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LOWER COLORADO RIVER AND SALTON SEA.
JANUARY 21, 1907.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed.
Mr. LACEY, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 24363.)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 24363) relating to the Lower Colorado River and Salton Sea, having had the same under consideration, respectfully submit the following report:
Your committee, to whom was referred the message of the President upon the subject of this bill, have given the same careful consideration and a full hearing. The necessity of the proposed legislation has been very fully and clearly stated by the President in his message (S. Doc. No. 212) of January 12, 1907. On investigation your committee are of the opinion that $1,500,000 will be sufficient for the purpose of restoring the river to its proper channel and of maintaining the same by suitable works. On or about the 20th of December, 1906, the Southern Pacific Railroad Company was requested by the President to take immediate action to stay the floods which were filling the Salton Sea, destroying the Imperial Valley, and threatening the lowering of the bottom of the Colorado River so as to endanger the Laguna dam and a large area of Government and private lands, also the destroying of the Colorado River from the point of the break to its mouth.
Your committee are informed that in pursuance of such request the Southern Pacific Railroad Company is ready to proceed with the work. The company has already expended a very large sum in the attempt to stop the break in the river banks to save the Imperial Valley and lands adjacent to the Salton Sink. The Salton Sink has already filled in part, so as to cover an area of about 400 square miles. Your committee does not think proper to make any provision for refunding to the railroad company any expenditure which it may have incurred prior to December 20 last. As to the work done and to be done by that company after that date, the same can be more cheaply done by the railway company than through any other agency; therefore your committee has provided for the repayment of such expenditures made and to be made by said company subsequent to that date. It will be necessary by additional levees in the rear of the first levee and by cross levees to fortify and support the levees immediately on the banks of the stream, so as to prevent a renewal of the crevasse at other points lower down the river, the break now causing the damage being the second one that has occurred.
Your committee have prepared a substitute for the original bill, omitting the provisions as to the formation of a new irrigation district or project; leaving such subjects to be considered, if at all, under the existing reclamation law. The necessity of relief is very urgent, and from 6,000 to 10,000 people are living in the region involved. Your committee therefore recommend that the bill be amended by adopting the substitute and that the same do pass. Amend as follows:
Strike out all below the enacting clause and insert the following:
SECTION 1. That there is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars, to be expended by the Secretary of the Interior, for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a system of levees on the banks of the Colorado River in the Republic of Mexico and the Territory of Arizona as may be necessary for the protection of the public lands of the United States : Provided, That the sum so appropriated shall be repaid to the Treasury from the reclamation fund in five equal annual payments.
SEC. 2. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to arrange through the proper channels for negotiation with the Government of the Re public of Mexico for authority on the part of the United States to build and maintain the said works, and no part of the sum herein appropriated, except 80 much as may be necessary to carry out such negotiations and necessary investigations, shall be available until the Republic of Mexico sball bave granted authority for the building and maintenance of such works by the United States, and assurances against the further unprotected opening of such levees on the west bank of said river in Mexico as would jeopardize property in the United States.
SEC. 3. That of the sum appropriated in this act an amount, to be determined by the Secretary of the Interior in his discretion, may be used to repay in whole or in part, as may be equitable, the money actually expended by private agencies subsequent to December twentieth, nineteen hundred and six, on works for the sucessful turning of the course of said river from the channels in the direction of the Imperial Valley.
The writer is of the opinion that the bill should go further and authorize the creation of a reclamation district or project, with authority to operate the same through Mexican territory. Under existing law it is at least doubtful whether the project could be carried out under the reclamation act without such Congressional sanction as is provided in the original bill.
Should the Secretary of the Interior be authorized to make repairs and restore the river without authority to require that the existing reclamation works should be made over to the Government, the effect might be to, by indirection, contribute aid to the California Development Company, which could then take toll for the use of the water. If the authority to create such reclamation district should be given, the Secretary could protect the Government fully.
STURGEON BAY, ILLINOIS.
JANUARY 22, 1907.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Mann, from the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Com
merce, submitted the following
[To accompany H. J. Res. 207.)
The Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, to whom was referred the joint resolution (H. J. Res. 207) declaring Sturgeon Bay, Illinois, not navigable water, having considered the same, report thereon with amendment and as so amended recommend that it pass.
The bill as amended has the approval of the War Department, as will appear by the indorsements attached and which are made a part of this report.
Amend the bill, as follows:
In lines 11 and 12 strike out the following: "but dams and bridges may be constructed across the same."
Washington, January 5, 1907. Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War.
The object of the accompanying joint resolution (H. J. Res. 207, 59th Cong., 2d sess.) is to take portions of the east and west forks of Sturgeon Bay, in the State of Illinois, out of the list of navigable waters of the United States, in order that dams and bridges may be constructed thereover without reference to the Federal laws.
A copy of this resolution was referred to the district engineer officer, and be reports that the portion of the bay proposed to be eliminated has never been considered navigable, in fact. In view of this, I know of no objection to the favorable consideration of the resolution by Congress.
January 7, 1907. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, inviting attention to the foregoing report of the Chief of Engineers United States Army.
ROBERT SHAW OLIVER,
A88istant Secretary of War.