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to temporarily divert enough water to take care of the health of the city?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Enough water? I don't think it is the duty of Lake Michigan to sewer the city of Chicago. I believe any material diversion for any purpose is illegal.
The CHAIRMAN. And you think that that question ought to be taken up after the Supreme Court has decided the legal question?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Yts. The Great Lakes are for navigation and are not interested in sewering the city of Chicago or supplying water power at any point along the waterway that has been or will be constructed.
Mr. MANSFIELD. That is true; but this condition is already in existence, and the lives of 3,000,000 people there are to be considered.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. I realize the conditions existing in Chicago. The city I live in is a Chicago town, near by; we are in direct communication with it by rail and boat and a great deal of our business is transacted there. I realize conditions there and perhaps they must be taken care of temporarily, although, in my judgment, they are being taken care of illegally and to the detriment of the Great Lakes and those who live on them and have business on them.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, they have voluntarily gotten themselves into an illegal position, but you have to give them such consideration as is absolutely necessary?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I presume that temporary consideration may properly be given them.
Mr. Lyon. Well, if that is true, we may have to do that to protect the health conditions of the town; do you not think we ought to legalize it if we can? Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Legalize it at our expense? No. You say, if
That is a condition of affairs that this committee, in the first instance, must consider. The question of whether or not it can be legally done ought to be determined by the decision of the Supreme Court, for which we are waiting. The CHAIRMAN. Are you a lawyer?
Mr. MCLAUGHLin. I am an attorney. I am an atorney, licensed to practice.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it not considered a bad practice for a litigant having gotten into court to go to the legislature to anticipate the decision?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I have that opinion and have expressed it in my written statement.
Mr. Louis L. BEHAN, of Chicago. Does the Congressman from Michigan understand the right of Congress to legislate on this very question is not involved in the proceedings now pending in the United States Supreme Court?
Mr. MĈLAUGHLIN. I do not know what matters are directly in issue in the suit before the Supreme Court, but many of those interested in the matter are hoping that the opinion of the court will cover the entire proposition.
The CHAIRMAN. The entire field?
Mr. BEHAN. The Congressman understands, however, that the Supreme Court will undoubtedly confine itself to the issues involved in the lawsuit.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. That is usually the case, but this is a great big proposition, and the court will realize that the entire matter ought to be, and some time must be, determined by that court.
Mr. BEHAN. Does the Congressman understand that the War Department's position in times past has been predicated upon the point that it was up to Congress to determine the amount of diversion, and that the War Department would merely grant temporary permits until such time as Congress had legislated ?
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, what Mr. Behan asked is
The CHAIRMAN. All right. I would suggest
The CHAIRMAN. I would suggest to the witness that what he means is that the opinion of the Secretary of War, who very rarely is a lawyer, and the Chief of Engineers, who never is a lawyer, is to be weighed in determining what the judgment of the Supreme Court should be.
Mr. BEHAN. That is not Mr. Behan's question at all Mr. Chairman. I am willing, with due respect to the chairman, to leave my question in the record as it is.
The CHAIRMAN. I will leave it in the record as it is. I have the right to make a remark, which I will make. Kindly sit down.
Mr. BEHAN. Without being disrespectful, I would like to say this: I am willing, of course, to have the chairman direct any questions, but my question is my question, with all due respect to the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN.. The chairman does not think the question is material or that the opinion of the Secretary of War, who very rarely is a lawyer, or the opinion of the Chief of Engineers, who never is a lawyer, would have any particular bearing upon the question at issue.
Mr. MORGAN. May I just ask a question?
Mr. MORGAN. Just a minute. I have served on a good many committees and I have never witnessed such proceedings as are going on now. I would like to have the question answered by Mr. McLaughlin, the question asked by the gentleman over here [indicating].
The CHAIRMAN. I will put it to the committee to say whether it shall be answered.
(The question was repeated by the reporter, as follows:) Mr BEHAN. Does the Congressman understand that the War Department's position in times past has been predicated upon the point that it was up to Congress to determine the amount of diversion and that the War Department would merely grant temporary permits until such time as Congress had legislated?
Mr. Morgan. I would like to have the question answered.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I have stated that I am not familiar with the points at issue in the suit now pending before the Supreme Court.
The gentleman may be right, that the question of law which I suggest is not raised there. I know that the Secretary of War, and, perhaps, the Chief of Engineers, has suggested that it was up to Congress to legislate. I venture to say, in spite of what those gentlemen have said,
that the Congress has no right to legislate to permit diversion of water from Lake Michigan in such volume as seriously to interfere with and embarrass the commerce of the Great Lakes; that those lakes are for navigation purposes, not for sewage purposes, not for the purpose of generating electric power or to supply other waterways. I question very seriously, under our Constitution, the right of Congress to legislate water out of Lake Michigan or any of the Great Lakes.
Mr. Hull. I would like to ask a question there. Would that preclude Niagara Falls from generating power?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Oh, that comes naturally. At Niagara Falls we have a natural situation.
Mr. HULL. It is different, then, from any other natural situation?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. The conditions developed and permitted to exist at Chicago are artificial. Each situation, natural as well as artificial, has its own facts and circumstances, all to be taken into consideration when the Congress or the courts determine the respective rights
Mr. HULL. Then, as I understand you, it is all right to generate power so far Niagara Falls is concerned, but not right to generate power at Chicago; that is your answer?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Yes; if the diversion of water at Chicago interferes with navigation of the lakes.
Mr. HULL. But it would make no diference if it interfered with navigation at Niagara Falls ?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. The condition at Niagara are natural conditions. It is not similar at all, in my judgment, to conditions at Chicago, or as to the waters of Lake Michigan.
The CHAIRMAN. Then you understand, do you not, Mr. McLaughlin, also that the water at Niagara Falls is returned to the river less than a quarter of a mile below the point where it is diverted, or at any rate within a very short distance?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. I do not know the particulars of the matter of which the Chairman speaks, but I am firmly impressed that the use of water at Niagara Falls does not interfere in any manner whatever with navigation. The Great Lakes, their harbors and their locks and channels are solely for navigation purposes.
Now, about taking water for Chicago, to sewer the city or anything else, why, I have no objection to their taking water there, if it does not interfere with our business and our property. I have no objection to their taking water there if it will not interfere with the navigation of the Lakes. I feel in that respect a good deal as the man did who was speaking of going up in an airplane, and who was not very much enamored of the idea. He said, “I don't mind going up, and I don't care how high you go, just so I can keep one foot on the ground.” And so you can take the water if you have a right to take and need it, if by doing so you do not interfere with our rights, our business, or our property.
Mr. Lyon. You spoke of the water being too shallow to accommodate these big boats. Is that shoal water found in the channels of the harbors or in the lakes?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Both.
Mr. Lyon. Could that condition be corrected by a reasonable amount of dredging?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. It might involve the reconstruction of the harbors in the Great Lakes, but many of them are built in such a way, piers so near together, that only a limited depth can be permitted. If a greater depth is attempted, the sides will slough off, slough into a channel, and the harbors will be destroyed.
Mr. HULL. How deep are the channels usually?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. It was only a few years ago, that I remember a Member representing a district in the eastern part of our State asked that the St. Clair River, which passes the city of Port Huron be deepened, the channel there. The St. Clair River leads from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair. It is a channel now maintained by the Corps of Engineers. The reply to that request was that it was dangerous to deepen that channel because it would take too much water, permit water to flow in too large a volume from Lake Huron south.
Mr. HULL. Did they deepen the channel in some places? Mr. McLAUGHLIN. They have been deepening those channels within reasonable limits.
Mr. Hull. And is not that a great deal of the cause of the lowering of the lakes——the deepening of that channel? Is not that materially the cause of it?
Mr. BARRETT. May I ask a question?
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. There is a firm belief that diversion of water, illegally going on at Chicago-because there is no question that they are far exceeding the 4,167 cubic feet per second permitted by the Secretary of War years ago—there is a firm belief that that diversion of water is largely responsible for the lowering of lake levels and the shallowing of the channels and harbors.
Mr. HULL. I want to ask you if that is not one of the main causes of the lowering of the lake levels—the deepening of thes channels?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. The deepening of the channel I spoke about at Port Huron was not permitted.
Mr. HULL. But you say that they are deepening one. What one is it?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. There are channels that have been deepened and widened, and repaired in one way and another, but always and in every instance only as aids to navigation. The Great Lakes, its channels and harbors are for navigation and their waters, can not be legally diverted.
Mr. Hull. And that is the cause, is it not, of the lowering of the water in the harbors?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. That may have had something to do with it, but everything done was in aid of navigation, carefully and scientifically done by Government engineers.
Mr. HULL. Sure.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Channels in the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers were constructed a long time ago, and lake levels, as a result of that, or after that, were sufficient to enable the proper navigation of these rivers and other channels. Now, all levels are too low, embarrassing and dangerous to commerce.
Mr. HULL. The real truth of the matter is that the boats are operating just the same.
Mr. MCLAUGHLIN. Not just the same, no sir. Last year large freight boats had to run 10 per cent light on account of shallow water. Records are conclusive to that effect.
Mr. MORGAN. May I ask you a question? It has been reported here by reason of the diversion of water that the lake has been lowered about 54 inches. Do you happen to have any definite information upon that?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I get information to the same effect. The CHAIRMAN. I have no doubt but that there will be charts presented here before we get through with the hearing and the Chief of Engineers will be called also, but I think they have charts. Now, just one moment, Congressman, before you leave. The gentlemen from Illinois has referred to the deepening of what I suppose is Livingstone Channel. That was done for the sole purpose of aiding, and it did aid navigation.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. Yes; and that has been the effect of it, Changes were scientifically made for the benefit of navigation, not to interfere with it or destroy it.
Mr. HULL. Was not that because of lowering the lake levels? He has been asked that and said it was.
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. I said that may have been the result. Perhaps the deepening of these channels had that effect, but it was all as an aid to and in the interest of navigation; it is not for the purpose of sewage or for the purpose of generating electric power in a distant part of the country.
Mr. O'CONNOR. Will you permit a question?
Mr. O'CONNOR. With reference to this great steamer, which I understand some one said was the largest one in the world, building at Detroit
The CHAIRMAN. It is a passenger steamer. Mr. O'CONNOR. Is that steamer built in view of the present conditions that are existing with reference to the reduced water level?
Mr. McLAUGHLIN. The only information I have about it is the statement of the chairman, and that I get from newspapers.
The CHAIRMAN. I understand that passenger vessels take much less draft than the freight vessels. It is the freight vessels that require the greatest depth of water possible. That is my understanding.
Mr. MANSFIELD. Ought we not to request some one to furnish for the record a brief statement of the issues involved in the pending legislation in the Supreme Court of the United States?
The CHAIRMAN. What I would suggest in that connection, Mr. Mansfield, is this: I have no doubt we will have the bills of complaint and answers, and then I will endeavor to see that abstracts are made of those, short abstracts, so the committee can see just exactly what the issues are.