Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Dam Battle - June & July 1968 Press

June newsletter of California’s Colorado Rive Assoc. noted that Sen. Jackson’s statement that the House-passed bill was “not acceptable” was countered by signs of approval from New Mexico’s Anderson, Colorado’s Allott, and Hayden, who was “confident any differences can be worked out”.
It ran a photo of the triumphant Arizona key players:

The issue also carried half a dozen little items pertaining to inter-basin water transfers, sounding a bit like whimpers after the softened “bang” from House passage of the CAP bill.

2 Jun, Republic’s Cole reports a May 28 luncheon meeting of Cong. Aspinall and Sen. Jackson, calling it “most fateful meal in Arizona history”. The content of the discussion between “two of the shrewdest bargainers in Congress” was totally secret. Optimism would be indicated if action is resumed on the long-awaited Water Commission bill. Jackson wants any interbasin plans to be studied by the Commission, while Aspinall has moved to have the Interior Secretary prepare a regional water plan. Jackson would be willing to scuttle a CAP bill if it contains any augmentation study. So the luncheon is seen as an optimistic move.

5 Jun, Tribune says Utah’s Sen. Bennett is one optimist that a conference would be called soon, and that his state’s two projects would be included in any final bill.

5 Jun, Sentinel cites “a half dozen Senators” who want a conference, but Jackson is still balking over the augmentation study provisions. However, he may run into trouble if the Basin senators out-vote him. Or maybe Hayden will threaten Jackson over water project funding. [These scenarios were laughably implausible.] Aspinall says he is ready, having spent the past 8 months getting ready to spot the bear he is hunting. No doubt, meanwhile, senators are working to get an understanding on Jackson’s concerns.

19 Jun, Sentinel reports that key Basin Senator New Mexico’s Anderson warned the Basin states not to try to shove a water import study down Jackson’s throat. The House bill calls for a feasibility report to be sent to Congress by Jan 1975. Anderson has talked repeatedly to Jackson and Arizona’s Fannin, and thinks the bill is likely to be delayed over the question of how to study the water situation. Jackson will surely resist any study program, and the bill must be satisfactory to him if it is to proceed. Also, a “hush-hush dialogue” is going on between Jackson and House members Aspinall, Johnson, & Udall.

26 Jun, Sentinel says action delayed until after 4 July due to the on-going “tiff” between Jackson and Aspinall. Jackson had sent over some written suggestions and Aspinall did not reply, so Jackson thought Aspinall was “stalling”. Jackson has appointed members for a conference on the National Water Commission, but Aspinall said his top priority was the Basin bill. The Arizona delegation is upset at the situation. Meanwhile, California is saying that Colorado is taking a hard line on the contested study. It seems now that the full feasibility study will be dropped, while Jackson has accepted making the Mexican obligation a national one. Jackson also wants to keep Reclamation out of the study arena and to assure area-of-origin control over water import.

2 Jul, Tribune says Sec Udall is still optimistic that differences will be resolved “soon”.

14 Jul, Sentinel reports a “series of behind-the-scenes” meetings have resolved most differences, even though Aspinall & Jackson remain publicly in disagreement. Jackson will accept the Mexican provision, while Aspinall will drop the feasibility study, so the problem is to get acceptable language that will permit each chairman to name conferees with all issues settled.

15 Jul, Sentinel reports Jackson’s announcement he will appoint conferees, though the Northwest cannot accept either a reconnaissance or a feasibility study in the bill. The National Commission should handle this matter.

16 Jul, Senator Anderson announces he is one of the conferees.

16 Jul, Sentinel reports Aspinall’s worries over funding for any water projects.

16 Jul, Republic lists Senate conferees, with Jackson firm in opposing any study. However, Arizonans are jubilant.

16 Jul, Sentinel recorded the Senate conferees: Jackson, Anderson, Church of Idaho, Gruening of Alaska, Hayden, Kuchel, Allott, Jordan of Idaho; 5 Democrats, 3 Republicans. Aspinall stalled some more, saying he had to consult Saylor, and blaming the Senate for any delay. Although Jackson & Aspinall publicly disagree, all differences seem to have been settled.

18 Jul, Republic and Sentinel, reported the House conferees named by Aspinall: Johnson & Udall of course and Edmondson, plus Republicans Saylor, Hosmer and Burton. The conferees were also set on the National Water Commission bill, passed early in 1967 and held hostage til now. Reps Udall and Rhodes have done much liaison between Jackson and Aspinall in the last few weeks.

19 Jul,Tribune & Republic headline “okay of National Water Commission Act”, including Jackson saying the conference on the Basin bill would be July 23. The disagreements in the NWC bill were markers to hold up the bill until it could be considered with the Basin bill. It took less than an hour (15 minutes) to get approval. One senator noted the harmony with which Jackson and Aspinall worked.

21 Jul, Sentinel opines that nobody is really interested in the NWC; it was always part of Jackson’s strategy, and Aspinall has already dismissed it. The article speculated about what will be in the CAP bill, especially around the “augmentation” idea.
Senator Anderson’s newsletter of 23 Jul was more positive about the NWC, noting previous legislation he had sponsored on water that had had positive results.

23 Jul, Republic interviews Cong Udall about upcoming conference, which he sees as having a large number of items in disagreement: “Everybody is going in cold.”

24 Jul, Tribune on two-hour opening of conference. They agreed to make no public statements until work was complete. Meeting on next day.

25 Jul, Tribune reported shortened session of preliminary nature.

26 Jul, Republic said third meeting got past speeches and ready for specifics. Meeting on next day.

27 Jul, Republic says fourth session indicated growing agreement, but still need next week.
[It had been two months since the “fateful” lunch between Jackson & Aspinall.]

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