Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Interior to sell unproductive lands on Federal irrigation projects to resident owners and entrymen under terms and conditions to be fixed by him. Under the bill no landowner would be permitted to purchase more than 160 acres of such land or an area which, with land already owned on any one project, would exceed 320 acres. The lands are to be appraised by an independent board of appraisers.

The lands the sale of which is contemplated under the bill are not suitable for entry under the homestead and reclamation laws.

Under the present law private landowners and entrymen could secure the use of these lands only by temporary lease. This method is objectionable because the Government has turned over or will turn over the projects to water users for their own management, and the United States will thereafter have no representatives on the projects to make the necessary leases and administer them.

The disposition of these lands in the manner proposed seems advisable, and the machinery provided is satisfactory to this bureau.

Attention is called to two typographical errors on page 2 of the bill. In line 2, the word “that" should be changed to “those.” În line 17" temporarily" was evidently intended instead of "temporary.'

Elwood MEAD, Commissioner. The facts are fully set forth in House Report No. 68, Seventy-first ongress, second session, which is attached hereto and made a part of this report.

(House Report No. 68, Seventy-first Congress, second session,

The Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 156) to authorize the disposal of public land classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive on Federal irrigation projects, having considered the same, report thereon with a recommendation that it do pass with the following amendments:

Page 2, at the end of section 2, add:

And provided further, That the authority given hereunder apply not only shall to tracts wholly classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive, but also to all tracts of public lands within Federal irrigation projects which by reason of the inclusion of lands classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive are found by the Secretary to be insufficient to support a family and to pay water charges.

Page 2, line 21, after the word "classified” insert “in whole or in part."

Page 3, line 11, strike out the words "sums heretofore" and all of line 12, inserting in lieu the words "construction cost charged against the project involved.

The purposes of the first two amendments are discussed in the report of the Secretary of the Interior, quoted below. Those of the third amendment are outlined in the following statement by the secretary of the Huntley project irrigation district:

"There is a good prospect of much of the land classified as temporarily unproductive being reclaimed, in which case its proportionate part of the construction cost of the project will be repaid to the Government. Experience has taught that this is a slow process. For this reason it seems desirable that the work of reclamation start at an early date, as this land is of very little value to anyone in its present state, and it will be several years at best before it will be an asset in any sense of the word. The district proposes to encourage its development by furnishing irrigation water at one-half the regular rate, which means at approximately one-half the cost of the service. This means quite a heavy burden upon the district in the way of lateral construction and upkeep as well as the cost of the service in developing this land.

"We therefore feel that the money derived from the sale of this land should be a credit to our present obligation to the United States and that, when the land has been reclaimed, the payments on construction charges should be applied in like manner.”

This proposal passed the House of Representatives during the closing days of the Seventieth Congress, not being reached for consideration in the Senate. Your committee continues in its belief that the matter should become law, with the perfecting amendments suggested, and recommends its passage.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, December 9, 1989. Hon. ADDISON T. SMITH, Chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,

House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: In response to your request of December 3 for a report on H. R. 156 I transmit herewith a memorandum from the Commissioner of Reclamation, with which I am in agreement. Very truly yours,

Ray LYMAN WILBUR, Secrelary.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

BUREAU or RECLAMATION,

Washington, December 6, 1929. Memorandum for the Secretary.

There is herewith returned letter of December 3 from Hon. Addison T. Smith, chairman Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation, House of Representatives, requesting report on H. R. 156, entitled “A bill to authorize the disposal of public land classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive on Federal irrigation projects."

The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to sell unproductive lands on Federal irrigation projects to resident owners and entrymen under terms and conditions to be fixed by him. Under the bill no landowner would be permitted to purchase more than 160 acres of such land, or an area which, with land already owned on any one project, would exceed 320 acres. The lands are to be appraised by an independent board of appraisers.

The lands, the sale of which is contemplated under the bill, are not suitable for entry under the homestead and reclamation laws.

Under the present law private landowners and entrymen could secure the use of these lands only by temporary lease. This method is objectionable because the Government has turned over or will turn over the projects to water users for their own management, and the Ur ted States will thereafter ave no representatives on the projects to make the necessary leases and administer them.

I believe it preferable that these lands be disposed of in the manner contemplated, and hope the bill will receive favorable consideration, with the following amendments:

Insert at the end of section 2: “And provided further, That the authority given hereunder shall apply not only to tracts wholly classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive, but also to all tracts of public lands within Federal irrigation projects which by reason of the inclusion of lands classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive are found by the Secretary to be insufficient to support a family and to pay water charges."

In line 21, section 4, page 2, after the word “classified” insert “in whole or These suggested amendments are prompted by the following facts:

As at present drafted the bill would affect only such tracts as were wholly classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive. The land classifications were made without regard to land descriptions, and often the result is that, for example, on an 80-acre tract, 70 acres in irregular and undefined areas are classed as temporarily or permanently unproductive and the remaining area is placed in one of the productive classes. The situation which this creates is that the area of productive land is not sufficient to support a family and the sale of the unproductive land only would involve the expense of a survey in order that the description of the land disposed of could be carried into the patent. The lines of demarcation between the unproductive and productive lands were not established by instrument surveys when the classification was made and the Government is not always in a position to identify and describe the respective classes with any degree of exactness. Even if the surveys could be made at an expense less than the appraised value of the land, which is doubtful, the sale in the case of the example stated would result in the Government retaining ownership of pumerous useless isolated tracts. It is believed to be desirable that authority be given not only to sell tracts wholly classified as temporarily or permanently unproductive, but also to permit the sale of tracts which by reason of the presence of lands classified as permanently or temporarily unproductive are found by the Secretary to be insufficient to support a family and pay water charges, and for this reason can not be opened to entry to prospective settlers.

Elwood MBAD, Commissioner.

in part."

}

SENATE

71st CONGRESS

ed Session

{

REPORT No. 581

APPROVAL OF CONGRESS TO RIO GRANDE COMPACT OF

FEBRUARY 12, 1929

APRIL 30, 1930.-Ordered to be printed

Mr. PHIPPS, from the Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation,

submitted the following

REPORT

(To accompany S. 3386)

The Committee on Irrigation and Reclamation, to whom was referred the bill S. 3386, granting the consent and approval of Congress to the Rio Grande compact signed at Sante Fe, N. Mex., on February 12, 1929, having considered the same, report favorably thereon and recommend its passage.

The Rio Grande compact, to which Congress is now asked to give its consent, contains the unanimous agreement of the three States interested in the waters of the Rio Grande River, namely, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. At the negotiations at Santa Fe, which took place early in 1929, a duly appointed representative of the United States participated; and his approval was also given to the compact. The representative was selected by the President for this particular purpose. As set forth in the bill, the compact has since been approved by the legislatures of the three States in question.

The pending agreement is a part of the general program to settle water-right problems, which might possibly lead to serious State conflicts, by mutual agreement rather than by resort to the courts. The benefits are obvious. The long delay often incident to legal procedure is prevented, and the development of each of the States through beneficial use of the waters of the stream is thereby expedited.

In this case, however, final agreement could not be reached, due to lack of essential information and especially due to unusual conditions resulting from an old Federal embargo on reservoir construction on the upper reaches of the stream. The object of the compact then, briefly stated, is to establish a moratorium for a 5-year period or until June 1, 1935, during which the three States, assisted by the United States, might work out all water problems involved and reach final agreement, subject, of course, to approval by Congress. The ratification of the pending compact will undoubtedly prevent threatened lawsuits—à most important consideration. It is hoped also that within the 5-year period a plan will be adopted for the drainage of the so-called closed basin of the San Luis Valley, thereby relieving a situation caused by the imposition of the embargo above mentioned. While it was the hope of those who negotiated the compact that this work should be done by the Federal Government, it is expressly stated in Article II that "approval by Congress of this compact shall not be construed as constituting an acceptance or approval, directly, indirectly, or impliedly, of any statement or conclusion" of the commissioners relative to such drainage problem.

The committee believes that the Rio Grande compact will serve a most useful purpose in preventing lawsuits and will actually result in a mutually satisfactory division of the waters of the stream to the benefit of the States interested and of the United States. The taking of the present step required to ratify the compact is, therefore, urged upon Congress at this time.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »