Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dam Battle - April 1968 Press

3 Apr, Congressional Record contained Cong. Saylor’s insertion of the House Interior Committee’s resolution commending Chairman Aspinall for his leadership on the Colorado Basin legislation.

6 Apr, Republic carried the announcement by the Salt River Project that two 1500 MW generators had been ordered for the plant it would build in northern Arizona, of which 400 MW would be reserved to pump CAP water. Construction is scheduled for 1970, and power would be generated in 1973-4.

7 Apr, Sentinel summarized the status on the bill, reported on 26 March. Committee staff was preparing report, due 22 April, at which point Aspinall will request clearance for floor action from the Rules Committee. Cong. Udall & Johnson are in charge of lining up votes. Udall held a strategy meeting of Basin state legislators. Only Wyoming is in opposition. The Californians want the bill done in May, since they have primaries in June. There would be extensive preparation of materials & letters to House members.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Some Numbers To Put Down A Vexing Canard

When writing about the fight to keep dams out of the Grand Canyon, several authors make statements like this one, from eminent historian of the American West, Donald Worster, on pp 275-6 of his Rivers of Empire, 1985:

“Originally the (Central Arizona Project) plan had been to run the pumps on hydroelectricity generated by two more Colorado River dams, one at Marble and the other at Bridge Canyon, the latter creating a reservoir that would bury a portion of the Grand Canyon National Park. (f.n. 21; see below) Once more the environmentalists buckled to battle to save a last piece of the natural, and once more—for the second time in the century—they were victorious. Once more, however, they lost something as well, for the energy to make the CAP go would be derived instead (my emphasis) from coal strip-mined on Hopi sacred lands at Black Mesa in northern Arizona and burned in the Navajo Generating Station near Page, polluting the crystalline desert air with ash and poison gas.”  (The fuller discussion, with footnotes and other examples, is at my blog post of 16 Nov 2016: Lies Float, under the tab DAMS.)

The errors in that paragraph arise in part from an ignorance of the CAP’s history, but more importantly, from a fundamental misunderstanding of how power would have been allocated to move CAP water from the Colorado River over mountains and down into the Phoenix area.