« ForrigeFortsett »
per acre per annum, or $3,360 per annum on a farm of 160 acres, or $6,720 per annum on a farm of 320 acres. The differential doubtless means the vital difference between getting water under reclamation law, or not getting it.
Reclamation law draws on the support of Federal taxpayers and electrical power consumers in the vicinity of reclamation projects to help landowners get water.
This is appropriate, and has a long record of congressional and public approval.
However, its generous magnitude and the varied and neighborly sources of financial aid to private landowners are not matters to be overlooked when the latter seek to convey an impression of injury because the law stipulates what benefits are excessive.
As an example of the benefits of reclamation law to irrigators, six Congressmen have pointed out that in Central Valley project the capital investment to water an acre averages $350 an acre.
The Federal Government provides a direct subsidy of interest-free money equal in value to $350 an acre, and power revenues provide $227 per acre, or a total subsidy of $577 an acre. The water user, i. e., the private landowner, is asked to repay only $123 per acre to the Federal Government (letter from Congressman Clair Engle, et al. to California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown, February 4, 1957, op. cit.).
Viewed another way, municipal and industrial water users are allocated 3 percent of reimbursable costs of Central Valley project as necessary to provide their facilities, and are expected to repay 10 percent.
Power users are allocated 33 percent and repay 72 percent. Irrigators—i. e. private landowners have been allocated 63 percent and pay back only 17 percent (38 Calif. L. Rev. 728, 730–32; H. Doc. 146, 80th Cong., 1st sess. p. 238).
To weaken or remove the excess lands provision as proposed in such bills as S. 2541, S. 3448, S. 1887–Senator Knowland's San Luis project bill-in response to the wishes of a few among private landowners, is to confer upon them power to dictate the terms on which Congress invites and requires municipal and industrial water users, electric power users and Federal taxpayers, to join in contributing financial aid to bringing water to them.
In my opinion these groups, viz., municipal and industrial water users, electric power users and Federal taxpayers, are willing to aid private landowners generously, but I believe Congress should establish policy and set the terms, and that we should not, under pressure, weaken or abandon a conception of national interest that favors widespread land ownership.
Congress, whenever faced squarely with the question of principleShould the excess land provision to distribute water and benefits widely be abandoned ?-has decided in virtually every instance to adhere to national policy.
Senator Anderson. May I ask you there with respect to S. 1887?
Mr. TAYLOR. Our objections to that bill are rather numerous and detailed, and I can supply them to the Senator if he wishes.
Senator ANDERSON. As to excess lands?
Senator ANDERSON. That is my difficulty. I just signed a letter here transmitting a revised version of it to people who are generally concerned with it, and I am greatly mistaken—it had in it the same excess land provision that is all over the rest of the United States.
Mr. Taylor. No, sir. I deeply regret to say that I believe that is not so.
Senator ANDERSON. One or the other is wrong and we will find out shortly which one is.
Mr. TAYLOR. I have examined that bill with considerable care and if the Senator wishes, I would be glad, after my return to California, to pinpoint my objections to it with respect to the destruction of the excess-land law.
Senator ANDERSON. Please do it on what the subcommittee had worked over and what Senator Knowland introduced originally.
Mr. TAYLOR. I do not have the bill as it came through the subcommittee.
Senator ANDERSON. I understand. I will see that you do have it.
I had available only the bill as it was submitted by Senator Knowland.
Senator ANDERSON. I am trying to show you the refining process of the Committee on Reclamation and Irrigation works to the advantage of the people of California.
Mr. TAYLOR. That is very fine, Senator; we appreciate anything you do to maintain the excess-land provision in California or anywhere else.
Senator ANDERSON. We not only went through it carefully, but I directed that the Southern Pacific Railroad be asked whether they would observe the 180-acre limitation because I would not have been burning with enthusiasm to report the bill if the Southern Pacific was going to have 150,000 acres of land in the district and not subject to the 160-acre limitation.
I am not trying to express any threats as to what I would do or would not do with the bill, as far as I was personally concerned, but I would not have been wildly enthusiastic about the bill. I have grave doubts that it would have ever seen the light of day if we were just going to say that much land of the Southern Pacific and that much land of my good friend Jack O'Neil would not be subject. I think they should be subject and I said so.
I thought we worked toward that effect.
I just want to reassure you that you need not always fear that the language of a bill as it is introduced is necessarily the language of the bill as it emerges. I believe that the tentative-I only say this on belief, but I am reasonably sure—that the tentative sort of committee print that we are sending out for examination and comments would make every acre of the land of the San Luis project in California subject to the 160-acre limitation.
Mr. TAYLOR. I am very happy to hear that. I am sure there are a great many people in California who will welcome what you have done.
Senator ANDERSON. You take that statement of mine subject to revision because I might have made a mistake in what we were sending out, but I believe that will be the situation. We will have a copy for you shortly.
Mr. Taylor. I shall appreciate that.
Senator ANDERSON. This is the committee print which I would be glad to give you along with a copy of the original bill. This is not to be regarded as any final action on the part of the subcommittee.
The chairman of the subcommittee just sends this out by himself for somebody to look at. It is done with the full approval of the authors. It says:
In constructing, operating, and maintaining the San Luis unit, the Secretary shall be governed by the Federal reclamation law except so far as the provisions therein are inconsistent with this Act.
I do not believe there is any other provision in the act that would destroy the 160-acre limitation.
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator, I hope that proves to be true. The language that you have just read was in Senator Knowland's original draft, but the changes in the law that were made thereafter were, I believe, quite numerous.
Senator ANDERSON. You really have me confused. What changes?
Mr. Taylor. Senator, I do not have my memorandum with me, but I have gone over that with considerable care, and I would be very happy to supply you with a list of the changes which are injurious in the original bill. I cannot say whether they remain in the committee print.
Senator ANDERSON. What changes are you talking about? Changes that were proposed by the witnesses who came in?
Mr. TAYLOR. No, sir.
In the first place, Senator, I do not see the merit of governing the project by the Federal reclamation laws with any exception at all. That statement that there may be exceptions in this act implies at least that there are.
Senator ANDERSON. Is it your belief that the only thing the Secretary has to do in constructing, operating and maintaining the San Luis unit is watch the 160-acre limitation? He has a host of other things to do. All those things are governed by the reclamation law except as this act may provide, and this act provides that in case they come in with the State of California, in a partnership deal, the Government would build a dam so high and the State of California build it higher, then he has a different procedure than the orderly reclamation law.
You do not dispute that, do you, seriously?
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator, you are now touching exactly the points that I had in mind.
In the partnership deal, in my opinion, the law should not allow for exceptions to the law because the State of California happens to be a partner in the use of the reservoir.
Senator ANDERSON. Can we not keep it to the 160-acre limitation ? Is there anything that changes the 160-acre limitation whatever by the language of this bill?
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator, I have written a memorandum on that subject which I do not have with me here. I think you will find in the committee files a statement which will detail the chapter and verse and section of the original bill.
I conferred with friends of mine in the California State Federation of Labor at their request, and they have submitted to your committee the statement which I think will answer your question pretty fully, chapter and verse. I am quite sure it is in the files of the committee. If it is not, I will be very happy to get a copy, if I can, from my friends in the California State Federation.
Senator ANDERSON. To whom did you send it? I did not see it.
Mr. TAYLOR. I did not send it. I am speaking of the California State Federation of Labor, which conferred with me in the framing of the statement. Their objections were very serious, sir, and I hope the committee will consider those.
Senator ANDERSON. Dealing with the 160-acre limitation?
Their statement, Senator, was that they supported the bill, but only strictly in conformance with the reclamation law.
Senator ANDERSON. What did they say was in the bill that struck down the 160-acre limitation?
Did you write them a memorandum that gave them basis for saying that!
Mr. TAYLOR. I certainly did.
Senator ANDERSON. Then you ought to be able to remember it. What was it about?
Mr. TAYLOR. They said it in their own language. Senator ANDERSON. If there is a memorandum, we will get that.
Mr. TAYLOR. I think that can be documented. I regret that I do not read the bill faster. It is rather long.
Senator ANDERSON. I am sorry. I am not asking you to. If I said that a bill struck down the 160-acre limitation, I think that would have made such an impression on me that I would have remembered what it was that struck it down. I do not know what it is that strikes it down.
Mr. TAYLOR. Senator, I think that memorandum will supply it. I personally, when I get home, will see that you get it. Senator ANDERSON. If we have it, we have it.
(The statement of the California State Federation of Labor referred to is printed in the appendix of the record.)
Mr. TAYLOR. I only regret that I do not carry too many details in my head, Senator. That is the difficulty.
Senator ANDERSON. Let me ask you this: When you return home, will you examine the committee print of which you now have a copy, and tell us in your own language whether or not the change in the language of the bill relieves you of any of your worrying of the striking of the 160-acre limitation?
I want to assure you it was not my pattern or design to try to destroy it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Senator, I appreciate your assurance. I will endeavor to answer your question to your satisfaction.
Senator ANDERSON. By lines in the bill and not by some feeling that somebody else may at some later time do something else?
Mr. Taylor. The objections will be detailed by page references and sections to the bill, with explanations of what is the matter with it.
Senator ANDERSON. You understand that a person who is not a lawyer, and I am not a lawyer, has a great deal of difficulty following all these things. I try my best to find what is in it that strikes down the limitation. I cannot find it.
If there is a loophole that is not advisable and has not been advisable to any members of the staff, we would like to have it pointed out.
I can assure you, in addition to that, not only would we like to have it pointed out but I would like to help make it effective so that it is completely applicable to this project.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Senator. That is an excellent statement and I shall do my part to bring to your attention anything that may be contrary to your expressed purpose. Senator ANDERSON. Thank
you. Mr. TAYLOR. Since 1902, Congress has reaffirmed reclamation law—including the excess land provision-in 1906, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1914, 1916, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1943, 1944, 1945—Bureau of Reclamation, landownership survey of Federal reclamation projects, 1946, page 62.
Technological change has not invalidated the reasons for supporting the family-size farm or the principle of equitable distribution of water and other benefits from public expenditures.
Some persons operate efficient farms of 40,000 irrigated acres or more. The fact that they do so, using more and more large machinery and less and less wage labor, is no argument that Congress ought to invoke help to assist them in doing so from taxpayers, municipal and industrial water users, and frequently consumers of electric power. Nor does this fact prove that so much of land and water is necessary to support a family properly.
The average number of acres per irrigated farm in 1954 was as follows: California, 84; Colorado, 97; Montana, 144; Nevada, 226; Texas, 179; Wyoming, 177.
None of these averages even begin to approach the 320 acres permitted to man and wife by current administrative interpretation, and only 2 of them exceed 160 acres.
Some of the known opposition to the excess land provision comes from these two States, but perhaps most of it comes frame a State where, at a time of special effort to remove the excess land law entirely, a leading chamber of commerce was distributing pamphlets inviting purchase of farms “to derive the total income necessary to support a home and family from the production of a single crop,” recommending as "economic units” the following: figs, 60 to 80 acres; peaches, 30 to 70; oranges, 20 to 30; apricots, 30 to 40; cotton, 120 to 160; alfalfa, 80 to 120; grapes and raisins, 30 to 60; grain and flax, 320 acres—Hearings on Senate bill 912, page 152.
In a recent review of legislation Congress decided that in a northern area, viz, Columbia Basin, the maximum for a family should be water for 320 acres, and for a corporation, 160—(71 Stat. 590).