Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dam Battle - August to November 1968 Press: The End

Thursday, 1 August 1968, the conferees reached agreement on the Colorado River Basin Project bill. I have clippings, summarized below, from the Arizona Republic, Salt Lake Tribune, Denver Post, Grand Junction Sentinel, Albuquerque Journal, (Tucson) Daily Citizen.
There were a total of eight sessions over two weeks, and the version approved (on a 14-1 vote) carried Hayden’s bill number S. 1004 (rather than Aspinall’s HR. 3300). Hayden was full of gratitude. Jackson called it a western solution reached by the West. The key, according to B.Cole was that the only study would be a ten-year survey of western water resources, including a moratorium on  studies of interbasin diversion, satisfying Jackson’s adamant opposition to any intense look at inter-basin transfer.

[This, I would argue with 50 hindsight, along with the elimination of the Grand Canyon dams, was a victory tilting the country toward what would become environmentalism, and away from the grandiose pyramiding water scheme dreams that had led resource debate in the years since World War II.]

Arizona got its 3000 cfs aqueduct and pre-paid pumping power from a non-Federal coal-fired plant. Colorado’s five projects were authorized. Satisfying part (not all) of the Mexican share of the Colorado would become a national obligation (= funding). California would always be guaranteed at least 4.4 maf from the Colorado. Utah received authorization for two projects. Hayden noted that the “scenic values” from Glen to Hoover dams would be preserved by a prohibition on dams licensed by the Federal Power Commission.

Rep. M. Udall referred to the delay from conference agreement until after 4 September as akin to a time-out called just as their team had made a “first down on the one-foot-line”— a touchdown was inevitable. However, he added, “I just feel very tired.” Hayden and aide Elson tried to make electoral hay out of the event [to no eventual avail]. Saylor provided the one negative vote because he didnt like the Mexican clauses. Sec. Udall paid tribute to his brother the Secretary, Cong. Rhodes, and Hayden, but held off on celebration until final congressional action.

The Sentinel led off with the 10-year moratorium on any reconnaissance of water import. Aspinall was cautious about any of the projects because of funding problems. Hooker dam “or suitable alternative” was approved, a “defeat for the preservationists”. The House had not only backed down totally on import studies, but the Mexican obligation was reduced from 2.5 to 1.8 maf. Operating rules for Glen and Hoover were included in the bill, “most important” according to many Basin “water men”.

The Tribune’s Hewlett called the session “grueling”, in which the Senate had accepted the Mexican obligation, even though above the 1.8 maf level, the Basin states would have to pay the full amount for any additional augmentation. Indeed, it was Jackson’s opinion that “the conferees were generous in recognizing the Northwest’s concerns”. The 10-year moratorium will assure a period of peace on “the inflammatory and controversial issue” of water transfer. Moss of Utah and Allott of Colorado (according to the Post) were disappointed by the House’s retreat on studies. However, Aspinall called the result a “good bill”, a basin-wide approach.

From Albuquerque, Senator Anderson called the bill’s prospects “very, very bright”. He said he would urge that studies on Hooker dam location be conducted immediately. [That was 50 years ago; it would seem that the language Cong Udall and New Mexico conservationists agreed on for a “suitable alternative” has produced just that: no dam.]  Repeating the language about a “compromise” on studies, reporter Wieck continued the salving of Basin states’ (and Aspinall’s) egos. [No one pointed out that compared to the kitchen-sink House bill of 1966, this was a stinging defeat for those who wanted to keep satisfying the Southwest’s voracious appetite for water, although Jackson implied that in his claim of “a great victory for the Northwest”.]

The Tucson Citizen summarized the history of the legislation, emphasizing the multiple obstacles thrown in Arizona’s path, characterized by Rep. Udall as like a fairy tale prince who carries out feat after feat, only to be told by the king that his daughter is still not his to marry. The dam fight is called “the bitterest episode in the recent history of the river”, with each side being accused of distorting facts, calling names like “crackpots” and Grand Canyon “destroyers”. [This was a rare article that brought up the dam fight.] C. Turbyville wrote, perceptively, that the Sierra Club had an important ally in the Northwest who recognized the dams as financing a raid on their water, against California and Colorado in their adamant yet futile insistence on dams & imports. Interestingly, the article hardly mentions the key roles played by Sec. Udall and Sen. Hayden in proposing a dam-less, study-less bill in early 1967.

4 Aug, Republic editorialized on the CAP “glacier slowly overrunning the obstacles in its way”, and ran a cartoon on the many previous mirages to reach the final water hole. The lack of augmentation studies was a big concession, it said, but politics is the art of the possible.

4 Aug, Tribune editorialized on the “bitter disappointment” of a bill without any augmentation study, even taking away Reclamation’s authority to do any study  for 10 years.

5 Aug, Sentinel’s Nelson opines that construction of the Colorado 5 is many years away. The 5 are supposed to proceed along with the CAP, but in reality it will be one at a time. His guess is that Animas-LaPlata, then Dolores, Dallas Creek, San Miguel, and West Divide far down the line after a water need is found. [The last two are still waiting.]

11 Aug, Republic reports on Hayden’s aide Elson declaring the Senator will try to add some money this fall for engineering studies to get the CAP rolling. Aspinall will file the conference committee report on 4 Sep, and call it up for floor action. The next day will be the Senate’s turn, with the bill going to the White House on the 6th.

16 & 24 Aug, Utah’s and Wyoming’s governors attacked the Basin bill.

5 Sep, Sentinel: “House Approves River Projects”: The conference report written by the House Committee was approved by the House of Representatives in a voice vote. Aspinall calls the bill, and the Colorado 5, “a dream come true”. The bill directs Interior to report by 1977 on the West’s water resources, specifically excluding any proposals for a diversion from the Northwest. That AP report also appeared in the Denver Post. For Hewlett in the Salt Lake Tribune, the voice vote was a “surprise”. Saylor did object over the Mexican obligation. Aspinall called it the first real approach to Basin unity since the 1922 compact.

6 Sep, RMN amplified the story, giving credit to Aspinall who “rescued the bill a year ago” and “shepherded it through to the conference”. [Talk about twisting history!] Power dams were stricken from the compromise after conservationists protested they would “back water into the Grand Canyon”[sic.].  Northwesterners supported the bill, their fears about imports allayed.

6 Sep, Republic’s Cole reports the House’s “quick and final approval” of the $1.3 billion measure. Aspinall said there were only two changes: the size of the aqueduct and the 10-year moratorium on import studies. Saylor opposed it, saying it reversed the Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. California. Northwestern congressmen asked for the bill’s approval. The National Water Commission was also authorized.

7 Sep, Republic editorialized about the bill moving with the “majestic grandeur of a glacier”. Final approval is “within finger-tip reach”, “whispering distance”.

7 Sep, RMN presented the dark side, quoting the bitter attacks on the bill by Wyoming’s two Senators. claiming Colorado was “bribed” by being given the 5. They threatened that they would be back, looking for ways to secure their share of the river.

10 Sep, Sentinel celebrates the “opening of a new era of cooperation on Western water problems”, as presented by the House report. Udall, Johnson, Hosmer, and Burton lauded the achievement of regional cooperation, even praised by Saylor.

10 Sep, UPI reports reservations of Utah’s Senator Moss about moratorium.

12 Sep, Republic says Jackson is ready to bring up the bill, having awaiting the presence of Senators Allott & Kuchel (its two chief objectors in the earlier stage).

13 Sep, Sentinel ran the AP story on the Senate’s approval.

13 Sep, Republic’s Cole headlined: “WATER! WATER! WATER!”  The final approval sent to the President as the close to the 20+ year battle. Led by Jackson, the action took 2 ½ hours of floor time. He called it “a sound and constructive culmination of a very difficult problem”. He listed these features: CAP without the Colorado River dams, a development fund, the Colorado 5, guidelines for Hoover/Glen operation, long-range water studies with deferral of import studies, 1.5 maf Mexican obligation now rests on the nation. Voice vote was delayed for an hour while Allott of Colorado decried omission of Hualapai dam and plumped for concurrent construction of the 5 and the CAP. The Wyoming Senators complained of being left out. Others spoke generally of their approval.
A sidebar wrote of Hayden’s intention to get $3 million for starting planning. Then the Phoenix office of Reclamation could begin aerial mapping and other preliminaries, hoping for construction to start next year. Water is to be flowing by 1978.

13 Sep, Post ran a long article on Allott’s approval with objections. He called the import moratorium “discrimination against the welfare of the Basin states”, and claimed the CAP would be reduced to 300,000 af in future years.

13 Sep, Republic editorial on dreams coming true, coinciding with Hayden’s retirement. ”Widest vistas of growth” are opened in a state history “mainly of growth”. This “most improbable dream” will be accomplished.

13 Sep, RMN reports passage, but emphasizes the Wyoming “no” and Allott’s reservations.

13 Sep, Farmington Times led off with the accomplishment: 20 years to passage; 10 years to construction. Money has to be appropriated. Hayden celebrated. Projects in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Allott talked and answered questions for an hour, emphasizing the need for simultaneous construction of the CAP and the Colorado 5.  According to the RMN, he also warned about the back-door entry of Reclamation into coal-fired electricity. This time may have been special, he said, but dont do it again.

14 Sep Tribune business analysis of the “fantastically increasing power load growth” in the Southwest, and the need for the Page and Kaiparowits thermal plants.

14 Sep, Tribune editorialized in favor of the Basin states financing their own import studies.

14 Sep, Post carried the “development okayed” story along with Allott’s objections, and a call by Idahoans to prohibit Snake River dams while water resources are being studied.

15 Sep, Post highlights approvals by Aspinall, Sparks and other Colorado water worthies. This article, as did one in the Grand Junction Sentinel, emphasized the difficulties in getting appropriations for all the projects, a problem emphasized by Aspinall in the debate, noting the $2 billion backlog in existing reclamation authorizations.

16 Sep, Republic ran a near-silly article on governors meeting, with Wyoming grumbling and others talking about getting Canadian water. The lightly populated state’s congressman also introduced a bill to overturn the moratorium.

25 Sep, Post records Denver Water Board applauded the bill as a benefit to all of Colorado.

30 Sep, Republic’s Cole:

Important figures, from right: R.Elson (Hayden’s long-time aide), Rep. M.Udall, Rep. T.Foley(Washington’s lead against import study in House), California’s Sen. T.Kuchel, Arizona’s Sen. P.Fannin, Lady Bird Johnson, Hayden — his head obscuring the view of Sec S.Udall, Arizona’s Rep. J.Rhodes.   Jackson and Aspinall were mentioned by Johnson, but did not attend. Mrs. Johnson, deservedly it is thought, also got a souvenir pen.

Johnson, with a big smile, said he was glad to see Arizona and California had come to reason together, and gave Hayden the actual signing pen; others received symbolic pens. Johnson was full of impromptu praise for Hayden. There was a “huge” audience, and the Marine band played.

The President’s Remarks included a reminder of the importance of wise use of water; he had signed the Water Commission Act three days earlier. He rehearsed the history to reach this “landmark” bill, and described its provisions, including “without defiling or without despoiling the ancient and the spectacular landscapes along the Colorado. That will make it easier, too, for me to live at home. [Mrs. Johnson being the ardent conservationist.] These beautiful canyon and gorges are among the great natural wonders of the world. We will preserve these priceless legacies for the enjoyment of all of our children and their children, and very much to the pleasure and satisfaction of some of our great men of our time.” More space for this than for the construction works; “proud companion to the other 250 separate conservation measures I have signed”. Now the water of the west will be a little sweeter, its grass a good deal greener. Mentions Jackson and Aspinall finally making this day possible. Winds up with the paean to Hayden.

30 Sep, Sentinel, AP report on signing of monument to Hayden. The AP report, also in the Post, noted the ban on licensing dams between Hoover and Glen.
The Tribune noted the plethora of pens handed out to the large audience [I dont think any Grand Canyon advocates were invited.]

1 Oct, Rocky Mountain News records President Johnson’s signing of the bill, giving his pen to Senator Hayden along with a personal tribute. Present were more than 200 congressional members and other politicians involved. LBJ praised the legislators for “reasoning together”, with differences put aside after two decades. And he noted that the two Grand Canyon dams had been left out. “We will do all this without defiling and despoiling the ancient and spectacular landscapes along the Colorado. These canyons and gorges are among the great natural wonders of the world. We will preserve these priceless legacies for the enjoyment of all our children”.

1 Oct, New York Times ran excerpts from the President’s statement, and included a little map:

2 Oct, Post notes that in the bill is a protection of water resources for Denver and Colorado’s east slope, dependent on water imported from western Colorado.
Republic editorial notes that CAP will not end water issues.

10 Oct, Cong. Udall, in his report on the victory also noted “Grand Canyon Untouched”: construction of any dam is prohibited unless Congress specifically authorizes it [50 years and counting…] “This was a bitterly argued question, both in Arizona and throughout the nation. Personally, I’m happy that Arizona can ‘have its cake and eat it too’ — build CAP and have the Grand Canyon left as it is.” [His brother, Hayden, and in the background, Jackson, get my applause. Well, Brower and Company, too.]
  Udall recalled some important highlights:
1965: he presided over an informal meeting of Basin state leaders to search for a consensus. [That led to the doomed kitchen-sink bill of 1966.]
1967: His river trip with 10 other congressmen. [That bizarre tie-in to keeping motorboats in the Canyon.]
   His do or die speeches around the Southwest.
1966 tense and often bitter debate with Sierra Club’s Brower at the Grand Canyon.
Arguing his case before the editorial board of The New York Times.
1968: Eight hectic days in conference with Hayden and the great water leaders of the West —Jackson, Anderson, Hayden, Church, Jordan, Kuchel, wily Aspinall, Johnson — as they pondered and finally resolved the region’s water future.

7 Nov, Tribune, reprised the 40+ year history of the project, including a description of the whip system used in the House as part of the “extraordinary” effort to get a positive floor vote without a roll call, to avoid exposing members of “the economy bloc”. At its peak, 180 calls could be made in 10 minutes, making possible assembling a quorum before the vote, thus avoiding a roll call. The article put a positive spin on the Sierra Club’s “ultimately successful” fight to keep the dams out.

9 Nov, Republic reports “victory flight” from Colorado to Tucson. There was canteen-filling in Lake Havasu by Sec. Udall,  Reclamation’s Dominy, Rep Rhodes, Sen. Fannin, and water leaders. They flew to Tucson, and the ceremonies ended at a dinner for 1000 in Phoenix. Rhodes praised Rep. Udall for pulling rabbits out of his hat time and again.

And there we leave them, water secured, the Grand Canyon safe, and the certainty that one chapter’s ending only opens another.

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