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visability of substituting two low dams with locks for one high dam at Crow Creek Island, recommended in said report. Such engineers have made the investigation and reported in House Document No. 1, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session, setting forth cost of construction of one dam and flowage damages resulting from it, and also the cost of construction of two low dams and the flowage damages resulting therefrom, as follows:
From this statement it will be seen that the cost of construction of two dams will be $160,000 more than one high dam, and that the flowage damages resulting from one low dam will be $558,000 less than one high dam, making a total difference in construction and flowage damages of $398.000 in favor of the two low dams.
In said report, the district engineer and the division engineer recommend the plan of two low dams. But, very much to my surprise, they recommend that the State, counties, municipalities, or local interests assume the cost of settling the item of $22,000 for flowage damages. They do not give any reason why this should be done. I do not know whether there is any precedent for it or not, but even if there is, that does not make it right or practicable. The flowage damage is the immediate result of the improvement which the Government proposes to make in aid of navigation. The improvement can not be made without overflowing certain lands. This item is a part of the cost of the improvement, just as much as the dams and locks. What local interest could be looked to to pay this item of damages? While the people along the river at this point are anxious to see the river made navigable and be given better freight rates and transportation facilities, they are not the only ones who will be benefited by the improvement. All the interests along the river from Knoxville, Tenn., to Paducah, Ky., are interested in this particular improvement at Crow Creek, because if the river is not made navigable at that point, it affects the navigation of the entire river.
If we should go to the people along that part of the river and ask them to contribute this $22,000 flowage damages, they would say we should go to Chattanooga for it. And, if we should go to Chattanooga, they would say we ought to go to Knoxville, Florence, Paducah, and other places up and down the river. It would be not only very unusual, but impossible to raise this fund. If Congress should put this burden on the localities, it would be the means of delaying and obstructing this all-important development. I believe and sincerely hope that the committee will not indorse this recom
TENNESSEE RIVER BETWEEN CHATTANOOGA AND BROWNS ISLAND. 5
mendation of the engineer. I take for granted that this committee will recommend the two low dams for the reason, if no other, that the difference in cost of construction and flowage damages amounts to $398,000. As appears from the report, the flowage damages by reason of one high dam amounts to $572,000.
I know from my own personal knowledge that thousands of acres of the most fertile and productive agricultural lands in my district along the river above this point would be overflowed by the construction of one high dam. Scores of my constituents in that locality have said to me that this damage would be by far greater than the advantages accruing from making the river navigable by reason of the construction of the one high dam. Independent of the great cost of the Government of flowage damages by the construction of one dam, Congress could not afford to destroy the many homes and valuable plantations, resulting from one high dam. Our people would do everything in their power to prevent such a great and irreparable damage. But I do not think there would be any serious objection to the flowage damage, resulting from the construction of two low dams.
The CHAIRMAN. It does not enhance the value of the land?
Mr. ALMON. No; except the advantages that would naturally accrue by reason of making the river navigable, and that would not apply alone to that locality.
The CHAIRMAN. What do you think of the power? It would develop about 7,000 hoursepower.
Mr. ALMON. I notice the Board of Engineers in their report recommend two low dams, unless cooperation is offered there that would offset the increase in original cost of the high dam, or unless Congress should decide that this increase is warranted in order to preserve the possibility of water-power development at that point. I do not think it at all probable that there would be any cooperation of private capital with the Government in the construction of one high dam at that point for the purpose of securing water power. There is a large amount of water power already developed about 50 miles above this point, at Hales Bar, more than there is a market for at this time, as I am advised.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming that they would not cooperate, what have you to say about the policy of the Government's going ahead and preserving the water power, although it may not develop it?
Mr. ALMON. That would be all right, if Congress was willing to pay this additional cost of $398,000, and if it was not for the destruction of such a large area of valuable agricultural lands. I would be opposed to the one high dam, even if Congress were willing to pay for it, on account of the flowage damages, which I have heretofore referred to at length.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the 7,000 horsepower worth?
Mr. ALMON. I am not prepared to answer that at this time. Mr. HULBERT. Is not the improvement of the river an advantage in giving markets, and thus making the land more valuable?
Mr. ALMON. It is, but I can not conceive of any reason why that particular locality should be looked upon to pay the flowage damages any more than it should pay the cost of construction of the dams.
Mr. TREADWAY. But, in your opinion, being on the ground and representing that district, do you think the damage done to this valuable land, resulting from the construction of one high dam, could not be offset by the increased value of the land-resulting from the river being made navigable?
Mr. ALMON. No; I do not, as I have heretofore stated. Thousands of acres of the most valuable and fertile lands along the river in Jackson County would be destroyed.
Mr. TREADWAY. The decrease in the annual production would amount to more than the water power.
Mr. ALMON. Yes; unquestionably.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you think we ought to adopt the two low dams?
Mr. ALMON. I do.
Mr. EDWARDS. You think it ought to be adopted without flowage damages being paid by the citizens in that locality?
Mr. ALMON. I certainly do.
Mr. SMALL. How far is this dam from the Tennessee line?
Mr. ALMON. About 30 miles, I would judge. It is at a place known as Bellefonte, in Jackson County, Ala.
Mr. SMALL. The Crow Creek Dam is about 30 miles from the Tennessee line?
Mr. ALMON. Yes.
Mr. LIEB. Some of the men appearing before the committee and defending this high dam stated that there were valuable mineral deposits that could be worked if they were able to obtain power which this dam would develop.
Mr. ALMON. That, no doubt, is true.
The CHAIRMAN. We are very glad to have heard you.
Mr. ALMON. I sincerely hope that the committee will make provision for all the appropriations recommended by the engineers along all parts of the Tennessee River and not allow anything to interfere with the completion of the works proposed and under way, in order to open up to navigation one of the greatest rivers in the Nation.
The CHAIRMAN. We would be inclined to follow the engineers' recommendation for opening the channel of the lower part.
Mr. ALMON. That, of course, is important, but the work on other parts of the river is equally important.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the distance between Florence and Riverton?
Mr. ALMON. About 25 or 30 miles.
The CHAIRMAN. Which is lower down?
Mr. ALMON. Riverton.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank you.
(Thereupon, at 1.45 p. m., the committee took a recess until 10.30 a. m. Tuesday, February 15, 1916.)
H. R. 16893, TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF HARBORS, RIVERS,