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AUGUST 7, 1911.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of
the Union and ordered to be printed.
SPARKMAN, from the Committee on Rivers and Harbors, sub
mitted the following
[To accompany S. 943.] The Committee on Rivers and Harbors, to whom was referred the bill (S. 943) to improve navigation on the Black Warrior River the State of Alabama, have bad the same under consideration, and recommend that the same be amended by striking out all after the enacting clause and inserting the following in lieu of the part so stricken out, and that as thus amended the bill do pass:
That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to change the detailed plans and specifications for the construction of Lock and Dam Seventeen, on the Black Warrior River, Alabama, so as to increase the height of the pool level over the dam crest of Lock Seventeen to a height of sixty-three feet above the pool level of Lock Sixteen, so as to render unnecessary the building of Locks Eighteen and Nineteen, as now authorized, and so as to provide for the extension of slack water up the Mulberry and Locust forks of the Black Warrior River to Sanders Shoals and Nichols Shoals, respectively, and for the development of water power.
SEC. 2. That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to have prepared such detailed plans and estimates as may be necessary to carry into effect the purposes of this act, and he is further authorized in his discretion to suspend operations during his investigations and to enter into supplemental agreements with the present contractors for Lock and Dam Seventeen, providing for the annulment of existing contracts or for their modification so as to cover the work required for the construction of the higher lock and dam, as he may deem most advantageous for the interests of the United States.
Sec. 3. Should the construction of the higher dam at site seventeen be found advisable the appropriations and authorizations heretofore made for the cost of locks and dams on the Black Warrior, Warrior, and Tombigbee Rivers, Alabama, shall be available for the construction of Dam Seventeen and such locks as may be necessary to overcome the lift between the pools created by Dams Sixteen and Seventeen.
SEC. 4. That the Secretary of War is authorized and empowered to enter into a contract with the Birmingham Water, Light and Power Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Alabama, its successors and assigns, for the purpose of carrying out the stipulations and performances herein mentioned. It shall be provided in said contract that the company, its successors and assigns, shall have the right to construct, maintain, own, ani operate, at its own cost, in connection with Dams and Locks Sixteen and s venteen, for a period of fifty years from the time fixed in this act for completion of the works herein authorized, electrical power stations and other structures for the development of water power for industrial
and other purposes, and for converting to its own use, benefit, and profit the power developed with the surplus water not needed for lockage, including the right to sell
, lease, or otherwise dispose of said power: Provided, That the company shall furnish and deliver, free of charge to the Government, at Locks Sixteen and Seventeen, all power necessary for the o; eration of said locks and for the lighting of the Government grounds and houses situated at said locks. The said contract shall further provide for the payment by the company to the Government of an annual rental for its use of the water power developed at Dams Sixteen and Seventeen. For a period of twenty years the rental shall be at the rate of one dollar per annum per horse power developed, which rate shall be subject to rea ijustment by the Secretary of War at the end of that period and thereafter at the end of every ten-year period. Payment or the power developed at each dam shall begin one year after the locks and dam at Seventeen shall have been completed. Beginning with the year nineteen hundred and twenty, the minimum rental to be paid to the Government by the company shall be on the basis of fifteen thousand horsepower. The company shall have ingr ss and egress over Government lands for the construction and operation of its plants and works and the right to use Government lands at or near said locks for the erect ng of power houses and appurtenances in connection therewith, subject to regulation by the Secretary of War. It shall le provided further in the contract that the company shall transfer to the Government flowage rights over all lands that will be temporarily or permanently overflowed by reason of the construction of Dam Seventeen." The Government shall have free access to. Il the books of the company and all other records necessary for ascertaining and calculating the price, rates, and amount of power produced, developed, or sold by the company at said locks and at its storage reservoir. The contract shall further provide that the works herein con'em, lated, except the storage reservoir at or near Sanders Shoals, on the Malberry Fork of the Black Warrior River, shall be commenced within one year and that the power-house foundations to be constr cted by the company as a part of the dam shall be completed at least as soon as Dam Seventeen. The said company is hereby authorized to construct said storage dam and reservoir at Sanders Shoals in accordance with the act to regulate the construction of dams across navigable waters, as amended by the act of June twenty-third, nirxteen hundred and ten: Provided, That the construction of said dam and reservoir shall be commenced within one year after the completion of Dam Seventeen, and shall be completed within ten years from the date of approval of this act.
Sec. 5. That in the exercise of the authority granted to the company herein or by said contract the company shall conform to such regulations as may be imposed by the Secretary of War for the protection of navigation and of the property and other interests of the United States. The company shall at no time lower the pool level made by the erection of Dam Sixteen, nor the pool level of Dam Seventeen below sixty-three feet above the crest of Dam Sixteen, but in order to create a storage sur plus for water-power purposes the Secretary of War may, in his discretion, permit Hash boards or a removable crest not exceeding three feet in height to be installed on Dam Seventeen by the company, at its own expense; the United States shall not be liable to said company for any failure of water power from any cause whatsoever. The work and improvements herein provided for shall be executed under the dire tion and with the approval of the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of War. To insure the performance by the company of the acts and obligations imposed upon it by said contract, the Secretary of War may require the company to execute a bond in such an amount and with such surety as he may determine to be necessary. Whenever the company shall have acquired and transferred to the United States Government flowage rights over all lands to be flooded and temporarily or permanently overflowed and shall have erected power stations sufficient to supply the Government with all necessary power to light and operate said locks, said bond may be reduced to an amount not to exceed fifty thousand dollars.
SEC. 6. All repairs, renewals, and other necessary expenditures upon the works, which the company shall be allowed to construct exclusively for the use of power generation, shall be made by the company, so that their condition shall at no time interfere with the interests of navigation: Provided, That, whenever in the opinion of the Secretary of War, the condition of said works endangers the interests of navigation, he shall notify the said company to repair the same, and if the company shall not immediately comply with the demand of the Secretary of War to make such repairs, he is hereby authorized and empowered to enter upon such works and cause them to be repaired; and the expense thereof shall constitute a debt against said company, its successors or assigns, and a lien upon all its property.
Sec. 7. That the right to alter, amend, or repeal this act is hereby expressly reserved.
The following is the report of the Committee on Commerce on the Senate bill:
[Senate Report No. 80, Sixty-second Congress, first session.] The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 943) to improve navigation on Black Warrior River, in the State of Alabama, having considered the same, report it with amendments, and as amended recommend its passage.
The bill thus amended has the approval of the War Department, as will appear by the annexed letter, the amendments referred to therein having been incorporated in the bill as reported.
Washington, June 15, 1911. The SECRETARY OF WAR.
SIR: I have the honor to return herewith a letter dated April 14, 1911, from the Senate Committee on Commerce, inclosing for the views of the department thereon S. 943, Sixty-second Congress, first session, “A bill to improve navigation on Black Warrior River, in the State of Alabama."
The object of this bill is to authorize the Secretary of War to change that part of the existing project for the improvement of Black Warrior River which involves the construction of locks and dams designated as Nos. 17, 18, and 19, the specific purpose of the proposed modification being to permit of the practicable and economical development of water power, in connection with the work of improvement, through cooperation with local industrial interests. After modifying the project the Secretary of War is empowered to enter into contract with the Birmingham Water, Light & Power Co. for the construction of the works provided for in such modified project, the consideration being the exclusive grant to the company of the right to use and dispose of the surplus power, not required for the purposes of navigation, which may be created or developed by said works.
The proposition embraced in the bill is a very important one, involving, as it does, material changes in the adopted project and the termination of an existing contract, for which reason the bill was referred for consideration to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, created by section 3 of the river and harbor act of June 13, 1902. This board has given the subject most careful study, and in its report of the 16th ultimo, to which attention is respectfully invited, the present project and proposed changes therein are fully set forth and the contemplated plan of river improvement and power development is discussed in detail.
The board reaches the conclusion that the scheme of cooperation contemplated by the bill is a worthy and desirable one, and recommends favorable action on the measure by Congress provided certain amendments designed to better safeguard the Federal interests are made therein. I concur in the views and recommendation of the board, and on a copy of the bill herewith submitted I have indicated in red the amendments considered desirable.
In this connection it should be noted that, in pursuance of a provision in the river and harbor act of March 3, 1909, a survey of Mulberry and Locust Forks of the Warrior River," has recently been completed, and the report thereon has been forwarded to Congress to-day. As this report contains information and data related to the subject matter of the bill under consideration, it is suggested that the attention of the committee be invited thereto.
It is deemed proper to add that early consideration of the bill by Congress is important, as, in the absence of congressional sanction of the proposition, the department would not be justified in suspending or delaying for any considerable period the prosecution of the work already contracted for at Dam No. 17, and unless the necessary legislation is enacted within a reasonably short time the work must proceed in accordance with the plans heretofore adopted. Very respectfully,
Acting Chief of Engineers. (First indorsement.)
WAR DEPARTMENT, June 16, 1911. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Commerce, United States Senate, inviting attention to the accompanying report of the Acting Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of yesterday's date, in whose views the department
ROBERT SAAW OLIVER,
Assistant Secretary of War.
Washington, May 16, 1911. Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
The existing project for the improvement of the Black Warrior River to the Malberry and Locust Forks provides, among other things, for the construction of Locks and Dams Nos. 17, 18, and 19, with lifts of 21, 14, and 14 feet, respectively, at estimated costs as follows: No. 17.
$547, 243 No. 18.
449, 453 No. 19..
501, 550 Contracts have been made for the construction of No. 17, and funds have either been provided or authorized for the construction of Nos. 18 and 19.
The act of March 3, 1909, provided for an examination of the Mulberry and Locust Forks of the Black Warrior River with a view to improvement, and a preliminary examination and survey have been made, resulting in a favorable recommendation to the district officer for the improvement of the two forks by the construction of one lock and dam, the Mulberry Fork extending slack water to Saunders Ferry, and two locks and dams in the Locust Fork extending slack water to Fivemile Creek, at an estimated cost originally given as $1,098,585, but now stated to be $1,181, 101.
A later recommendation by the district officer, however, provides for a modification of the proposed improvement by building Dam 18 with 42 feet lift, thus eliminating Dam 19, the dam in the Mulberry Fork, and the lower dam in the Locust Fork, the total estimated cost being $2,131,320, as compared with $2,596,831 for the work outlined above.
The method of improvement proposed in the accompanying bill provides for a dam with 63-foot lift at No. 17, thus eliminating Dams 18 and 19 in the Black Warrior River, the dam in the Mulberry Fork, and the lower dam in the Locust Fork. The district officer's estimate for the project this modified is $2,281,833, using, however, a 66-foot dam with a flight of two locks at No. 17. This estimate apparently includes the additional dam recommended by the district officer in the Locust Fork in order to carry the improvement to Fivemile Creek. This additional dam is estimated at $340,922. It will thus be seen that the modification of the project proposed in the bill provides for carrying the improvement up the forks of the river beyond the limits of the existing project to the same points that would be reached by the construction of the lock and dam with 14 feet lift in each of these forks. The additional lock and dam proposed in the Locust Fork may be omitted or included, depending upon its individual merits.
The district officer in his report upon the bill objects very strongly to any modification of the work proposed at No. 17, on account of the resulting delay in the progress of the improvement and the complications that will arise on account of the evisting contract for its construction; and he suggests that the present project be carried out at that site and a dam of 42 feet lift be built at No. 18, where work has not yet been begun, and that such power development as may be practicable be planned in connection with Nos. 17 and 18, built in this manner. He also recommends certain modifications of detail in the bill as written. He does not consider that any power development that could be obtained in connection with the proposed high dam at No. 17 would be of sufficient value to the public to justify the delay that would result in the completion of this lock and dam.
On April 3, 1911, Mr. Richard Lamb, representing certain capitalists who are interested in the proposed improvement, appeared before the board to explain the project for power development that is referred to in the accompanying bill. And again, on May 15, 1911, Mr. Lamb appeared before the board in company with Hon. J. F. Johnston, United States Senator; Hon. G. W. Taylor, Member of Congress; and Mr. B. H. Hardaway, the contractor for the construction of Lock and Dam No. 17. Mr. Lamb explained the power situation, stating that the parties with whom he is aserciated contemplated the construction of a storage and power dam at Saunders Ferry, on the Mulberry Fork; but that this work was not financially practicable unless the power company could also have the privilege of developing power that would be available with this storage at some of the Government dams. He considers it prae ticable and feasible only if the company is granted this privilege at Dam 16, as already
contemplated, and at Dam 17, modified as now proposed. The minimum power to be developed at these two dams, as given in the bill, is 15,000 horsepower. The power company is willing to provide the flowage rights and to build such works as may be required for the development of the power, including the part of the dam that is occupied by the power house and the provision of flashboards on the dam, and, furthermore, is willing to pay a rental for the power developed at Dams 16 and 17.
The board considers this plan for power development to be the most favorable one that has been proposed, and to be very desirable of accomplishment if it is found to be practicable to carry it out in such a manner as to reduce the ultimate cost to the United States of the improvement in the interests of navigation. The increase in cost, as compared with the plan recommended by the district officer is estimated by him at $150,513 for a 66-foot dam, and would of course be less than this for a 63-foot dam. Omitting the upper dam proposed in the Locust Fork, which is not recommended by the board at the present time, the slack-water improvement without provision for power develop, ment could be provided according to the estimates of the district officer at a cost of $1,790,398. The increased cost in order to provide for power development would therefore be something less than $150,513. The interest on this sum at 3 per cent would be $4,515. The cost of the improvement in the interests of navigation would not be diminished unless the annual rental of the power company would be greater than this amount. The board believes that the rental should be at the uniform rate of $1 per horsepower for all power developed at Dams 16 and 17 and used for industrial purposes, for a period of 20 years, and thereafter to be subject to determination by the Secretary of War for 10-year periods. According to the minimum estimate of 15,000 horsepower given in the bill, this would produce an annual revenue of $15,000 for the power development as completed, with the probability of considerable increase in future years when the power becomes more valuable. In order to justify the original expenditure to enable the power developments to be made, the board considers that a minimum annual payment of $5,000 should be required after the completion of Lock and Dam No. 17.
The board therefore recommends favorable action upon the plan of power development proposed in connection with the accompanying bill, but suggests that certain features of the bill should be modified, as follows:
Section 3: 'l his should be modified to provide that the Secretary of War may enter into supplemental agreements with the present contractors at No. 17, providing either for the annulment of the existing contracts or their modification so as to cover work required for the construction of the higher lock and dam, as he may deem most advantageous for the interests of the United States.
Section 4: This may be omitted as not necessary.
Section 6: A provision should be inserted to the effect that the work of power development, including the company's storage dam and works at the head of Saunders Shoals, shall be commenced within 2 years and completed within 10 years. The rental should be fixed at the rate of $1 per horsepower per annum for all power developed at Nos. 16 and 17 and used for industrial purposes, for a period of 20 years after the power is developed, the rental thereafter to be determined by the Secretary of War subject to revision of the rate at the end of each 10-year period; provided that the payment of rental shall be at least $5,000 per annum after the completion of Lock and Dam No. 17 whether any power has been developed or not. The provision relating to flowage rights should cover all land either temporarily or permanently overflowed.
Section 7: A provision should be inserted that the flash boards shall be provided by the power company.
It is understood that the principal work of construction on Lock and Dam No. 17 now under construction can be so conducted for several months as to be adapted to a height of either 21 feet or 63 feet, and this will give a limited opportunity to make necessary arrangements for change of plans, if authorized by Congress, without interfering materially with the progress of the work. If such arrangements can not be effected in a reasonable e, the work at No. 17 should be carried forward in accordance with the existing project. For the board :
Wm. T. ROSSELL, Colonel, Corps of Engineers, Senior Member of the Board.