« PreviousContinue »
No one can find objection to the broad and undoubtedly highminded objectives in a general way of the Tennessee Valley Authority. It is a magnificent conception. I of course have not had the long experience of the T. V. A. officials in social planning, and the creation and use of recreational and health facilities. When it comes to propagation of wildlife I do not know what wildlife they have in mind to create to offset that which they will destroy. This statement possibly requires the explanation that the daily paper, News-Democrat, of Paducah, Ky., a paper foremost in its endorsement of the T. V. A. program in general and the Gilbertsville Dam in particular, carried-in its issue of July 25, 1936—a news item headlined Mussels May be Ruined by Dams-Destruction of Valuable Beds by T. V. A. Projects Seen. Much information about the beds of fresh-water mussels in the Tennessee River no doubt reposes in the files of the United States Bureau of Fisheries, files I have never had an opportunity to consult.
Mr. MosiER. Mr. Wright, I might say that recently I stood at the Norris Dam and there were present a group of boys from a neighboring C. C. C. camp and thinking that they knew about the locality I asked them whether there was anything down there to shoot and they said nothing but squirrels. I agreed with them after I saw the T. V. A. set-up
Mr. WRIGHT. Yes, sir. And if time permitted I might venture to discuss the adverse factors of lakes created in rivers from the standpoint of affording first-class recreational facilities. But I did not come here to discuss a number of subjects. I came here to explain about river navigation on the Tennessee River. The T. V. A., as presently organized, has authority to consult with, and seek the advice, of the Army engineers. Every time it has sought this advice it has been saved from mistakes that I perhaps should not take up time here to relate. But I have arrived at the earnest conclusion that there should be no extension of the Authority or regional method of dealing with navigable rivers other than the Tennesse prior to the day, not yet arrived, when the Tennessee Valley Authority has given a better demonstration than to date of its ability to provide firstclass navigation facilities upon the streams generally of the United States.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, for your time.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you, Mr. Wright.
(After a short discussion as to procedure, the committee continued as follows:)
Mr. COLDEN. Mr. Chairman, I suggest that you ask the general what his wishes are.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. What are your wishes in regard to the matter, General.
Maj. Gen. J. L. SCHLEY. I can be here tomorrow morning, Judge, at 10:30.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well then. I suppose it will be satisfactory for us to wait until tomorrow. We will adjourn until 10:30 o`clock tomorrow morning.
(Thereupon, at 11:58 p. m., the committee adjourned to meet the following morning, Thursday, December 16, 1937, at 10:30 a, m.)
REGIONAL CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF
THE NATIONAL RESOURCES
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 1937
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 1:30 a. m., Hon. Joseph J. Mansfield (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. General Schley, if you are ready to proceed, we shall be glad to hear you at this time.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. J. L. SCHLEY, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
UNITED STATES ARMY
General SCHLEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen Circular No. 354 of the Bureau of the Budget, dated November 15, 1937, requires that,
Before any person in his official capacity, as an officer or employee of any executive department, independent establishment, or other Government agency (including the municipal government of the District of Columbia and Government-owned or Government-controlled corporations) shall orally advocate or oppose legislation (other than private relief legislation) before any committee of the Congress, he shall, if time permits, ascertain the relationship, upon the advice of the Bureau of the Budget, of such legislation to the program of the President, and his testimony before the committee shall include a statement of the advice so received.
The advice received reads as follows, addressed to the Secretary of War:
BUREAU OF THE BUDGET,
Washington, December 6, 1937. The honorable the SECRETARY OF WAR
(Through Budget Officer, War Department): MY DEAR MR. SECRETARY: I have the letter of November 30, 1937, from the Chief of Engineers, requesting advice from this oflice as to the relationship of the provisions contained in H. R. 7365, a bill to provide for the regional conservation of the national resources and for other purposes, to the program of the President.
In reply, you are advised that the general purposes of H. R. 7365 are not in conflict with the President's program, but that this advice should not be construed as involving a commitment with respect to the relationship to the President's program of each and every one of the various provisions of the bill. Very truly yours,
D. W. BELL, Acting Director. With the committee's permission, I would like to present a brief statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Please proceed. General Schley. In governmental or business affairs of great magnitude, planning is essential to wise development and efficient manage
ment. In a form of government such as ours, however, planning is necessarily restricted to the extent to which the prescription of general policies has been delegated by the Congress.
In a country as extensive as the United States, embracing such a variety of topography and diversity of needs, complete integration of planning by a central agency is difficult. To deal with this problem, the engineer department is organized into districts which are effective regional planning agencies for definite watersheds. Correlating the efforts of these regional agencies are larger territorial agencies, known as divisions, which integrate the plans of the districts where these plans have geographical unity. Over all, is the coordinating authority of the Chief of Engineers, which standardizes the efforts of the subordinate planning and correlating agencies.
Generally speaking, there are but two kinds of planning: (1) Technical or departmental. This includes the test of economic justification. (2) Fiscal or budgetary. This deals with the years within which or the rate at which plans can be or should be prosecuted. It seems to me to be important that the two kinds of planning be not confused.
The Government being divided functionally into departments, presumably these departments contain technical personnel capable of planning as well as of execution. In point of fact, many of the ablest specialists in the several branches of endeavor are to be found in the appropriate departments of our Government.
Concerning budgetary planning, a Bureau of the Budget, properly organized and efficiently manned, can be depended on to break down the total planned expenditures into component items for each activity of the Government (and for each region of the country, if necessary), in a manner to conform to the policies of the Executive, extending as many years into the future as is wise or practicable.
Organization into subdivisions or departments can never be so done as to obviate the necessity of cooperation among the subdivisions. 'The activities of the several departments, no matter how perfectly formed, necessarily come in contact at many points, and indeed sometimes overlap. A certain amount of overlapping results from the effort to avoid omissions. It follows that efficiency of the organization as a whole requires cooperation in the field as well as in the headquarters of departments wherever their activities are closely related. This applies to planning as well as to execution.
With these few general observations of an introductory nature, more or less axiomatic, I shall, with the permission of the committee, give a brief description of the procedure of the Corps of Engineers of the Army in its civil activities, and particularly in planning for the development of our water resources within drainage basins, since by so doing I can probably be of the greatest assistance to this committee in reaching a conclusion on the subject before you.
Since the early days of our Government, the Congress has called upon the Corps of Engineers for plans for such great public works as were deemed at the time to be of paramount national importance. Under the direction of Congress, and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by it, the corps planned and built our early ocean and lake harbors, improved our inland rivers, planned many of our early canals and railroads-particularly the transcontinental rail
roads-built lighthouses, explored the Great Plains region, and made the first comprehensive survey west of the one-hundredth meridian. Later, as Congress has directed, it has planned and developed the great ocean harbors of the country, the present harbors and connecting channels on the Great Lakes, and the far-reaching system of inland waterways for barge transportation in the Central Valley and the coastal waterways along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It has inventoried the navigation, water-power, irrigation, and floodcontrol possibilities in practically every river in the United States.
A good example of its drainage basin planning is found in House Document No. 328, Seventy-first Congress, second session, on the development of the Tennessee River. The corps planned the power developments now under construction on the Columbia River and other structures on that river which have not yet been authorized. It planned and built the Panama Canal. During this long period of 110 years of service to the whole country, under the direction of Congress, the Corps of Engineers has acquired collectively and individually an intimate knowledge of the water resources of the entire United States.
Though this committee is familiar with the thorough and careful procedure of the Army Engineers in the adoption of river and harbor improvements, a brief description of it may not be out of place at this point.
In the first place, a project is not initiated by the Government, but by the local people interested—shippers, transportation operators, merchants, officials of the local governments. Through their representatives in Congress, the insertion in a river and harbor bill is secured of an authorization for a preliminary examination and survey. When the bill becomes law, the investigation is assigned by they Chief of Engineers to the appropriate district engineer. He makes the preliminary examination and report from data available, after hearing local government officials and after conducting a public hearing on the subject, at which local interests are invited to express their views. The report is then forwarded to the division engineer who, after review, forwards it to the Chief of Engineers with his recommendation. It is then referred to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors for review. The Board either finds no justification for further study, or finds sufficient merit to warrant preparation of a definite plan before final decision. You will recall that the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors is a creation of Congress in 1902 for this purpose.
With these reports before him, the Chief of Engineers takes action to transmit the matter to Congress, through the Secretary of War, with an unfavorable recommendation, or to send it back to the district engineer for a thorough survey and the preparation of a plan. The report based on the accurate survey and the definite plan then follows the same course taken by the preliminary examination. It must run the gauntlet of the district engineer, the division engineer, the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and the Chief of Engineers. All these reports contain a plan with a presentation of economic justification as well as an engineering analysis. At the time in this procedure when the report is before the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, local interests are
afforded hearings by the Board. When the recommended project is included in a river and harbor bill by Congress, it is considered by the appropriate committees of the House of Representatives and of the Senate, where local interests may again appear to present their arguments on the project before final action by the committees.
It is evident that this procedure develops plans, weeds out unworthy projects, and places meritorious projects in line for adoption by Congress. When adopted by both Houses of Congress and approved by. the President, it becomes a project authorized by law and is executed by the Army engineers in accordance with the prescribed plan if and when funds are made available.
Considerable latitude in the development of the waterways is given to the Army engineers by Congress by leaving to them the selection of the projects from the approved list to be constructed within a total appropriated sum.
I shall interpose here a brief statement of the composition of the United States Engineer Department. At the present time there are about 250 Engineer officers engaged in civil works. The district and division engineers are selected from the higher grades of the officer personnel, while the younger officers are assigned as assistants or on special work. With these are some 2,300 able civilian engineers, who furnish the permanent technical staff of the districts and divisions. In addition, there are about 8,000 inspectors, surveyors, and technical men of other classifications. These comprise the personnel of the Army engineer organization.
The organization is a decentralized one, consisting of the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington and 11 Engineer divisions, which are in turn subdivided into 46 Engineer districts. The divisions and the districts have territorial jurisdiction and supervision over waterway improvements in the continental United States and in the Territories. They function as closely knit but self-contained administrative units, all responsible successively to a single administrative authority. The individual districts are generally located so as to embrace complete watersheds, and limited in size so that excessive overhead may be avoided and the maximum efficiency may be obtained. This system retains control over the planning and the improvement of our waterways in a permanent organization of one of the regular executive departments, headed by a Cabinet officer, and in the River and Harbor Committee and the Flood Control Committee of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce of the Senate.
The War Department has studies and reports setting up plans for many hundreds of projects with an estimated construction cost which runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. The plans formulated in these reports include improvements for navigation, flood control, irrigation, and the development of hydroelectric power. The prime power which could be developed by them sums up to several million kilowatts. Many of these projects have estimated benefits substantially greater than the estimated costs. In some instances improvements initiated by local interests might well be carried to completion by the United States.
In many cases, the question must be answered whether the Federal Government should finance them in whole, in part, or not at all. If it is desirable at any time for the United States to enlarge its pro