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.
1 Jan L.A.Times editorial on Cong. Udall’s recent speech, with an olive branch in one hand and a club in the other. All are exploring the new possibilities, given the political muscle of Northwest senators and the zeal of Sierra Club members. Our point of view is that Udall’s optimism should lead him to dropping any objection to California’s guarantee.
3 Jan, Republic noted a meeting of financing firms and Arizona politicos on the state CAP.
4 Jan, Republic cartoonist Manning gave a push to the state plan:
15 Jan, Arizona’s Congressman Udall sent his constituents the speech he had given in Los Angeles on 19 Dec.
19 Jan, Citizen cited encouraging words about House passage of the CAP by House Republican leader Ford. This was in contrast to an Arizona official saying his agency was ready to put forward a state plan in February.
20 Jan, Citizen carried the opinion by former aide to Sec Udall that a state plan would be “difficult”.
21-2 Jan, Sentinel’s Nelson wrote a two-part article about the “queer silence” on Colorado River legislation. There had been meetings, but no statements. Even preservationists are “strangely quiet” about Colorado’s recent dropping of the Hualapai dam idea. Colorado waterman Sparks, who drew up the new position, is off to Washington, in advance of the House hearings in ten days. Maybe the positions are too tenuous for discussion. And the preservationists are looking to keep Hooker dam out of the Gila Wilderness.
Sparks’ draft bill uses many features of the Senate bill, some Aspinall ideas and some new sections. [This was in contrast to the year before when Sec. Udall’s ideas were loudly denounced.] His draft is part of a strategy to prevent the House from adopting the Senate bill outright. No one knows if Aspinall has accepted the federal prepayment concept that Hayden substituted for the dams. The studies of desalting plants may also figure in reducing the need for new water, but the objections are formidable.
Nelson sees 14 differences in the Sparks draft, including: there would be federal reconnaissance studies by 1975, but a bar to import recommendations. There would be a feasibility study on satisfying the Mexican obligation, which would be national, not just the Basin’s. Still not giving up completely, there would be more protections for water import areas. The CAP aqueduct would be smaller, but California would have a guarantee if there were no augmentation. The Grand Canyon dams would be prohibited by anyone, state or federal. The Colorado 5 would be built along with the CAP. Existing dam revenues would help pay off the new projects. There would be a broad study of power source construction.
An accompanying editorial said the draft had the best chance of approval.
25 Jan, Sentinel followed up with an interview to hear the Aspinall mantra: the seven Basin states must get together if there is to be a bill. The major question is supplemental water, and the Sparks’ draft is the best acceptable approach. The upper basin will lag behind in using its share, and Arizona will race ahead with the CAP. He was not sympathetic to a continued Arizona-California dispute; they should settle it so I dont have to step in. He had no problem with using revenue from existing dams for new projects.
26 Jan, Citizen reported Cong Udall happy with “99%” of the new bill from California that was introduced 25 Jan. It dropped dams but kept an import feasibility study.
27 Jan, Republic reports on California’s congressman Johnson introducing its new basin bill, and predicting a few months before action. California had now “gone as far as it would”. Arizonans were cautious in their optimism, and go-it-alone advocates were scornful.
28 Jan, Tucson papers noted only that the hearing would be next Tuesday.
28 Jan, Tribune’s Hewlett quotes Cong. Udall as more than hopeful as hearings — the “revival of one of Capitol Hill’s oldest and most popular road shows” — were set to hear Sec. Udall. The California delegation had introduced a bill similar to the Sparks draft, but tilted toward their concerns —especially the 4.4 maf guarantee—, that would take priority over the Senate-passed bill, without infringing on its major provisions.
29 Jan, a Tribune editorial described recent history to place the Johnson bill in the context of being “a major concession” according to Governor Reagan. The bill “May be a Way Out”.
29 Jan, Sentinel recognized the Johnson bill as California being willing to accept the most recent formulations, perhaps because of their governor’s political ambitions. Also, they may well be concerned about an Arizona go-it-alone possibility; it would not include any guarantee.
29 Jan, Citizen was quoting Cong Udall as further buoyed by President Johnson’s CAP support in his budget message. Furthermore, a change in calculating benefit-cost values for reclamation was to be introduced soon, which increased the pressure to authorize the Colorado 5 quickly, before their economics got even worse. He was also ready to be friendly to the Johnson version, suggesting that behind the scenes negotiations are continuing.
29 Jan, Denver interview with Coloradans Allott & Love continued the sense of progress toward compromise; they would not take a “dog in the manger” attitude.
29 Jan, RMNews echoed this in being happy that the back-fence disagreements were being patched up. Hayden seems happy with the positions in the Sparks draft.
30 Jan, Scottsdale Progress was also pleased in its editorial, but still warning about the need to examine California’s “new Greek gift” closely.
30 Jan, the Citizen reported the opening of the hearings, featuring Sec. Udall’s strong testimony for the strongly justified CAP, although there was a wrangle over measuring water flows with Aspinall.
30 Jan, Republic columnist trotted out another go-it-aloner Arizona farmer, worried his ag business would disappear.
30 Jan, RMNews optimistically headlined “Compromise Colo. River Bill Gets Committee OK”, although this came from a relatively lesser California player. The Interior testimony was aimed at fuzzing up the water supply situation in order to make all the compromises look workable, even without any major water import.
31 Jan, Tribune emphasized Aspinall’s “very little confidence” in the new Reclamation stance pushing desalting and new water calculations. Saylor also chimed in, challenging Reclamation’s water figures, almost as if he wanted the bill to be scrapped. Sec Udall praised regional private utilities for their advancing a power plant scheme using Navajo coal.
31 Jan, Washington Post was more interested in the “scorn” sprinkled on the desalting plant scheme, Aspinall calling it “completely unrealistic”. On the main provisions of the bill, California & Arizona generally agree.
31 Jan, New York Times took the same line: “sea-water plan … Ridiculed”. Aspinall complained it was “foolish”. Sec Udall testified that the CAP would take longer, ready in 1978.
31 Jan, Sentinel emphasized the committee’s pushing Interior to provide full information on water supply. Saylor complained about Reclamation changing the Frying Pan-Arkansas project by dropping some of its power plants.