet we are ready: to be flexible, with ”simple justice” and the administration on our side.

10 Aug, UPI carries Wyoming Senator Hansen’s denunciation of the CAP bill as having been “steam-rollered”.
Same day, Republic records that the governor was going to DC on 21 Aug to map strategy with other top Arizona politicos.
Same day, that paper reported the “spanking” of Steiger by the Arizona delegation, though only Udall, “shocked and dismayed”,was vociferous:  Steiger “lacked candor”, even though he attended a delegation celebration on Monday.
Aspinall meanwhile is seeking to adjourn by Labor Day.

12 Aug, Sentinel had Aspinall’s sharp denunciation of the Senate bill. There must be a study of augmenting the Colorado’s water supply. There has to be “understanding” and “compromise acceptable to all”, he said, but not until next year. Allott pushed a substitute including Hualapai dam, but it was opposed by the Northwest and conservationists. Another possible compromise could include concurrent construction of upper and lower basin projects.

12 Aug, Republic quoted Hayden’s key aide, Roy Elson, saying Aspinall is “beginning to feel some of the heat that can be generated.” (Hayden was chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.) “Elson explained later that the delegation had made clear to Aspinall that it would not cooperate with him on his pet projects … if he does not report the (CAP) out”, and “ultimately he will reach a bargain” with Arizona, which “deserves a vote on it…whether up or down”.

13 Aug, the Sentinel speculates that Cong. Udall and Saylor may team up to “blast” the CAP bill out of Aspinall’s committee by having a floor vote in the House to order the bill reported. The meeting between Aspinall and the Arizona delegation on 8 Aug was “stormy”. The chairman insisted there be guarantees for the upper basin and California, yet he “is in a tight spot and knows it”.

13 Aug, Republic’s Cole cautions that “Hayden No Miracle Man” to force Aspinall to act by delaying appropriation bills. Aspinall is “always touchy, frequently difficult, and occasionally tedious, but he prides himself above everything on his fairness. He is obsessed with composing all differences” before taking a bill to the floor. No one believes Hayden would be allowed to play parochial politics with the nation’s money bills. On the other hand, Aspinall cannot single-handedly overwhelm his committee’s membership and keep the bill bottled up. (And no doubt remembers that he lost control of the legislation a year earlier.) In any case, no one cares about the CAP but Arizona. So it is up to the House delegation, not a Hayden power play, to round up the votes.

14 Aug, the Sentinel brought out some details of the CAP debate: Even if authorized, the five Colorado projects would have to join a long line of projects awaiting appropriations. Allott pooh-poohed his fellow Coloradan’s weather modification scheme, saying only an import would help — ignoring the political obstacles to that course. Oddly, he also lamented that Colorado had no other water sources.

15 Aug, Post, called “inane” a plea to Colorado’s governor from three Arizona Republicans to support the CAP. (Apparently, the Coloradan’s call for a dam and import was non-inane.)

15 Aug, Republic furnished quotes in favor of the CAP bill by Senators from New Mexico, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Montana.

17 Aug, Tribune cited Sec Udall in a “most optimistic mood” suggesting agreement is nearer than most people believe. Aspinall, with whom he had talked, will do his best to seek a compromise. California doesnt have a veto any more.

18 Aug, Republic, however, reported Aspinall’s committee decided on no more meetings this year, Udall and Steiger protesting. Interior officials and Aspinall had had “several” meetings. Sec. & Rep. Udall are both called cautiously optimistic.

20 Aug, announcement that there would be a technical meeting on the Comprehensive Framework Study, which is inventorying water supply & use data for the upper basin.

22 Aug, L A Times portrayed Arizona with dim hopes for a federal CAP and proceeding on a state CAP. “Time running out”, opines the article. Governor suggests there are several ways to proceed. In reply, California watermen thought Arizona would be making a mistake.

23 Aug, Post mis-leads with “planning to go it alone”: speaking in DC, Arizona’s governor Williams said a local study will begin immediately on a state plan.

23 Aug, Sentinel continued the gloomy line with Hayden planning to force Colorado to accept the Senate bill; all Colorado appropriations are targets, the paper avers. Differences are so wide, compromise is difficult to envision. Meanwhile, Aspinall will meet with Colorado conservationists asking for Park expansion, no Gila Wilderness dam, dropping two of the Colorado five.

23 Aug, AP: Arizona governor called Aspinall “rugged, tough curmudgeon”, and we will have state plan in December.

24 Aug, RMNews with Aspinall’s reply that the river doesnt have enough water for the CAP, so he sees a provision that would allow the upper basin to recall any water used for the CAP.

[Worth remembering that August is dogs’ days, and newspapers have to get inventive about “news”, if not downright silly.]

24 Aug, Post on Colorado waterman Sparks saying “stand firm” and “wait to see” what happens.  He listed advantages to Colorado of the Senate bill: 5 projects, equitable dam operating criteria, a basin fund, and settlements of other minor feuds. But Gila problem not answered, and no import.  This substance contrasts with the headline: “unyielding” against bill.

24 Aug, RMNews: Sparks criticized Hayden for not pressuring Jackson. “A little hysterical” in going to state CAP plan. Administration opposing dams is “one of the greatest flipflops in reclamation history”.

24 Aug, Arizona editorial: we are not playing the good guy any more.

25 Aug, Sentinel quoted Arizona Rep. Rhodes: if Arizona has to build its CAP, other states will have to pay for their projects, too.

25 Aug, Post, Gov Williams criticized Sparks in return.

27 Aug, Sentinel, opined that a state-built CAP would be a “rough row to hoe” for Arizona.

28 Aug, Sentinel interviewed Aspinall, and concluded he was lowering his demands on the legislation content “materially”. He did so because Arizona will go ahead on its own and Colorado projects (15 were listed) could see “tough sledding”. He said the upper basin would need a guarantee it will get its water and its projects. Also, issues associated with working of Glen & Hoover would have to be adjusted. Lower basin states will have to settle shortage problem, since “Court in its wisdom left it up to the Secretary of the Interior”.

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