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I would hope, therefore, that the Chair would overrule the point of order.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. WRIGHT). The Chair is prepared to rule.
The gentleman from Wisconsin has offered an amendment against which the gentleman from Mississippi makes the point of order that it constitutes legislation on an appropriation bill and, therefore, for that reason is in violation of clause 2, rule XXI.
The amendment provides that none of the funds appropriated in the act should be used for stream channelization by the Secretary of Agriculture unless the Governor of the State where the channel is to be located considers its environmental effect and certifies to the Secretary that such channelization is in the public interest.
The question involved is whether or not the amendment seeks to impose additional duties upon an executive or to require from that executive an additional certification not previously authorized in existing law; if it does so, it constitutes legislation under the precedents.
The Chair has examined the precedent cited by the gentleman from Wisconsin which arose on May 12, 1918. There is some similarity except that the amendment offered on that occasion by the gentleman from California (Mr. RANDALL) Would have provided that no part of the appropriation shall be available until a previously issued proclamation had been made, and following the word "proclamation" in the amendment offered on that occasion appear these words: "authorized by Section 15 of the Act of August 10, 1970."
Therefore, it appears to the Chair that the precedent cited by the gentleman from Wisconsin is distinguishable from the present case in that the proclamation required in that amendment was one that was already authorized under existing law.
The Chair is not aware that the certification and finding required of a Governor by the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin is required or authorized by existing law.
The Chair would refer the Committee to the decision by Chairman Jerry Cooper, of Tennessee, on March 30, 1949, which the Chair regards to be more in point with the present situation. On that occasion an amendment was offered to the Department of Interior appropriation bill providing that none of the funds might be used for the purchase of certain materials and the beginning of certain new construction unless approved by the Governor or by a board or by a commission of the respective State.
On that occasion, Chairman Cooper held that this was legislation on an appropriation bill in that it required a determination and imposed a burden upon the Governor which did not previously exist.
The Chair feels that that decision would be controlling in this instance and, since the present amendment would impose additional duties not existing in present law, in violation of clause 2, rule XXI sustains the point of order.
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MR. REUSS
Mr. REUSS. Mr. Chairman, I offer an alternative amendment.
The Clerk read as follows:
Amendment offered by Mr. REUSS: On page 37, immediately after line 25, insert the following:
"No part of the funds appropriated by this Act shall be used for engineering or construction of any stream channelization measure under any program administered by the Secretary of Agriculture unless such channelization is in a project a part of which was in the project construction stage before July 1, 1971."
Mr. WHITTEN. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order to the amendment. The CHAIRMAN. The gentleman from Mississippi reserves a point of order.
(Mr. REUSS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. REUSS. Mr. Chairman, this amendment relates to the practice of stream channelization. It is cosponsored by several of my colleagues, namely: BEN B. BLACKBURN, DANTE B. FASCELL, GILBERT GUDE, JOHN P. SAYLOR, CHARLES A. VANIK, GUY VANDER JAGT, BELLA S. Abzug, JOHN E. Moss, OGDEN R. REID, WILLIAM D. FORD, and PAUL N. MCCLOSKEY, JR.
The practice of channelizing natural meandering streams has increased substantially in recent years. Channelization increases the width and depth of a natural stream and straightens out natural ox-bows. Thus, the physical shape of a stream is severely changed.
If this practice continues unabated, the ultimate result will be the destruction or serious degradation of valuable and irreplaceable natural resources.
The Soil Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture is financing most of this channelization work today.
The SCS is one of my favorite agencies. I have long supported its practices to keep the rain drops where they fall through such agricultural devices as contour plowing, planting of hedgerows and trees, and upstream reservoirs.
But channelization works cause increased flooding downstream from the project area, add sedimentation and pollutants to the waterways, lower ground
water tables, and are detrimental to fish and wildlife. The accelerated drainage of many thousands of acres of valuable timberlands, marshes, and other important wildlife habitat results from stream channelization.
The SCS has financed the destructive channelization of several thousands of natural streams. Many more thousands of miles are planned with little regard to the public's interest in the environmental effects.
The bulk of these channelization projects are financed by the SCS under its Public Law 566 small watershed program. All too often the local sponsoring organization and the SCS have selected channelization as the method of controlling floods and erosion, rather than building small dams and sediment reservoirs, because channelization may result in less initial expense. But the environmental costs that result are very great, even though not always readily measurable in dollars. Irreplaceable natural resources are being destroyed or severely damaged because alternatives to channelization have not been explored and utilized.
The SCS issued, on February 4, 1971, its watersheds memorandum 108. The memorandum provided guidelines for reviewing approved watershed plans that include channelization not yet constructed, and for developing new plans. The initial review is being made by SCS's State conservationists. Under this memorandum, only those approved channelization projects where there is minor or no known adverse environmental effect can proceed to construction. As to all other projects, the SCS established a moratorium on construction. Unfortunately, this moratorium expires on June 30 of this year, before full review and studies are completed.
The memorandum also provides that a Watershed Environmental Quality Committee would be established to develop new policies and procedures for strengthening the environmental aspects of the watershed program. Unfortunately, these policies and procedures have not yet been developed. The committee itself has not even been established.
Earlier this year I urged that the House Committee on Appropriations not include funds in the bill-H.R. 9270-before us today until the Memorandum 108 review was completed and new policies and procedures adopted. The committee did not adopt the recommendation. H.R. 9270 includes funds for watershed projects, including channelization. It is estimated that about one-fourth, or $45 million, is included for channelization.
The amendment continues the SCS moratorium as to any watershed project involving stream channelization
measures or work, with one major exception.
Under the amendment, funds could not be used for the preconstruction engineering of approved projects not yet advanced to the construction stage, or for the construction of the channelization features of any project.
The amendment would except any project involving stream channelization if any part of the project, whether it be the channelization or the reservoir or the flood retarding structure, or other land treatment measure has moved into the project construction stage before July 1, 1971. According to the SCS, the "project construction stage begins with execution of the first project agreement or contract for construction of" the project.
The moratorium will give the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Council on Environmental Quality and the Water Resources Council, time to develop new policies to insure that future channelization work will not damage the environment.
The amendment is supported by numerous conservation, wildlife and industry groups, such as the National Rifle Association, National Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, National Audubon Society. Nature Conservancy, American Forestry Association, Sierra Club, Wildlife Management Institute, Friends of the Earth, Wilderness Society, Wildlife Society, Sport Fishing Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Southern Resource Council-comprising the Forest Farmers Association, Southern Forest Products Association, the American Plywood Association, and the Southern Forest Institute.
The part that is left says that "under any program administered by the Secretary of Agriculture."
The program, apparently, that this is directed to is the Soil Conservation projects. I would respectfully call the attention of the Chair to the fact that there are two things which must be done on these projects. The Department of Agriculture does not have any right of eminent domain in order to get ground on which to build these projects. Under the law there is required a local sponsor, who in most cases is a drainage or similar district, which in turn issues bonds or borrows money, with which they buy rightsof-way. Those rights-of-way having been bought, this comes under the administration of the Soil Conservation Service.
In this instance, with all these projects throughout the United States, in most cases they have to be approved by the local courts, which have to determine whether all of the requirements of the law have been carried out.
This would be imposing upon the Secretary of Agriculture the duty to go into each of those instances and to see whether that project was, as we quote here, "A part of which was in project construction stage before July 1, 1971." Those things do not come to the Secretary of Agriculture. They are handled, as I pointed out, in the initial stage at the local level with a local sponsorship and approved by local courts.
I say here this would be imposing additional duties on the Secretary of Agriculture not imposed on him by existing law. This again, although not pointed up by the Chair in the earlier ruling, would make it subject to a point of order.
Mr. JONES of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, may I be heard on the point of order?
The CHAIRMAN. The Chair will hear the gentleman from Alabama.
Mr. JONES of Alabama. Mr. Chairman, the amendment that goes to the appropriation item is one carried in Public Law 566. In that Public Law there are certain requirements which are made upon all of the political subdivisions which are participants under that existing law.
The Chair has just ruled that that requirement, the Cooper Decision, such as the Chair just ruled upon, would put an additional burden or an additional requirement on the administrative offices and would be an infringement upon the legislative function, which should not be carried in an appropriation act.
Here is the situation. The situation is such that this amendment goes into an infinite requirement.
Suppose the amendment had said, "The Soil Conservation Service should not use a soil depleting plant and it
should require not fescue but say fourleaf clover." That would be just as sensible as the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin.
I do not know how the administrative officer assigned the duties under Public Law 566 is going to be responsible, when the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin is going to tell him how to function, how much water to use, how much plant leaf, or how much forestation, and all the varieties of programs that are employed in the total scheme and development of the overall program. It does not make sense to me that we are going to have amendments offered here that are going to tell administrative agencies how much they are going to employ in a certain area, for geographical distribution, and how they are going to develop a sound and sensible program.
Now, Mr. Chairman, all of us aspire to develop all of the advantages of our resources. We are totally dedicated to the proposition. There is not a single one of us here who is not as anxious as he can be to accomplish this, or who wants to deplete, dissipate or misuse the water resources of our country. I think we are all in unity on that, but I would hate to see us come up here and fragment the total programs that have been so far established by the various committees of the Congress and thereby lose our grip on the total water resources of this country. I cannot think of anything worse, or any situation that would create more disunity and create a greater loss of hope that we can work together in the development of these programs in the future.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that the point of order raised by the gentleman from Mississippi to the amendment will be sustained.
The CHAIRMAN. Does the gentleman from Wisconsin desire to be heard on the point of order?
Mr. REUSS. Yes, I do desire to be heard, but very briefly, Mr. Chairman. This amendment is entirely germane. It is within all of the precedents as a limitation on an appropriation. It requires no duties on the part of the Secretary of Agriculture other than for him to show up at the office in the morning and find out what projects have been started. If they have been started, my amendment would not touch them. Accordingly I hope that the point of order will be ruled against.
The CHAIRMAN (Mr. WRIGHT). The Chair is ready to rule.
The Chair feels that the burden, if any, which is imposed on the Secretary of Agriculture or any administrator in the present amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin is clearly dif
ferent from that on the basis of which the Chair ruled that the amendment previously offered would be legislation on an appropriation bill, and would, therefore, be out of order. The Chair believes that this present amendment before the House follows the pattern of limitations on an appropriation bill, and that it does not constitute new legislation. Therefore the Chair overrules the point of order.
Mr. NATCHER. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin.
Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendemnt offered by the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. REUSS).
Adoption of the amendment would ultimately destroy the small watershed program enacted in 1954. Public Law 566 has provided, small watershed projects which have long been recognized as one of the finest and most technically sound resource conservation programs in America.
Congress created the Soil Conservation Service in 1935 to give local people onsite technical assistance in protecting and improving their natural resources.
Down through the years Congress provided laws and appropriations to help our Soil Conservation Service equip itself to do a better job. Today in our service we have a staff of resource specialists recognized to be the best in this country. We have soil scientists, economists, agricultural engineers, irrigation engineers, hydraulic engineers, drainage engineers, sanitary engineers, specialists in agronomy, biology, recreation, forestry, plant materials, range management, geology, sedimentation and others.
With this staff of experts the Soil Conservation Service gives technical assistance to individuals, groups, organizations, cities and towns and county and State governments in meeting a wide range of resource challenges.
Congress initiated the small watershed program in 1954 as a means of providing onsite technical assistance in watershed protection and flood prevention. It is a local effort with Federal assistance not a Federal program.
Our watershed program calls first for strong local initiative and responsibility. The application's originate with the local people.
This watershed program provides an excellent vehicle through which a community's water problems can be analyzed and rational decisions made for corrective action. It is technically and environmentally sound. It is one of our best investments. In order to feed and clothe our people we must protect our land. We only have so much good soil and we must protect it.
Adoption of this amendment would cause serious delays in projects in every State. It would kill the hopes for food protection in many communities where channel improvement is the only practicable means of providing that protection. It would increase costs of the projects. It would stop construction in watersheds where there never has been a single voice raised against the channel improvement practice.
Every Member of this body who has an interest in rural America, the small towns of America, the cities of America and the provision of an improved environment should vote against this amendment.
Mr. Chairman, I respectfully request the Members of this House to defeat this amendment.
Mr. PERKINS. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. NATCHER. I yield to my good friend and colleague from Kentucky.
Mr. PERKINS. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my colleague for yielding. I want to state that I am 100 percent in accord with his viewpoint and with the permission of the Chair I want to insert in the RECORD a letter which according to my way of thinking states why this amendment should be defeated. The letter is from Berea College and is as follows:
BEREA COLLEGE, Berea, Ky., June 18, 1971.
Hon. CARL D. PERKINS,
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE PERKINS: For the past couple of years Berea College has been working in close association with the Red Lick Creek Watershed Conservancy District and other agencies in the development of a work plan for watershed protection, flood prevention and non-agricultural water management including plans for additional municipal water supply which should assure this community of an excellent source of water for the next 65 years. With our consulting water engineers having already advised us that we have passed the time when we could have run out of water in this town during a drought year we have felt that this project should receive the highest possible priority.
We are disturbed to hear that there is a growing movement on the part of some who are questioning the channelization of natural waterways to have a moratorium on vital projects like this and other similar projects. We are pleased to report that our work plan does not include any channels whatsoever. Therefore, in your judgment if a moratorium is proposed and you think it wise to have such a project held in abeyance we will be extremely grateful if you would make an effort to have projects like ours which do not involve any channelization excluded from such a moratorium.
Incidentally, our work plan was published in August 1970 and sent to the various Federal Agencies in Washington for review and approval. We understand that this project was held up in the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife for sometime but that about a month ago their questions were successfully answered. Any effort that your office could make to expedite the review and approval of the work plan will be greatly appreciated.
We continue to be thankful for the excellent way in which you are representing the best interests of your people here in Kentucky and our efforts to promote worthwhile projects like this one. Thank you very much. Yours very truly,
KARL E. WARMING, Business Vice President.
Mr. PASSMAN. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. NATCHER. I yield to my friend and colleague from Louisiana (Mr. PASSMAN).
(Mr. PASSMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PASSMAN. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment and in support of the views of the distinguished gentleman from Kentucky.
Mr. Chairman, recently nothing has disturbed me more than the narrow viewpoint taken by a number of environmentalists.
We are all resource users. We need food, fiber, water, and land to live on. In addition, we want roads and superhighways, airports and shopping centers, factories and new housing developments.
We want places to hunt and camp. We want to go swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking. We want scenic vistas to drive through.
The basic requirement for all of this is land and water. And we don't have an inexhaustible supply of either.
No one resource can serve all the needs of all interests. In small watershed project, it is the local people who set the priorities and make the decisions for the benefit of the entire watershed.
Where channel improvement is necessary, it is incorporated in the watershed work plan or positive reasons-to restore capacity of streams that have been silted in, to restore the effectiveness of natural and manmade channels in removing excess surface and subsurface water, and to reduce flood damage on both urban and rural land.
No one undertakes channel improvement to destroy wildlife habitat. This is utter nonsense. Over the long haul, the small watershed program has made a marked improvement in fish and wildlife resources throughout the Nation.
I am opposed to the proposal to declare a moratorium on all channel work. Such unrealistic action would delay erosion
control, sediment reduction, flood prevention, and needed community water supplies in all too many areas. It would add unnecessary hardships to local sponsors who have worked hard to get their projects ready for construction.
Mr. KAZEN. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. NATCHER. I yield to the gentleman from Texas.
(Mr. KAZEN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. KAZEN. Mr. Chairman, I wish to commend the gentleman from Kentucky for the statement he has just made. I wish to associate myself with his remarks and join him in urging every member of this Committee to vote against this amendment.
Mr. ASPINALL. Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. NATCHER. I yield to the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. ASPINALL).
(Mr. ASPINALL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. ASPINALL. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.
Mr. Chairman, I support the position of those who are in opposition to the amendment. The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act was passed by the Congress in 1954 and the small watershed program initiated to meet a need to preserve, protect, and enhance the environment. I consider this one of our most important and meritorious environmental programs for the conservation and use of our natural resources. It was approved after careful research and study and has become one of our proven programs bringing substantial benefits to the Nation and particularly to American agriculture. The program has been used throughout the Nation to halt soil erosion and excessive water runoff, protect against destructive floods, provide for more efficient water management,~ develop water for growing irrigation and municipal needs, preserve and enhance fish and wildlife resources, and provide new recreation opportunities. In my opinion, this move to place a moratorium immediately on construction of channels and other drainage measures in watershed projects would upset the entire program and would adversely affect the local economics in many areas.
No one will purposely set out to harm the environment or upset the ecology, but we are reminded every day that the pursuit of almost any good can have questionable side effects. Our task is to weigh the merits and, if necessary, decide in favor of one goal or another. Permit