페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Mr. WELLING. If you adopt a plan to tax these men on their unused lands, don't that practically—it surely will compel them to sell, and doesn't it amount practically to confiscating their land? They will have to sell, no matter whether they can sell at a reasonable price or not. They can't stand the charges and they will be compelled to sell.

Mr. Davis. I think in the long run that is true. The pressure is not quite so hard as you might think, because if they make the payments on the construction charges, that goes to the value of the land, and the buyer of the land knows that he has to pay them anyway, and that adds to the value of the land in that way.

Mr. WELLING. These annual maintenance charges amount to as much as $6 per acre in the Imperial Valley and no man can stand that on a tract of land that he is not using.

Mr. Rose. Under the irrigation district act you have a right to collect all of your expenses—make no charges whatever for water in the State of California, but collect all expenses on the land, but if it was the desire of the people within the district to do so, they could charge the man who didn't cultivate his land with part of the water for the man who did cultivate his land, and they therefore force him to cultivate. I don't think it is necessary to incorporate anything like that in the bill, though.

Mr. HAYDEN. We might get at it another way. Section 11 of the Smith-Chamberlain bill provides: • SEC. 11. That owners of land as herein provided, situated in any district, that may desire to take advantage of the provisions of this act, shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary of the Interior to sell, within a period not to exceed ten years from the completion of the works of such district, or such portion of such works as affect the irrigation, drainage, or protection of such lands, all areas of such land in excess of such maximum area as he may, in his discretion, establish for such district; such maximum area, however, not to exceed 160 acres when, in his opinion, such land is most suitable for agriculture, nor 640 acres when, in his opinion, such land is most suitable for animal husbandry; and such excess areas shall be sold in farms of such size as will, in the opinion of the Secretary of the Interior, support a family in comfort, at such prices and on such terms of payment as are provided in such agreement. This agreement shall be executed by the owners of not less than 90 per centum of the total area of all holdings within such district which exceed the limits so established by the Secretary of the Interior before such project shall be finally approved by him. Such agreement shall confer an irrevocable power of attorney upon the Secretary of the Interior to sell such land in pursuance of the terms thereof whenever he may deem it for the best interests of the project to effect such sale, and to sell any of such land remaining unsold after the expiration of such ten years at such price as it will bring at public auction. If any State or minor political subdivision thereof is the owner of any such excess area of land within such district, the representatives of such State or subdivision thereof shall, as custodians of such land, agree with the Secretary of the Interior, in so far as it may be within their power to agree, to dispose of such excess area as herein provided. The agreements provided in this section shall not apply to lands that have complete facilities for irrigation or that are completely drained or protected against overflow at the time of such agreement.

Mr. Evans. Mr. Davis, can I ask you to point out here on page 6, section 7, where it says: “ 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 may be fixed at not less than $10 per acre plus $1.25 per acre to be paid to the local

185833—20_ 18

United States Land Office in compliance with the requirements of the desert-land laws."

I want to have that made clear, where that $10 per acre goes to. Does that go into the Treasury of the United States ?

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir; according to the Kettner bill, it goes into the Treasury of the United States to be held in a guaranty fund until the repayment of all these charges against the districts, and then is available for use in liquidating those charges.

Mr. Evans. Then temporarily, it is available for the credit of that district ?

Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Evans. That district has the right to draw upon it; in fact, it is available for any necessary purpose, that $10, in addition to the $1.25 ?

Mr. DAVIS. Under the original Kettner bill, I think not. It is not available for anything except as a guaranty fund until these charges are all paid, and then it is a credit to them. But under the amendment as suggested by the Secretary of the Interior it may be held as a trust until he thinks there is no further need of that, and then he can use it for the construction of storage works.

Mr. Evans. It is never diverted then from the credit of the irrigated lands, and it is not taken to improve rivers and harbors and coastal places ?

Mr. Davis. No, sir; in both bills, both under the original bill and the amendment, it is finally credited to the benefit of the projects.

Mr. HAYDEN. I want to ask Mr. Davis this question, which arises from a discussion I recently had with Mr. Smith.

The provision relative to the creation of a guaranty fund in the Kettner bill was taken from the Smith-Chamberlain bill with this difference: In the Smith-Chamberlain bill all the landowners contribute to make up the guaranty fund; the Kettner bill merely takes the proceeds from the sales of public lands and makes that money into a guaranty fund. Mr. Smith and I, in talking it over, could not see why the resources of the United States should be used as a guaranty fund for all of the lands under the project; that if there was to be such a fund it ought to be created by contributions from all the lands. It looked to us as though the United States was not only required by this bill to loan its credit to the district, but to furnish part of that credit by taking its own assets to make up a guaranty fund. Therefore I thought it best for the United States to use its own money received from the sale of public lands in the construction of storage works. If there is to be a guaranty fund, let us create it in the same manner as provided in the original Smith-Chamberlain bill; that is, let an assessment be levied on all the lands in the project to make up the fund. It did not seem right to me, and that is the reason I did not mention such a guaranty fund in my draft of the bill.

Mr. TAYLOR. What is your idea about the form as suggested by Mr. Hayden, of changing, rearranging the form of the bill and starting off and using this Hayden bill as the basis for the draft of the bill that we report_use that language in that form rather than as it is in the Kettner form?

Mr. Davis. I haven't discovered any objection to either one. I think Mr. Hayden's bill is possibly a little clearer in setting forth

the principal object first, which I understand was his reason for rearranging it, but careful reading of either bill has not shown me any particular objection to either arrangement. I think either is all right. There may be some provisions that I have not noticed.

Mr. SMITH of Idaho. I notice in your bill you did not state the total amount of the bonds which might be issued to cover the cost of the project.

Mr. HAYDEN. No, I did not.

Mr. Smith of Idaho. The Secretary of the Treasury, you know, raised that question.

Mr. HAYDEN. Yes; and it was at my suggestion, I believe, that Judge Swing placed the limitation of $35,000,000 in the Kettner bill. After listening to the testimony I was not sure whether that limit was really high enough, or whether we had better have no limit. I would like to have Mr. Davis's views on that. Do you think there ought to be a limitation of the total amount of bonds that may be issued ?

The CHAIRMAN. Secretary Glass pointed out that there was no limit on that and that there ought to be a limit.

Mr. Davis. I think it might remove objections to place a limit such as is in the Kettner bill.

Mr. HAYDEN. Is $35,000,000 enough?

Mr. Davis. $35,000,000 is enough to build the all-American canal and get a system that will provide all the water the Imperial Valley can use; it will not be sufficient to provide a complete irrigation system for all this new land.

Mr. Smith of Idaho. I suppose from the sale of this additional public land $10,000,000 or $15,000,000 more could be secured.

Mr. Davis. We have made a rough estimate, the best we can, from present information, which we believe will provide for the construction of the all-American canal sufficient to irrigate all the lands that can now be irrigated. To make provision for storage for the lands that do not now have water rights, to provide distribution works over the new lands will cost about $52,000,000.

Mr. Evans. But in the meantime you are selling lands; you are getting credits to apply on additional costs.

Mr. Davis. If the land is sold at a high enough price, it will make up the difference between $35,000,000 and $52,000,000.

The CHAIRMAN. Will Mr. Rose and Mr. Yager point out any objections they find? I meant that they should ask you any questions first, Mr. Davis, not that you should be through now. Mr. Rose. I have a statement that I would like to make.

The CHAIRMAN: You don't care to ask Director Davis any questions? Well, go ahead, then, Mr. Davis.

Mr. Davis. I don't know, Mr. Chairman, that I have anything further to say.

Mr. Taylor. Mr. Davis, did you go through these suggested and tentative amendments that we made to the Kettner bill the other day?

tentative Ves, sir. the beneficial Mr. Hayde da Vir. DANILOR. And har incorporatuitation whether the

Mr. TAYLOR. And have the beneficial features of those amendments been preserved or incorporated in Mr. Hayden's draft here?

Mr. Davis. Not fully. That limitation is one, and otherwise I haven't closely compared—I don't know whether the language in

Mr. Hayden's bill will be satisfactory to the Secretary of the Treasury or not.

Mr. HAYDEN. It will not be satisfactory to the Secretary of the Treasury if he still thinks that the credit of the United States should not be extended to the Imperial irrigation district, but if he concedes that we should extend the credit of the United States to that district and not make a direct appropriation from the Treasury, then I think we have fully answered his objections, except, perhaps, as to the matter of the limitation of the total amount of bonds. Inasmuch as I gathered from the talk about this table that the total cost would be more than $35,000,000, I did not say anything about it in my bill.

Mr. TAYLOR. Well, if it is going to cost $52,000,000, what is the sense of our putting in a limitation of $35,000,000 ?

Mr. Smith of Idaho. While $35,000,000 is only a portion of the expense, the balance is made up from the sale of public lands in the valley. There are about 300,000 acres, and at $50 an acre that would raise $15,000,000 or $20,000,000.

Mr. Rose. There is another thing, too, that after the all-American canal is once built and water is available for these lands, if there is an additional amount required for storage probably they can issue additional bonds and sell them in the bond market. The objection will then be removed and they can probably go to work and sell their own bonds in the bond market and take care of it.

The CHAIRMAN. How much of the lands, the public lands on the mesa, do you think it will be feasible to irrigate?

Mr. Davis. The nearest figure we can arrive at is about 800,000 acres.

The CHAIRMAN. That is, the whole valley ? Mr. Davis. The whole business. There are about 500,000 acres in the district—there is more than that in the district—but I figure there are about 500,000 irrigable.

The CHAIRMAN. And being irrigated now? Mr. Davis. No; not that much now, altogether. There is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400,000 being irrigated now, but within the boundaries of the district and at such elevation that the extension and enlargement of the present canal would cover them there is about 500,000 acres of irrigable land. Nearly all of this is in private ownership. Outside of the district there is somewhat in excess of 300,000 acres that can be reached by the high line canal.

The CHAIRMAN. Not entered at all, any of it?
Mr. Davis. Some of that is in private ownership; considerable of it.
The CHAIRMAN. Some of it is in private ownership already?

Mr. Davis. Yes; especially to the northward, but to the eastward of the Imperial district most of that is public land, and these figures, 800,000 acres, I believe, are within the limits of the correct figure.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, there are 170,000 acres of public land that may be sold under the act ?

Mr. Davis. I believe something like that; I don't know exactly how much.

The CHAIRMAN. Which can be irrigated ?
Mr. Davis. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Approximately that?

Mr. DAVIs. Yes, sir. And the private lands outside, under this bill, would be bound for the cost, the same as the public lands. Of course, they would have to use their credit in order to make payments. The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Now, if the public lands sell for $40 or $50 an acre, would there be that amount imposed upon the private lands? Mr. DAVIS. This bill, Mr. Hayden's bill, provides that the charges should be apportioned equitably. That would mean that private lands should bear their equitable proportion if they do not already have a valid water right. The CHAIRMAN. Then, the higher price the public lands sell for, the more the private lands would have to put out? Mr. DAVIS. I should say so. I should so interpret that. Mr. HAYDEN. Might I ask you a few questions, Mr. Davis, with respect to this draft of the bill that I have prepared? I want you to know that I have no pride of opinion about it, so you may be perfectly free to discuss it in any way you may think best. I believe you said you thought the first section properly set out the objects of the bill. The first section contains these two propositions on which we have heretofore agreed: First, that there should be a determination by the Secretary of the area of land that might be irrlgated. I cover that in lines 11 and 12– lands, public or private, which in his judgment are susceptible of reclamation by the diversion of water from the Colorado River by said dam. Mr. TAYLOR. That would prevent people on the outside from sellingo; before it had any water and buncoing people. r. DAVIS. Yes. Mr. HAYDEN. Then, second, I set out that the Secretary of the Interior shall construct, or cause to be constructed, storage reservoirs. There is no mention in the Kettner bill of any kind of water storage. Then I go on to say that he may enter into contracts with the Imperial irrigation district and other organizations to carry out the objects of the act. In the proviso to section 1 I have tried to care for the idea advanced by Dr. Elwood Mead. I believe that proviso will be sufficient to let us go on without waiting to hear from him, because it authorizes cooperation with his board, and that is all we could do if we waited two or three weeks to hear from the California State Land Settlement Board. In the second section I provide for the apportionment of the construction charges by the Secretary of the Interior, with due regard to the actual and comparative benefits to be derived. Now, I wanted to make it clear that he had authority to do that, and, in order to clinch it, I provided that “no irrigation district, water-users' association, corporation, or individual water user” shall receive any of the benefits of the act until they first agreed to the finding of the Secretary, so it would not be left to some future time to ascertain what benefits are, but he would ascertain it in advance. Mr. DAVIS. Yes, sir. Mr. HAYDEN. Will not that be advantageous? Mr. DAVIs. I think so. I think all those are good things. Mr. SMITH of Idaho. Mr. Hayden's bill provides for the sale of public lands and the construction of reservoirs in advance of the construction of the canals.

« 이전계속 »