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I know what the river was 50 or even 60 years ago and I know the changes that have taken place from that date to this.
This might be of some interest to this subcommittee to know that farming up and down these rivers has become very hazardous. We have gotten to the point now where we can grow only one crop. That is corn. We cannot grow legumes; we cannot use fertilizer. Floods have become so frequent and have become so serious that farming has become more hazardous. I think in another generation it will be almost impossible for man to depend on making a living in farming in these river bottoms.
As I say, I am a farmer myself and I live on my farm. I have several hundred acres of land that would be flooded in case the Lower Cumberland Dam is built. I have lived there all my life and I know these people and how they feel. I know what took place in the flood on the Tennessee River and the flooding of the Tennessee River and the building of Kentucky Lake. I knew those people all of themwho had to move out of Trigg County.
Mr. Reuss. Are you and your neighbors in favor of or opposed to the building of the Cumberland River project?
Mr. WHITE. Strange to say, we are almost unanimously in favor of building it. I hardly know of anybody but who would be glad to get away from the river-bottom farms. As I say, it has become so hazardous. The roads are not as good. Scientific farming has not done anything for river-bottom farming. Scientific farming has made great changes in the upland farms, but it has not helped us in the river bottoms. We cannot plant legumes; we cannot use lime except that we only get a partial benefit from it. When we use fertilizer, one of the floods will wash it away. It will soak it up and take it away.
The farmers are almost unanimous in wanting this dam to come. Through the flooding of the Tennessee River making Kentucky Lake, we have made a survey of the hundreds of people in that territory and we cannot find a one who would be willing to go back. We cannot find a one today but who is better off than he was before, and our people are unanimously in favor of building a high dam on the Cumberland River.
Mr. Reuss. Thank you, Mr. White. Do you have any questions? (No response.) Nr. REUSS. Thank you very much. Mr. O. F. Minton, Jr. Mr. STURDEVANT. Mr. Chairman, he was unable to be here because of illness in his family. He has a prepared statement which he has requested be put in the record.
Mr. Reuss. Is there any objection to the insertion in the record of this statement? This proposed statement is dated October 29, 1955, and is signed by Mr. O. È. Minton, Jr., president of the Propeller Club of the United States, Port of Nashville, Tenn. It is addressed to the chairman, the Honorable Robert E. Jones, and the letter of transmittal asks its presentation to the subcommittee.
If there is no objection, Mr. Minton's statement will be made a part of the record at this point.
Mr. LIPSCOMB. No objection.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF 0. F. MINTON, JR., PRESIDENT, PROPELLER CLUB, PORT OF
NASHVILLE, TENN. Mr. Chairman, I am 0. F. Minton, Jr. I appear before you as president of the Propeller Club of America, port of Nashville, as chairman of the river improvement committee of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and as president of the Cumberland Storage & Warehouse Co., operator of the Nashville Municipal River Terminal.
My interests are threefold: First, to actively support the full development of our water resources to provide the maximum benefits for this and future generations; secondly, to assure that Nashville and the entire metropolitan area receive the advantages of flood protection, adequate water supply, hydroelectric power benefits, recreational opportunities, and the economic stimulus always accompanying these improvements, and, thirdly, perhaps a selfish, but probably the most pressing one, to work for the essential project development now required to sustain the growing navigational use of the Cumberland River, an important segment of America's waterways system.
As president of the Propeller Club of Nashville, I speak for some 100 members. In the capacity of a river warehouseman, I believe I speak for the hundreds of thousands of persons of this as well as other areas who directly or indirectly benefit from the economic advantages of water transportation. And in attempting to analyze the recipients of these benefits, it is extremely difficult to find any person who does not in some way share these advantages. Our industrial and domestic economy is based on steel products, a substantial portion of which is transported by water. Over 95 percent of middle Tennessee's petroleum products arrive by barge. Sugar, salt, and grain, other basic commodities, as well as molasses, feed for the dairy and beef producers, are delivered by water thereby allowing substantial transportation advantages to the consumer. Who then can determine the limits of benefits enjoyed from commercial navigation.
Speaking as one who has been directly affected by drought, by floods, by an inadequate navigation channel, by a heavily polluted stream and by the other disadvantages of an unharnessed stream, I feel qualified to evaluate the extensive benefits being realized from even the partial development of the Cumberland River Basin.
Prior to the construction of the upstream multipurpose projects by the Corps of Engineers, the Cumberland River at Nashville reached flood stage or higher on an average of once each 2 years. Since completion of 3 upstream reservoirs, only a part of the total flood control plan, flood damages of approximately $8 million have been averted in the Cumberland River Basin alone. Had one additional project been in operation, the Stewarts Ferry Dam on Stones River, the March flood of this year, which, incidentally almost reached the magnitude of the major flood of record in the upper Cumberland area, would have been controlled to below flood stage at Nashville.
Conversely, during the extreme dry season when the natural flows of the streams of the area were critically low, power discharges from the multipurpose reservoirs provided a substantial regulated flow for adequate water supply and pollution abatement. As an example of the value of this regulation, the United States Geological Survey reports that flows at Nashville during the extreme dry season this year would have been as low as 500 cubic feet per second in the unregulated stream whereas the mean regulated flow was in excess of 6,000 cubic feet per second. As is true in the case of flood control benefits, the advantages from this low flow regulation extend into the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as far as New Orleans, where the municipal water supply has been in jeopardy from salt water intrusion from the Gulf of Mexico.
In the field of water supply there have been, and continue to be, serious areas of waste. If they continue unchecked, they will impoverish us and our children. In all parts of our great Nation, however-among engineers, conservationists, farmers, householders, and the ordinary citizens—there is a growing recognition that we must conserve and develop, as well as use, our natural resources. And in conservation and development, as in use, water is the key resource. Here in the Cumberland Valley we are fortunate to have the basic resource available for the expanding industrial, domestic, agricultural, and related uses, provided they are fully developed to meet the growing needs of our economy.
Of vital importance to the groups I represent is the development of our waterways for navigational use. Transportation is essentially a service indus
try. Its vital importance to the Nation's economy and national security is property measured solely by the extent to which it serves those needs adequately and at the lowest possible cost. There are certain parts of the transportation job which waterways can perform better and cheaper than any of the other transportation forms. This does not necessarily mean, however, that waterway movements are made at the expense of other media. An analysis of waterways development will reveal that the development and growth of any segment of the inland waterways system was accompanied by a corresponding increase in business for the connecting railroads and trucklines.
The intent of Congress that the inherent advantages of each mode of transportation be recognized and preserved is clearly stated in the early declarations of policy. Both water and land transportation are vital to the maintenance and growth of the Nation's commerce and defense. Sound national transportation policy, as well as sound national water policy, require that our navigable water resources be developed and used to the fullest economical extent.
The United States has one of the most highly developed systems of air and land transportation (railroads, highways, pipelines, and airways) of any country in the world. The combination of its coastal waterways, going around more than half of its perimeter, and its waterways penetrating thousands of miles inland, is potentially the world's greatest system. However, the Federal expenditures for improved waterways, while considerable, have been proportionately less than the expenditures from all sources for other transportation facilities. Of the 28,000 miles of navigable inland waterways, more than 65 percent are insufficiently improved to have any considerable commercial value." In addition, a substantial portion of the remaining 35 percent of improved waterways are inadequate to meet even current demands without consideration to future commercial growth. The proposals for imposition of user tolls on the inland waterways system would, without question, drastically retard the further development of the antiquated navigation system and jeopardize the whole future of commercial navigation.
Here in the Cumberland River Basin, commercial navigation has had a phenomenal growth. An analysis of commerce for the past decade reflects a threefold increase notwithstanding the antiquated lock system presently in operation. It is of real significance to note that the commerce on the Cumberland River has already exceeded the ultimate forecast projected by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors and published in 1947 in House Document No. 761, 79th Congress, 2d session, as being the full potential when navigation facilities were completely modernized.
A preliminary summary of traffic on the Cumberland River for the first 6 months of the current year also shows substantial tonnage increases on shipments of high value commodities over that of previous years. New commodities and expanding quantities of those presently being transported by water will provide additional volume increases in the event improved navigation facilities are made available.
This growth during the past 10 years has continued notwithstanding the fact that navigation is extremely difficult from the mouth of the Cumberland River to the newly constructed Cheatham project. Through this section of the river, which serves as a funnel for the entire system, 5 obsolete locks and dams with 52 feet by 280 feet lock chambers restrict navigation to such an extent that operation of modern equipment is extremely hazardous and difficult. Most towing companies which are licensed to operate on the Cumberland River as common carriers have now discontinued operations pending modernization of navigation facilities. A Nashville shipbuilder has also been forced on numerous occasions to decline orders for modern floating plant equipment for use on the connecting waterways, but which are too large to be transported through the locks now in operation on the lower Cumberland River. These obsolete locks have exceeded their economic life, and are in such poor structural condition that any one of them could fail, thus effectively sealing off the entire system. Immediate replacement of the structures and modernization of the navigation channel is vital to tbis entire area if the Cumberland River is to continue to serve as a principal transportation artery.
The Army engineers estimate that with the existing navigation structures, an increase of 30 percent over present traffic will so congest the river and lockage facilities that additional traffic over this increase could not be handled.
1 A Water Policy for the American people, the Report of the President's Water Resources Policy Commission, 1950.
With the better alinement and increased depth that will be available with the construction of the lower Cumberland project which is now in a planning stage, towing speeds can be economically increased from 5 to 9 miles per hour and total lockage time reduced from 20 hours to 1 hour for an average tow moving from the mouth of the river to Nashville. The total savings in lockage and towing time will approximate 30 hours. On an estimated cost of operation of modern equipment at $70 per tow-hour this additional saving would total $2,100 for each one-way trip.
The lower Cumberland project is adequately justified on an economic basis from navigation alone; however, the additional flood control, hydroelectric power, streamflow regulation, and related benefits provide both regional and national benefits and make this project one of the most essential to be constructed in the national waterways development program.
With specific reference to the Hoover Commission's recommendations, we believe that:
(a) Water resources development is one of the most critical problems facing the Nation today. It is essential that the rate of progress in the development of our water resources be substantially increased to meet the essential multiple uses of water supply, navigation, power, and for the control of floods.
(6) That the existing organizational structures are adequate to perform the water and related water resources development program in the event adequate authority and funds are made available. The record of the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, in the development of the Cumberland River Basin as well as the nationwide activities reflects outstanding competence and efficiency. The cooperation between the Corps of Engineers, the Soil Conservation Service, the United States Forest Service, the State, county, and municipal governmental organizations also provide the essential elements for a full and well-rounded resources development program.
(c) The establishment of a Water Resources Board is unnecessary and may usurp the power of Congress.
(d) The imposition of tolls on the inland waterways is unsound, probably unconstitutional, and would jeopardize the future of commercial navigation.
Mr. JONES. That concludes the witnesses we have scheduled. I want to thank you, Mr. Priest, and to thank the custodians of the building, and the people who have testified today. You have confined yourself to the subject matter and you have made splendid statements.
I also want to express our appreciation for the cordiality with which you have received us. It will leave a memorable recollection in our minds to know that we have visited such a splendid community as Nashville, Tenn. The Volunteer State has many things to be proud of. I can say for certain that the people of Tennessee, the Volunteer State, are not going to keep their assets hidden.
Thank you very much, and again let me express to you all our great appreciation for the kindness with which you have received us.
Without objection, the letters of invitation and the list of those people invited will be made a part of the record at this point.
(The information referred to is as follows:)
OCTOBER 12, 1955.
State Capitol, Nashville, Tenn. SIR: As you know, this subcommittee is charged with the responsibility of studying and holding hearings on the Hoover Commission Report on Water Resources and Power. In this connection, we are conducting hearings in many parts of the country, and have set a hearing for Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, October 31, in courtroom No. 1, 8th floor, Federal Building.
We would appreciate very much having you appear a witness to give he subcommittee your views with respect to the Hoover Commission and task-force reports on Water Resources and Power.
Please let me know whether you can accept this invitation, as we are very anxious to have you appear. With warm personal regards, I am, Sincerely yours,
ROBERT E. JONES, Member of Congress. Mr. JONES. The committee is adjourned until 9:30 a. m. tomorrow at Muscle Shoals, Ala.
(Whereupon, at 4:15 p. m. the hearing in the above-entitled matter was concluded.)