Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Dam Battle - March 1968 Press

The March monthly newsletter of California’s CRA called the Aspinall-led bill a “practical instrument” to deal with western water problems. It stressed that the Californian water interests and congressional delegation now formed a “united bi-partisan front”. Their position came out of a series of meetings led by state Water Resources Director Gianelli. California concessions were: eliminating the “Hualapai pumped-storage hydroplant at Bridge Canyon to calm wilderness enthusiasts” and recognizing Columbia River Basin fears about import aqueducts. The state’s priority to 4.4 maf of Colorado River water is protected unless and until the river’s supply is augmented. In the Aspinall bill, the Interior Department is to act on augmentation. The report ends with another dig at the Columbia Basin states, and the need for “a complete study”.
  Another item cited a water tunnel scheme for Arizona; an open CAP canal might very easily be Reclamation’s grave. And a state CAP plan is “nonsense”.
 A cry of despair claimed 8 million kws could come from the Colorado if only 63 more dams were built.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Dam Battle - February 1968 Press

February 1968: a hinge month.

1 Feb, Tucson Citizen laid out a discussion at the hearing between Sec. Udall and Californians, who pressed him on how he would handle a state go-it-alone CAP. Udall noted Arizonans’ “fierce” determination to have a CAP. There would be a lot of hurdles to a state effort. Udall did not want to foresee what that effort would include; he might not even be in office, although he did not think it would be fair to “raise unnecessary obstacles”. As an Arizonan he would pursue it. The Californians noted the difficulty of getting approval for any state dam. Dominy assured Cong. Udall that Reclamation’s assumptions concluded that there was enough water for the Colorado 5 projects, the CAP, and the California guarantee, even in the current drought cycle. Aspinall was reassured, although the Mexican burden would have to be a shared one. He set markup for the day that Congress adjourned for recess in mid-February. Cong Udall called this delay damaging, but not fatal; the sooner the bill gets to the floor early in the session the better.

2 Feb, Citizen reported Cong. Udall as saying there were no surprises, no setbacks in the hearings. Markup would start 26 Feb. Northwesterner Foley drew Sec. Udall to re-emphasize that desalting and rain-making were the most hopeful paths to add to the Colorado’s flow. Udall said that funds from Arizona’s share of revenues from existing dams would mean there was no need for a property tax and that the water price could be reduced.
  In a related article, studies and drafts were discussed among state legislators for starting and financing a state-built CAP if needed.

Dam Battle - January 1968 Press

1 Jan, Tucson Citizen editorializes on the political aspects of this decisive moment.
If the federal CAP bill fails this time, the state is ready to pursue the go-it-alone course. Senator Hayden, his aide Elson, Congressman Udall, Governor Williams, even Chairman Aspinall face political ramifications. The paper sees the first three, Democrats, as most praiseworthy.

1 Jan, Sentinel also analyzes this as the “year of decision”. Sec. Udall is very encouraged, to an “extreme”. Aspinall has scheduled Interior Department witnesses before his committee on Jan 30-1, with mark-up shortly thereafter. Even California is likely not to be inflexible. However, there are warnings about the tight funding for water projects. Udall and Hayden will be gone next year.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Hayden's Point Man: Roy Elson, his view in oral interview

Elson, Roy.  Oral History with Senate History project, interviewer: Donald Ritchie
Interview 9 Transcribed, 6 Jul 1990
Central Arizona Project (CAP), pp 183-208 and 210-8

His words, copied from the transcript are in black; my commentary in blue.

Elson was Arizona Senator Carl Hayden’s chief aide in the 1950’s and 60’s.

I have excerpted relevant sections from his recollections. He always gives credit to Hayden, while putting his own actions and role forward as well. His evaluations of others are useful. However, much of what he says only makes sense if the reader is familiar with the 1963-8 CAP history, and there are crucial questions unanswered.