Friday, February 23, 2018

Dam Battle – November-December 1967 Press

1 Nov, Republic carries a press conference by Arizona governor Williams describing his attempt to explain Arizona’s position to upper basin governors. He failed to obtain their support. [Speculative comment: Governors on these water issues were more spear carriers than heavy lifters — the congressional delegations were the brains and the work horses.] Wyoming had said there wasnt enough water, so import studies were needed. Williams pointed out Senator Jackson’s opposition to such studies and his essential role. He also argued that Sec. Udall’s desalting plant to satisfy the Mexican obligation would take until 1980, too long for his state. He believes the others realize Arizona will get its water.

2 Nov, Sentinel reports local speech by Aspinall in which he says there will be hearings in early 1968, but no promise on reporting a bill, no matter what Hayden’s maneuvers. He said he had “told Hayden” there had to be power generating facilities in the bill to help pay the cost or it could not be passed. He spoke of Hayden’s “pocketful of IOU’s” and Allott’s “valiant fight”. He pointed to the shortfall both in water supply and reclamation appropriations. He worried the upper basin “will remain a playground” and not get its development. He said Jackson’s water commission was a delaying tactic. He claimed he had come home to talk to the people in his out-sized district. In mentioning other conservation & park bills, he worried that “some would lock up every resource without considering needs for their use”. He argued for the construction of Interstate 70 through a Wilderness on the basis of needing the route in case of a national emergency.  He wants his committee to visit the redwoods before acting on any legislation.

7 Nov, Sentinel looked ahead at the possible loss of Arizona political clout in Congress if Hayden were replaced by Goldwater in the coming elections. Salt River Project — oriented toward the Democrats and a federal water project — would lose its dominant position among the Arizona water lobby. Rep. Steiger also introduced partisan considerations when he crticized Udall for his congressional boating trip. The Republicans seem to be hanging together, while Democrats did not support Hayden aide Elson’s 1966 Senate run.

14 Nov, Republic carries governor’s attack on California and Arizonan economists trying to deny CAP is needed.

15 Nov, AP carries Aspinall speech on his distress that funds go to anti-poverty programs that are a national burden instead of economy-building reclamation projects.

19 Nov, Sentinel reporting [gloating?] over several expressions of Northwestern fears over their water rights.

22 Nov, Casa Grande AZ editorial attacking the Sierra Club, that has “greatly damaged the cause of Conservation” by “working full-time to ‘save’ a few feet of the bottom of the Grand Canyon”, and now wants to save Baja California from a paved road.

26 Nov, Sentinel reports on Reclamation’s study of desalting plants to add 2.5 maf to the Colorado’s supply by sending water to Mexico and along the coast. It will be a hard sell, due to cost, not yet being technically feasible, and opposition by the coal lobby.

November newsletter of California’s Colorado River Assoc. related recent events emphasizing most strongly splits and arguments between Arizona, California, Colorado, and the Northwest.


3 Dec, Sentinel was optimistic: “Colorado River Related Issues Appear Nearing End of Log-Jam” was headline for an item on the Senate Interior Committee approving an Aspinall-sponsored extension for the Public Land Law Review Commission. The House passed this in August, but Senators were waiting for Aspinall agreement to take up the CAP. Senator Jackson announced there would be final action on the National Water Commission bill in the next two months. The snag concerned Senate confirmation of the seven NWC commissioners and extension of BLM powers to classify and sell public lands. He also was optimistic about resolving differences over the CAP bill, which would authorize the CAP while augmenting the river “by means other than a massive water diversion. That is not in the cards.” With early hearings and a House vote, we can iron out our differences in conference, Jackson said. He also supported Interior’s initiative on desalting plants.

6 Dec, Republic’s Avery reported a 7 Dec meeting in Las Vegas of the Basin states watermen to consider a compromise bill (dated 30 Nov) drafted by Colorado’s Sparks. The move is almost forced by a growing apprehension that an Arizona go-it-alone CAP would end Reclamation, due to opposition from private power and Eastern states. Hayden has kept Reclamation going, said a bureau official, and the other basin states ought not to block his CAP. Calif. Gov. Reagan has asked Williams to help make the meeting productive. By telegram, Reagan urged working together to resolve mutual problems. The states’ major watermen will quarterback the discussions.

7 Dec, RMNews, however, had Aspinall predicting that in view of tightening federal finances, the chances for a river bill this year are “less than ever”. “My people”, Aspinall said, understand I said we would look at it again, with no promise to report a bill. “Theres even more difference now” than last summer, he added, “Its a very expensive project.”

7 Dec, Republic’s Avery did another “hopeful” report: “Steps are being taken”, according to Rep. Rhodes. He was alternately “optimistic” and “not”. The meeting will look at a Colorado draft bill, but there will not be any negotiation without the congressional delegation. The Arizonans were buoyed by the array of support for the Hayden-Administration-Senate bill. And, they are ready to go it alone in 1968 if need be. An editorial suggested this last threat prompted Reagan’s plea to work together.

8 Dec, UPI related speeches promoting the water desalting and water salvage efforts currently underway. 

8 Dec, Sentinel’s Nelson on results of meeting of Basin states where no commitments were made to the Sparks draft, which will be discussed by the Colorado Water Board next week. No one knows what Cong. Aspinall thinks of the revised effort that eliminates Hualapai dam. Other changes would affect the study of adding to the Colorado’s water supply, the California guarantee, how to take care of pumping power and pay-out of the CAP, size of CAP aqueduct, building CAP and the Colorado 5 concurrently.

9 Dec, SLTribune pours cold water on the hopes: states “unable” to come up with a solution to the major concern of the upper basin that there is no provision to add to upstream flow to counter CAP withdrawals.

10 Dec, Republic’s Avery analyzed the discussions as moving Arizona closer to winning its 45-year struggle, with the barrier broken by Sparks’ draft bill. Its many similarities to the Hayden bill show Hayden’s strategy is working. Hayden’s bill has the Colorado 5 projects, and they would die with the CAP, if Aspinall does not get a bill out. Hayden’s help for Colorado, after all, goes back 30 years to his tacking Colorado’s Big Thompson on a public works appropriation bill. These differences remain: California’s 4.4 maf guarantee. Colorado suggests making that last until the river is augmented by 2.5 maf of water, while Hayden’s bill calls for a 27-year limit. There is also the question of what kind of water studies for “augmentation” there can be. Will they be tied to the Mexican treaty? There were half-dozen “rough spots” and those involved really want to deal with them. One help was that California was represented by Water Director Gianelli instead of Northcutt Ely, a lawyer often accused by Arizonans of fostering dissension.

12 Dec, Republic columnist D.Dedera touted, only half-humorously, Arizona building its own CAP.

13 Dec, Republic interviews pessimists on previous week’s Las Vegas discussions, since Colorado was insisting on a permanent California guarantee and that its 5 projects be built simultaneously with the CAP. Power authority head Smith, who wanted to build a state Grand Canyon dam, and who doesnt like the federal government, was noisiest. He ignored the change in the Colorado bill of dropping any dams, a marked difference from Aspinall’s and Allott’s adamant position earlier in the year.

14 Dec, SLTribune reports Senator Moss speech calling for continental talks on moving water around. We owe it to Canada, said Moss, to tell them we want their water. [A curious example of a man on the sidelines, seemingly with a far-reaching vision of a future that is anathema to those playing the game.] Republic reported that some private regional group was looking at a plan to import Canadian water.

15 Dec, Sentinel & Post report that the Colorado Water Board approved the Sparks draft. The draft talks about augmentation, but not import. The two Grand Canyon dams would be dropped and blocked. This caused “considerable discussion”.
Another report, in the Tucson Citizen, noted that no water moving recommendation can be made without the source state’s approval.

15 Dec, UPI reported speech by California’s Gianelli calling for compromise since otherwise its entitlement would be left “undefined”.

16 Dec, Republic: Gov. Williams, while attacking California guarantee, invited Gov. Reagan to meet.

19 Dec, Citizen reported Cong. Udall’s feisty speech in Los Angeles: we will push for CAP over Californians “dead bodies if necessary”. California’s conditions are “impossible”. But then he referred to the dams and import study, and made the usual threats. [Very odd timing for such content.]

21 Dec, Republic reports on in-state meeting of Arizonans repeating their readiness for battle, for their bill or for going it alone if need be.

29 Dec, SLTribune’s Hewlett said “Hopes Soar for Passage” because Aspinall announced hearings would be held on 30 January for four days, to hear only Interior/Reclamation witnesses, and then to mark up the Senate-passed bill. Also yesterday, Sec. Udall repeated his increasing optimism, citing the Las Vegas meeting of watermen in early December where “statesmanship was shown”. Key changes: a major desalting plant, the California guarantee, a basin account that would assist a Utah project, removal of power to license or study any Grand Canyon dam.

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