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that Worcester work been constructed we would have been able to take 4,300 of 7,500 second-feet or roughly two-thirds of the entire flow that went through the city of Worcester. We could have bypassed the city entirely.
There was $25 million worth of damage according to the reports in Worcester, damage done in that one town. I think a lot of it, part of the town, would have gotten wet, but I do not think they would have had $25 million worth of damage.
Senator LEMAN. If all the authorized flood-control projects in the Blackstone River watershed had been built, how much less would you estimate the damage would have been?
General FLEMING. Purely as a guess, sir, I think it would have been down to one-quarter what it was, less than a quarter.
Senator LEHMAN. Down to a quarter of what it was?
Senator LEHMAN. For Rhode Island as a whole can you make any estimate of it?
General FLEMING. I would say Rhode Island would be about the same way, because about 75 percent of the damage in the last storm in Woonsocket, for example, and in the Naugatuck Valley in Connecticut was done by the terrific velocity of the stuff as it came down. It just uprooted houses.
In the Naugatuck, for example, sir, we found gasoline tank trailers, tank truck trailers, 12 and 15 miles away from where they broke loose. We found one boxcar that was 5 miles away from where it broke loose on the railroad. When boxcars and 10,000-gallon gasoline tank trailers and houses and lumberyards go down the river, hit bridges and hit factories, it was just the terrific battering they took that did the tremendous amount of damage.
Senator LEHMAN. General, can you comment on how the priorities for flood-control projects are handled by the Corps of Engineers ? I do not want to embarrass you to answer that question, but if you can, I think it would be very helpful to all of us.
General FLEMING. The priorities are covered, sir, usually on a basis of getting a ceiling from the Bureau of the Budget. Then the Chief of Engineers works under that ceiling and tries with his overall knowledge of the requirements for flood control and also influenced by the demand for flood control from the local people to work up a schedule which he sends back to the Bureau of the Budget.
In the ordinary budgeting process then that is subject to cuts and revisions and various things of that sort, but it starts from a ceiling imposed by the Budget Bureau, secondarily imposed by a demand locally for the projects.
Senator LEHMAN. I want to press that just a little bit. What worries me as a Member of Congress and I think worries my colleagues is the fact that there have been appropriations made by the Congress for specific objects in the expectation that the money was going to be used for those objects and then we found out later that they were held up and the implementation was very greatly delayed by the Bureau of the Budget.
As far as I am concerned, if I vote for a flood-control project expecting the Corps of Engineers to carry that out, I would expect the Corps of Engineers to carry it out. It is a matter of concern to
me at least. I cannot speak for my colleagues but I believe I am right in saying what I have said. I think that it is a matter of very real concern to them. I wonder, Congressman Fogarty, as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, whether you would want to comment on this situation? You know more about it than I because I am not on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Mr. FOGARTY. That has been true in many instances. Congress has appropriated funds for construction of facilities and the Bureau of the Budget has impounded those funds, generally at the request of the President of the United States. But that generally only holds true when Congress is not in session, because the Congress can take care of that situation itself and Congress does not have to rely on the Bureau of the Budget on these overall ceilings as the general has pointed out.
That ceiling is the first overall figure that they have to go by, and they are requested by the Bureau of the Budget to stay within that ceiling. That is their job. But when that goes to the Congress, the Congress has the final decision as to how much shall be appropriated, not the Bureau of the Budget.
But when Congress is not in session the executive branch has at times impounded funds that have been appropriated, which is not what Congress intended, of course.
Senator LEHMAN. It could take a very substantial period of time, could it not, before Congress could again take action?
Mr. FOGARTY. It could. It could take a year sometimes or more. It has taken a year in some cases to straighten it out.
Senator LEHMAN. Is the mayor of Woonsocket here?
Senator LEHMAN. Mayor, I cannot invite you to ask questions because this is a senatorial committee and the questioning must, under our rules, be confined to members of the committee, but if there are any questions that you might like me in your behalf to address to the general and the general is willing to answer them, I would be glad to do so.
Mayor REYNOLDS. I have no questions.
Mayor COLEMAN. Rather than run the risk of disturbing an excellent relationship between the Corps of Engineers and the city of Woonsocket I ould rather defer any questions of General Fleming, particularly in view of the fact he has consented to come to Woonsocket the latter part of this month to attend a luncheon and I am sure that we will have a good many questions for him at that time.
Senator LEHMAN. I can say this for the Corps of Engineers, for whom for more than 30 years I have had great admiration. The fact that the general is coming to Woonsocket for luncheon won't in the slightest degree influence his testimony.
Senator Green, do you want to ask any questions?
Senator LEHMAN. You are a member of the Senate so we welcome any questions from you. I want to say, too, as you know, this is a senatorial committee but I see no objection—you are Members of Congress, Congressman Fogarty and Congressman Forand, and you have at least as great an interest in this legislation, both you have, as I have and as Senator Green has—if off the record you want to ask any questions of the general, and if he is willing to answer them I would be very glad indeed to yield to you.
Senator GREEN. Why off the record ?
Senator LEHMAN. Simply because they are not members of the committee. But I would be willing to put the question.
Mr. FORAND. Senator, I have no particular question to ask now. I had one big question in my mind and I have put it in writing and addressed a letter to the general, so I expect to get a reply.
Senator LEHMAN. Good. Congressman Fogarty, on the record ask any questions you want, please.
Mr. FOGARTY. I just want to say before I ask a question, Senator, with your permission, that I have had correspondence and talk with General Fleming on many occasions since the hurricane of a year ago on what we can do to help protect our shores here in New England, and I have found him to be very cooperative, as have been all my dealings with the Corps of Engineers since I have been a Member of Congress. I think they do a splendid job and are continuing to follow out the dictates of Congress as far as the money goes that Congress appropriates.
General, you did make one statement to the effect that if anyone should say or make the statement that this is a one-shot program or control program, they don't know what they are talking about. Has anyone ever made that statement?
General FLEMING. No, sir; I do not think they have. I was trying to bring out
Mr. FOGARTY. I never heard of it.
General FLEMING. I was trying to bring out the fact, sir, that obviously I am a great partisan of flood control. I do not believe, however, that flood control alone is a solution to this disaster poblem. I was trying to bring out the fact that it would be economically just impossible to protect in advance against every possibility for a disaster.
Mr. FOGARTY. But you do say that if these other two authorized projects that have been authorized for the Blackstone River, one in Worcester and the other in West Hill, had been completed along with the flood-control project in Woonsocket, the damage done by the last flood would have been 75 or 80 percent minimized? Is that about correct?
General FLEMING. I think that is about correct, but there still would have remained, sir, a substantial amount of damage from the flood itself because we had the maximum flow that ever was recorded down the Blackstone River.
Mr. FOGARTY. Is there any other solution where we could get it down to a 5-percent differential?
General FLEMING. Economically, I don't think so, sir.
General FLEMING. No, sir; because you would have to have, for example, such tremendously large storage reservoirs in order to provide the storage necessary to get that control that you would just pass beyond the point of economic return.
Mr. FOGARTY. When do you contemplate those three projects will be completed on that river?
General FLEMING. Last year's appropriation bill, sir, gave us money to start the planning for the Woonsocket protective works. We were designing those when the flood hit. We have not yet received concurence from the State of Massachusetts on the construction of the West Hill Reservoir. By that I do not mean to point the finger of scorn at the State of Massachusetts, because the Commonwealth is moving very, very quickly on getting concurrences on all these things as fast as they can. They have a leady concurred in the East Springfield Reservoir on the Thames Basin, the Buffenville Reservoir, also in the Thames. They are holding hearings next week on two more in the Thames Basin. They have not gotten around to the West Hill project yet.
Mr. FOGARTY. You made another statement that the damage already done by this flood this year is costing the Federal Government, or costing you people, $20 million or $22 million, and the States are spending about $70 million or $75 million just on damage done to public property.
General FLEMING. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOGARTY. How much do you think would have been saved if all these authorized projects had been completed ?
General FLEMING. As a guess, sir, I would say you would probably take off about four-fifths of that damage.
Mr. FOGARTY. Four-fifths?
General FLEMING. On the particular areas involved, the Thomaston Dam in Thomaston, Conn., would cast $16 million. There are about three reservoirs that could have been constructed in the Thames Basin which would probably cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 million. That is a total of $41 million. The local protective works in Woonsocket and the West Hill Reservoir would probably add maybe another $8 million to that. At a cost of about $58 million or $60 million for the area affected by this storm I think you could have cut the bill down to about 20 percent.
Mr. FOGARTY. So for a cost of about $56 million or $58 million we would have saved about $75 million this year because of the flood, in rough figures?
General FLEMING. In rough figures.
Mr. FOGARTY. All right. That flood occurred since Congress adjourned.
General FLEMING. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOGARTY. That was something that was not foreseen by you or by any people whom I have come in contact with. Is there anything you can do now, if you could in some way get suflicient appropriations, to start work on preliminary plans or surveys to correct this situation ?
General FLEMING. Yes, sir. It is a matter of public knowledge, I think, that the Chief of Engineers recommended a diversion of 2 million prior to the 1st of October. He wanted to get it by the 1st of October. Of that $2 million I was to get a million and a half and my counterpart down in New York was to get $500,000, which would start
Mr. FOGARTY. As I understand that request for $2 million was a million and a half for New England or this area and the $500,000 was for some projects in Pennsylvania.
General FLEMING. Yes, sir. That is my counterpart in New York who was going to get that.
Mr. FOGARTY. But it was in the State of Pennsylvania, not in New York?
General FLEMING. I mean the man is located in New York, sir.
With that million and a half dollars we could have started the planning, the detailed planning, on about five projects which were particularly pointed out by this storm.
Mr. FOGARTY. What projects are they, General?
General FLEMING. There was East Brimfield Dam on the Thames Basin, sir. Thomaston Dam at the Naugatuck Valley. We wanted to expedite the planning on the Woonsocket local protective works. That is three of them. There was one up on the Connecticut River. Which one it is now I do not exactly remember. And I think there was an additional one on the Thames Basin at Hodgesville. Two on the Thames, one on the Connecticut, one at Thomaston Dam, and the expedition of the Woonsocket local protective works.
Mr. FOGARTY. Apparently that request has been denied-
Mr. FOGARTY. On the basis that funds that have been appropriated for specified projects would have to have the agreement of the chairman and ranking members of the Appropriations Committees of both Houses. General FLEMING. That is what I understand; ; yes,
sir. Mr. FOGARTY. So that they could be reimbursed after the first of the vear through supplemental appropriation; is that correct?
General FLEMING. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOGARTY. That is out apparently because someone of the parties have not agreed to go along with that. I have been informed that the President has a million-dollar emergency fund that could legally and technically be allowed for such work as we are talking of now.
General FLEMING. Yes, sir.
Mr. FOGARTY. As long as that money would not be expended for projects that had already been turned down by the Congress. Do you know whether or not any request has been made of the President for the use of any of those funds for these purposes that you have just talked about?
General FLEMING. I do not know, sir.
Mr. FOGARTY. You do not know whether any request has been made or not?
General FLEMING. No, sir; not from that specific source.
Mr. FOGARTY. I see. All right. If the first request is denied and it is found that none of this million dollars is available for these purposes, the next step is, as I understand it, a request for a supplemental appropriation from Congress at the first of the year for this work to be carried out; is that correct?
General FLEMING. Yes, sir; a supplemental 1956 appropriation, sir, with authorization to start specific projects.
Mr. FOGARTY. Yes. The 1956 appropriation is the appropriation we are working on at the present time.
General FLEMING. Yes, sir.