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Mr. BARBOUR. I think so, too.
Mr. EVANS. I am thoroughly in accord with this bill, but if there is any way in the world by which the Government can furnish the money themselves, within 15 years they would get their $30,000,000 back, and in 20 years they would have another $30,000,000 to apply to other irrigation projects. If there is any possible way in which they can raise the money—if we can put out our own bonds and raise the cash, I think we ought to do it. It is too good a thing; the security is too good down there to overlook that chance. That is the only amendment I would like to offer to this bill, if it could be worked out in some way, and I wish you gentlemen would put your thought upon the Government furnishing the money upon our own bonds for that project. It is the finest security on earth.
Mr. LITTLE. It is the best irrigating prospect we have.
Mr. Evans. And it will return to our irrigation fund within 20 years just what we have advanced. Six per cent compounded would return $30,000,000 to us within about 15 years.
The CHAIRMAN. We will take it up and consider it.
Mr. THOMPSON. Why not appoint a subcommittee to take up these amendments ?
The CHAIRMAN. I think we ought to have the full committee, but I am willing to appoint a subcommittee.
Mr. LITTLE. I move that we take this bill up next week.
The CHAIRMAN. It has been moved and seconded that the Imperial Valley bill be taken up for consideration next week.
(The motion was put and carried.)
(Whereupon, at 11.45 o'clock a. m., the committee proceeded to the consideration of other business.)
COMMITTEE ON IRRIGATION OF ARID LANDS,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Friday, September 26, 1919. The committee met at 10.15 o'clock a m., Hon. M. P. Kinkaid (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. Gentlemen, we have the Imperial Valley bill under consideration this morning. I want to call the committee's attention to some communications that have been received since our last meeting. .
(The communications referred to appear hereafter.)
Dr. Elwood Mead has been insisting on some important amendments to the bill. Here is a telegram from him saying that he is coming here, and he states that there is going to be a meeting held with the Imperial Valley people on October 1 and that a letter is coming. Mr. Evans. His action only tends to delay this measure.
The CHAIRMAN. He says here that a conference with the Imperial Valley irrigation people will be held at the university on October 1, and that he will wire the action taken. This is dated the 23d.
Following that is a telegram from Merrill B. Davis, at El Centro, who says:
Board of supervisors and farm bureaus have refused to meet with Dr. Mead.
Mr. SINNOTT. Who is that?
The CHAIRMAN. The board of supervisors and the farm bureaus have refused to meet with Dr. Mead.
Mr. WELLING. He is fighting this bill?
Mr. BARBOUR. It seems to me Dr. Mead has had plenty of time to meet with those men out there if he has been disposed to be reasonable.
Mr. Evans. It seems to me that would only tend to delay our proceedings.
The CHAIRMAN. There is a very general demand that the soldiers, sailors, and marines be given the preference right that would be very easy to provide for.
Mr. Smith of Idaho. How can you do that, if you are going to sell to the highest bidder?
Mr. HAYDEN. Suppose that the bill provides that soldiers shall have preference for 60 days to purchase the land, if they bid the same amount.
The CHAIRMAN. I believe 30 days would be better. That is the act in our State. It is 30 days there and nobody has ever complained that it was too short; in fact, I think it has been pretty long. I think they ought to get around to do something themselves or let somebody else do something in less time than that.
Mr. WELLING. Would you give them the right to meet any bid that was made by anybody else?
The CHAIRMAN. Well, now, I don't know about that. Mr. HAYDEN. If we said that returned soldiers should have a preference right, that would mean if the bids were equal.
Mr. SMITH of Idaho. If two or more bids are the same, one of which is offered by a soldier, he would have the preference right.
Mr. BARBOUR. There would be no objection to that that I can see. I think it would be a good thing.
Mr. Evans. It is starting a great deal of machinery for very little.
The CHAIRMAN. We will take up the consideration of the bill, gentlemen. Who will we have first?
Mr. HAYDEN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a statement to the committee.
You will remember that when we had the Kettner bill under discussion I made inquiry of various witnesses about the advisability of amending the bill to provide, among other things, for a limitation of the area of the project so that the Secretary of the Interior would have to make a finding that there was water available for the land to be irrigated. That would enable the settlers to know in advance where the water was to go and it would prevent speculation in lands which probably would not be included in the project, and therefore would not receive water. Everybody seemed to agree that such an amendment would be desirable. I also suggested the advisability of limiting the area to which water should be supplied for land in one ownership, and the committee seemed to agree that such a limitation should be made, particularly where valid water rights have not attached to the land.
Then there was talk of the necessity for storage on the Colorado River. I gathered it was the consensus of opinion that provision
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should be made from the very start for storage, and that the charge for storage should be apportioned according to the benefits to be derived. I went to work to try to amend the bill accordingly, so as to provide for what I thought the majority of the committee wanted done, but the more I studied it the harder it was to do, because of the way in which the bill was drawn. It seemed to me that the bill ought to be revamped and start out and say what it means to begin with. For instance, the bill as it was introduced first provides for the sale of public land as though that was the principal object. Any member who saw the bill for the first time on the floor of the House would think this was a public land measure. But when he reads a little further along and finds out that as a matter of fact it is not primarily a public land measure, but principally concerns the Imperial Irrigation District, he would suspect we were seeking to deceive him. I therefore decided that it would be better to set out in the beginning everything that we wanted to accomplish by a statement in the first section of the bill and then later elaborate the plan. I believe that the quickest way to get my ideas before the committee will be to read to you the bill that I have prepared, which you will find in the back of the file, H. R. 9421. I have no pride of authorship about this measure. I do not expect this bill of mine to be reported by this committee. I drafted it, and when I introduced it I labeled it “By request,” so that we might have something to work on, which, so far as I have been able to judge, will meet with the general approval of the committee. In other words, this is merely a working draft which is subject to amendment. We frequently, after we have perfected a bill, have it reintroduced and ask for a new report from the Secretary of the Interior or strike out all after the enacting clause. In any event the bill which is finally reported ought to be known as Mr. Kettner's measure, because it is primarily for the benefit of lands in his district. Mr. SMITH, of Idaho. You are changing the title to “Colorado River Reclamation Project?” Mr. HAYDEN. As I go along you will see I am trying to take care of all new lands that can be hereafter served with water from the Laguna Dam. I thought that was the better way to label the bill than to simply refer to the Coachella and Imperial Valley irrigation project. I shall read the bill.
[H. R. 9421, Sixty-sixth Congress, first session.]
A BILL To authorize the construction of the lower Colorado River reclamation project, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and empowered, upon compliance with the several requirements of this act, and in conformity with its provisions, to construct or cause the construction of canals and other necessary works to connect the present irrigation system of the Imperial irrigation district, in Imperial County, California, with the diversion dam of the Yuma reclamation project, known as the Laguna Dam, and for the reclamation of all lands, public or private, which in his judgment are susceptible of reclamation by the diversion of water from the Colorado
River by said dam ; to construct or cause to be constructed such storage reservoirs and other irrigation works as in his judgment are necessary to provide an adequate Supply of water for the successful irrigation of such lands and on behalf of the United States to enter into such contracts and agreements, not inconsistent with the provisions of this act, with the Imperial irrigation district and other legally organized irrigation districts, water users' associations, or corporations, and individual water users as may be necessary or expedient in carrying out the provisions of this act, insuring compliance therewith and securing the repayment of the total costs of the said canals, reservoirs, and works, in so far as such costs may be guaranteed by the United States: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to cooperate with the State land settlement board and other public authorities of the State of California and with the soldier settlement board and other public authorities of the State of Arizona in the reclamation and settlement of lands affected by the provisions of this act. SEC. 2. That in carrying out the provisions of this act the Secretary of the Interior shall find and determine the just and equitable proportion, or amount, of the cost of any such canals, reservoirs, and works to be borne by or made a charge against any such irrigation district, State land settlement board, soldier settlement board, water users' association, corporation, or individual water user, with due regard to the actual and comparative benefits to be derived by each thereof from the construction of such canals, reservoirs, or works, and no irrigation district, water users' association, corporation, or individual water user shall receive any of the benefits of this act nor secure the delivery of any water from the said canals, reservoirs, or works without first accepting the finding of the Secretary of the Interior as herein provided and paying or entering into an agreement satisfactory to the said Secretary to pay all costs assessed by the said Secretary, and otherwise fully complying with the provisions of this act. SEC. 3. That whenever any irrigation district, water users' association, or corporation, legally organized for the purpose of irrigating lands which, in the judgment of the Secretary of the Interior, are susceptible of successful irrigation from the canals and works mentioned in this act, shall have duly voted and issued bonds, running for a period not exceeding forty years and bearing interest at a rate to be fixed by the Secretary of the Interior, not exceeding five per centum per annum, in a sum which will cover the just and equitable proportion or amount, as fixed and determined by the Secretary of the Interior, chargeable to such irrigation district, water users' association or corporation, for the construction of such canals, reservoirs, or other works, or of any part thereof approved for construction by the said Secretary, and when the legality and validity of such bonds shall have been duly confirmed by the courts and their sufficiency for the purpose for which issued, taking into consideration the security which will exist upon the completion of said canals and works, shall have been ascertained by the Secretary of the Interior, he is authorized and empowered to accept such bonds and deposit the same with the Secretary of the Treasury, who shall collect the principal and interest thereof and apply the same to the payment of the principal and interest of the certificates of indebtedness, notes, or bonds of the United States authorized to be issued under the terms of this act. SEC. 4. That upon receipt by the Secretary of the Treasury of the bonds of any such irrigation district, water users' association, or corporation, or the bonds of the State of California or the State of Arizona, approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Treasury shall issue certificates of indebtedness, notes, or bonds of the United States, in such form as he may prescribe and in amount equal to the face value of the bonds so deposited with him. Said certificates, notes, or bonds of the United States shall be in such denominations, bear such rate of interest, not to exceed five per centum per annum, and run for such period as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe: Provided, That if the same shall fall due prior to the due date of the bonds or any of them so deposited with him, he may, in his discretion, issue other certificates of indebtedness, notes, or bonds of the United States, not exceeding the amount, and maturing not to exceed sixty days after due date of the unpaid bonds so deposited with him. SEC. 5. That from time to time, as the carrying out of the purposes of this act may require, the Secretary of the Treasury, upon the request of the Secretary of the Interior, shall dispose of such certificates of indebtedness, notes or bonds of the United States, under such rules and regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe, and shall deposit the proceeds thereof in the Treasury in a special fund to be known as the lower Colorado River project fund. SEC. 6. That upon default of any installment of the principal or interest of any bond deposited with the Secretary of the Treasury in accordance with the terms of this act the said Secretary may declare the entire amount of such bond issue in default and thereupon he shall call upon the State, under the authority of which such bonds were issued, through any of its authorized agencies or officers, to levy and enforce the payment of any taxes, forced contributions, or special assessments necessary to pay the sums due to the United States, and upon failure of the State authorities so to do the Secretary of the Treasury shall cause suit to be instituted in the name of the United States, and take such legal action as may be necessary to enforce the assessment and collection of such taxes for the payment of the amount of principal and interest in default or the entire amount of such bond issue, principal and interest. It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to prosecute such suit, and any United States district court for the district in which the lands affected by this act, or any part thereof, are situated, is hereby vested with jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this act. SEc. 7. That any unentered public lands of the United States found by the Secretary of the Interior to be susceptible of successful irrigation from the canals and works the construction of which is provided for by this act, may be offered for sale to citizens of the United States, under such rules and regulations as the said Secretary may prescribe, at the fair value thereof, which shall be fixed at not less than $10 per acre, plus $1.25 per acre to be paid to the local United States Land Office in compliance with the requirements of the desertland laws. The land so sold shall be paid for in cash, or on deferred payments, at the option of the purchaser, in installments of one-fifth cash and one-fifth annually until fully paid, with interest on the deferred payments at the rate of 6 per centum per annum from date of sale, patent to issue upon full payment of the purchase price and compliance with any other requirements of this act. Said land shall be subject to the usual charges of the irrigation district within which such land may lie, or of any other agency serving such land with water: Provided, That not more than one hundred and sixty acres of land shall be sold to any one purchaser under the provisions of this act: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior, in his discretion, may offer such public lands to be sold and reclaimed in cooperation with the California State Land Settlement Board or the Arizona Soldier Settlement Board, or he may use all or any part of such lands in connection with any soldier-settlement legislation that may be enacted by Congress. SEC. 8. That any person having a valid and subsisting entry upon public lands which, in the judgment of the Secretary of the Interior, should become subject to the provisions of this act, and not now possessing an adequate and valid water right, shall be required to make payment of $10 per acre therefor, on like terms, as provided for unentered public lands of the United States, and such unpatented lands shall be subject to the usual charges of the irrigation district within which they may lie or of any other agency serving such lands with water: Provided, That all of such entries in excess of one hundred and sixty acres shall be reduced in area to one hundred and sixty acres, and any entryman who shall fail to dispose of the excess of his entry above one hundred and sixty acres, in the manner provided by law, within one year after public notice issued by the Secretary of the Interior that the lands embraced within his entry are subject to the provisions of this act, shall render his entry subject to cancellation as to the excess above one hundred and sixty acres. SEc. 9. That the Secretary of the Interior shall fix such charges against the entered or unentered public lands referred to in this act, in addition to the price to be paid to the United States as the fair value thereof, as he may deem to be the just and equitable proportion or amount to be borne by such lands of the cost of the canals and works mentioned in this act, and shall, in advance of the patenting of such lands and prior to permitting them to be served with water from said canals and works, make such contracts as he may deem necessary to insure the payment of such charges. SEC. 10. That all moneys derived from the sale of the entered or unentered public lands heretofore mentioned, in excess of the United States Land Office charge of $1.25 per acre, shall be deposited in the Treasury to the credit of the lower Colorado River project fund, and devoted exclusively to the development and construction of a reservoir or reservoirs to provide by storage an additional