Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Senator BARRETT. As a matter of fact, we have about a 90-day growing season, is that right?

Mr. LANG. Approximately that.

Senator BARRETT. The crops that will be raised on a project such as the Seedskadee are really not in competition with the crops that are grown on the agricultural land of the great Middle West?

Mr. Lang. That is true. It is also true generally for the crops of Wyoming as a whole. We have not been a State that has been producing the major sources of surplus.

Senator BARRETT. In other words, you could not grow sugar beets in that area?

Mr. LANG. It is possible to grow sugar beets in the Seedskadee. Senator BARRETT. On a 90-day season?

Mr. Lang. It is not the most beneficial thing to do or most productive thing to do, but it is possible to do it.

Senator BARRETT. I understood that area was more adaptable to alfalfa and oats and crops of that type.

Mr. LANG. That is right, the more hurdier types of crops.

Senator BARRETT. We have in that immediate area a rather thriving livestock industry that would work in very well with crops of that nature, is that not right?

Mr. Lang. That is correct.

Senator BARRETT. Mr. Lang, the upper Colorado River States are obligated under the compact of 1922 to deliver 75 million acre-feet of water to the lower basin States over a 10-year period. Does the natural resources board or the people of Wyoming generally take the position that storage projects ought to be built in our States and in the other upper States so that we can comply with the requirements of that compact ?

Mr. LANG. Absolutely.

Senator BARRETT. One of our great needs, then, is to build storage projects where we can hold the water and deliver over a 10-year period to the lower basin States!

Mr. LANG. Yes.

Senator BARRETT. Tell me about the soil conditions, generally speaking, of the Seedskadee. Are they quite favorable compared to other projects in the Upper Colorado River Basin ?

Mr. Lang. I have been told that the soil conditions in the Seedskadee project, as far as the participating projects are concerned, are some of the best to be found in the Upper Colorado Basin.

Senator BARRETT. Tell me for the record, Mr. Lang, the history of other projects that have been heretofore constructed in Wyoming. What has been found out with reference, we will say, to the Kendrick project near Casper, Wyo.?

Mr. LANG. I would prefer, if I may, to switch that over to the Eden project.

Senator BARRETT. All right, tell us about the Eden project.

Mr. Lang. The reason I do that is because its proximity to this project is much closer and I think it is comparable to this project. There a project has been developed, I believe, under the 160-acre limitation, and as you spoke of this morning, there is apt to be resettlement and relocation in the project because of these various problems of altitude and length of the growing zone.

[ocr errors]

Senator BARRETT. It has been necessary on the Eden project to enlarge the acreage limitations for each settler?

Mr.LANG. Yes, to get a farm unit.

Senator BARRETT. Tell me, generally, on the older projects in Wyoming—by the way, one of the first projects in the whole history of reclamation was built in our State at Cody in the early days—the older projects have been suitable for the development of family-size farms under the 160-acre limitation. Tell me about the remaining projects in our State, those that are in the high altitude such as the Seedskadee and the Eden and those of the Big Horn Basin.

Are there any there than can be developed under the limitation of the 160-acre act?

Mr. Lang. I would say particularly in the Green River area, with the altitude and climatic conditions, that cannot be done. I would refer specifically, I think, to Dr. Vass, who will testify shortly as to the exact nature as to why it cannot be done.

Senator BARRETT. Do you not know as a matter of fact that it has not been able to be worked out?

Mr. Lang. That is right.

Also, as I indicated in my testimony, it has been borne out by comprehensive studies that cannot be done.

Senator BARRETT. Has it not been reported by those who have studied the situation in the Powder River Basin that you must have larger acreages to support a family in that area?

Mr. LANG. That is right.

Senator BARRETT. Mr. Lineweaver calls my attention to the fact that it was necessary to do the same thing for the Owl Creek project.

Mr. LANG. That is right.

Senator BARRETT. The upshot is that if we are going to have any more reclamation projects in Wyoming, it will be necessary to enlarge the acreage limitation.

Mr. LANG. Absolutely. I think right here the future of reclamation, at least in Wyoming, is at stake. If we are going to progress with reclamation in the State of Wyoming, we are going to have to consider larger units.

Senator BARRETT. Tell me the board's position on the provision for State participation under the provisions of the bill.

Mr. LANG. I believe the board's position would be that the State, acting through the Governor and the natural resources board, would welcome the opportunity to work with the Department of Interior, and particularly with the Secretary, in carrying out the provisions of that act.

Senator BARRETT. Do you have anything more to say, Mr. Lang?
Mr. LANG. I do not believe so.
Senator BARRETT. Thank you very much. .

Senator ANDERSON. Gov. Milward Simpson, of Wyoming, is well known to many of us and a man we enjoy having here as a witness has sent us a letter dated April 29, 1958, in which he requests the insertion of a statement in the record at this point. We will place here the statement to Gov. Milward Simpson, of Wyoming.

(The statement referred to is as follows:)

STATEMENT OF Hon. MILWARD L. SIMPSON, GOVERNOR OF WYOMING Chairman Anderson and members of the subcommittee, it is my understanding that the purpose of these hearings is to consider the general questions involved in proposals to amend the land limitation provisions of the Federal reclamation laws, specifically as contained in pending bills :

S. 1425 : To amend the Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956 to provide that projects contracted for under such act shall be subject to certain excess land requirements of the Federal reclamation laws. I know there is unanimity among those of us in favor of reclamation in recognizing this bill as contrary to the best interests of the small projects program here in the West

S. 2541: To permit the Secretary of the Interior to fix the size of farm units on Federal reclamation projects at more than 160 irrigable acres in certain circumstances.

S. 3448: To permit the Secretary of the Interior to fix the size of farm units on the Seedskadee reclamation project at more than 160 irrigable acres in certain circumstances. To make the bill more comprehensive, it might be worth considering (1) including other participating projects whether in Wyoming or in the Upper Basin, and (2) making provision for disposal by the Government of acquired lands on Seedskadee and La Barge. Item 1 is fairly self-explanatory, except that I would like to caution that on projects such as Lyman, the wording of the bill should be such that water can be delivered to the increased acreage in one ownership. Without some such wording, we could end up being more restricted than at present.

I wish to present for your consideration, some of the ideas and opinions that I am sure are held by the majority of the people in Wyoming, The State of Wyoming has a big stake in Federal reclamation and some of the earliest reclamation projects are located in our State. We feel that we have had considerable experience with the reclamation program.

The future reclamation development of the State of Wyoming is closely tied into the questions involved in these different proposals to amend the land limitation provisions of the Federal reclamation laws. Wyoming must, if it is to secure the benefits to which it is entitled under the Upper Colorado River storage and participating projects, have available such a procedure as is provided in S. 3448 and S. 2541. We are particularly desirous of having S. 3448 enacted so that early construction can proceed on the Seedskadee project. It is urgently needed to supplement the Green River Basin's income and provide settlement opportunities in that area.

Lands in this project, because of their elevation, short growing season, and location adjacent to a large grazing area, would be utilized for the growing of crops that are needed in the support of livestock enterprises. The different classes of land would be intermingled in most of the farm units. A very considerable increase in the size of the average farm unit is necessary under such conditions to provide the farm family with a reasonable standard of living. This would be especially true where the farm units contained a considerable acreage of class 2 and 3 land.

Most of our Rocky Mountain States face a similar problem in their further irrigation development, and have many similar projects.

The provisions of S. 2541 which would have general application on Federal reclamation projects, would fit very well in the development of the other Colorado storage and participating projects in Wyoming. Wide and careful study has been given its provisions and it has received the approval of the National Reclamation Association and its several committees. This bill provides also a method to handle the question of excess lands where supplemental water supplies are furnished for present irrigated lands having an inadequate water supply, and for lands in private ownership which are cultivated and actively farmed for more than 10 years.

S. 1425 proposing an amendment of the Small Reclamation Projects Act of 1956 to provide that projects contracted for under such act shall be subject to the excess-land provisions of the Federal Reclamation Act would, in my opinion, in most cases render the act unusable in cases of furnishing a supplemental water supply to lands now having water shortages.

S. 2541 and S. 3448 pose the type of situation in which the Small Projects Act could render its greatest benefit in Wyoming and most of the other Western States.

I would also like to say that I agree wholeheartedly with these two bills in that they do not fix any upper limit of acreage for either irrigable lands or total within a farm unit. That principle is of transcending importance.

Senator ANDERSON. I will order to be inserted at this point of the record several statements and letters from Wyoming citizens.

(The communications are as follows:)

STATEMENT CONCERNING SEEDSKADEE PARTICIPATING UNIT, UPPER COLORADO RIVER

PROJECT, BY ADRIAN REYNOLDS, EDITOR OF GREEN RIVER STAR, GREEN RIVER, Wyo.

Seedskadee participating unit of the Upper Colorado River project is important in stabilizing the economy of an area larger than the State of Massachusetts.

Since 1869, principal support of the area has come from the railroad (Union Pacific) and from coal production. As these two have varied, so have the fortunes of southwestern Wyoming. Now, coal production is practically gone and the railroads are modernizing their equipment and operations to such an extent that employment by the Union Pacific Railroad has dwindled alarmingly. Only the gradual spread of oil and gas exploration, and the development of the trona (or soda ash) properties near Green River, Wyo., have kept such communities as Green River and Rock Springs from folding up entirely. Such towns as Winton, Dines, Stansbury, and Reliance have ceased to exist. Not even buildings stand in the first two mentioned.

Some 20 years ago a group of men formed the Green River Development Co., a basinwide development and civic organization in the upper Green River Basin. At that time, this group proposed the construction of the Seedskadee, Lyman, LaBarge, Eden Valley, and allied irrigation projects as the means of stabilizing the economy of the area. Cattle and sheep, on large-scale production, have been a part of the southwestern Wyoming economy since settlement first started. But the operations are large they are not the smaller, farm operations that give livelihood to large numbers of families.

At the time the basin company above referred to was organized, the ultimate fate of coal and rail workers was foreseen and business and professional men and the ranchers were looking to the future economy of the vast, comparatively undeveloped area.

Closing of coal mines and reduction of forces occasioned by change in rail operations had given Sweetwater County, Wyo., an unemployment roll of 715 in February of this year. Small compared to the national picture, but tragic when it is to be realized that this was approximately 65 percent of the 1934 relief workload in the county. That February figure did not include coal miners or railroad men who had already left the area, trying to find unemployment elsewhere or in other industry, at a time when jobs have been scarce in the United States as a whole.

Of course, to relieve the unemployment situation, the construction of Seedskadee unit and similar public works is more desirable than usual at this time.

However, there is another aspect. People cut off work in mines and on the railroad had to "go on the road" looking for work. There were no farms, no town jobs, to which these people could turn for livelihood. The town jobs depended upon the coal mines and the railroad. These were town dwellers—and they could not be land dwellers in this area-a condition opposite to that which I believe pertains in many coal and industrial areas where workers have farm units upon which they can live, and then go out to work during the seasons of high employment opportunity.

Back in pre-World War II days, Green River started to campaign for the Remington Arms plant, which eventually was located in Utah. But Green River was told this, in effect:

"You do not have a reservoir of labor from which we can draw, nor do you have adjacent food supply for imported workers."

This emphasized to the Green River Basin development group the need of a stabilizing factor for labor supply-farms. And made, in the minds of the membership, the need more imperative for new lands and irrigation.

Seedskadee is no new idea. Plans were first made in the 1880's to irrigate much of this land—and the modern move for the upper Green River Basin development is also a generation old.

I believe that investigation would show you that a great many coal miners, in years past, have turned to the land in the Eden Valley, which is now being expanded by the water from the new Big Sandy Reservoir.

I wish to call your attention to the fact that Big Sandy Reservoir is not a United States Bureau of Reclamation project. It is a Case-Wheeler project (the last to be built under that law) constructed by the USBR for the Soil Conservation Service. Western Wyoming never has had a reclamation project constructed and operated by the USBR. And it doesn't yet have such a project.

Seedskadee would undoubtedly aid in stabilizing the livestock industry. At the present time, sheep and cattle depend almost entirely upon the public range. Some hay is raised, and some grain. But with the lack of water up to the present time, that industry must depend upon the outside for hay and concentrates, especially in hard winters. Seedskadee will alleviate this to an important extent. Trainload after trainload of hay was shipped in during the great blizzard of 1949, along with corn and cottoncake.

I believe that the 160-acre limitation upon homestead units is based upon the rich lands of the early day. These have long since gone, and 160-acre limitation is no longer a good unit for new lands of the arid West. In western Wyoming, the rancher must produce so as to market in high-price units-livestock, dairy products, etc. A quarter section of land does not permit such an operation in this area—but on 320 acres, for instance, the farmer has the opportunity of producing sufficient feed to produce profitable livestock, and also have some pasturage on which to run sufficient stock to aid in paying out. The public domain is no longer open to the man trying to get a start, so that more than a 160acre home base is needed.

We have felt for more than a generation that we need Seedskadee and possibility other projects in the upper Green River Basin if we are to develop into a stabilized portion of our Nation.

STATEMENT OF THOMAS E. ROGERS, MAYOR, TOWN OF GREEN RIVER, Wyo. Stability of southwestern Wyoming depends upon the stability of its agriculture and of its livestock industry. The town of Green River is an example of what can happen to a town without a backbone of agriculture. Its present estimated population is 4,500 persons. A town of this size in agricultural regions would have approximately 200 business and professional firms. Green River has less than half that. A town of this size in an agricultural area would have a strong semi-weekly or daily newspaper. Green River supports only a weekly newspaper.

Our livestock industry is primarily dependent upon use of public range Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service lands. Aside from a normal growth of hay throughout the region, the Green River Basin must now ship in extra hay. Seedskadee is the type of project which would undoubtedly firm up the livestock industry and, of course, result in increased farm meat production. Now, all winter feed is shipped in.

At the present time, this area has but little raw labor supply, because we do not have farm families in any number from which to draw. Conversely, we have no farms to which people can turn in times of industrial stress. Some industrial areas have this advantage and it keeps people from drifting.

We also know that, throughout the Nation, the fine lands have long since been settled. It was upon the basis of these lands that the original 160-acre homestead law was enacted to become later the yardstick by which early irrigation projects were measured.

Western Wyoming needs Seedskadee in order to gain stability. Stability is needed for the Nation's safety. Seedskadee, because of altitude and other factors needs 320 acres per farm unit. And it has been my observation from my years of direct contact with farming and with the livestock industry in this area, that the family with only 160 acres of land has a hard time becoming successful, but that the family with a half section of land has more opportunity to succeed—that family can do something with its own livestock and can diversify operations sufficiently to make a success of a ranch unit of such size.

« ForrigeFortsett »