« AnteriorContinuar »
PEKIN, ILI.., Alarck, 15. 1924. Hon. S. WALLACE DEMPSEY,
Vember Congress, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: As a landowner in the Illinois River Valley I am very much interested in bills pending in the House concerning proposed legislation to bring about a deep waterway in the Illinois River.
I have attended a number of meetings of Illinois River Valley landowners at which bill H, R. 5475 has been discussed. I have examined this bill with care and believe that it is an unfair bill from the standpoint of landowners along the Illinois River.
It is common knowledge that the Sanitary District of Chicago has brought about pollution of the waters of the Illinois River and made of the Illinois River a cesspool for Chicago sewage. It is also common knowledge that a great amount of water which has been turned into the Illinois River through the sanitary district canal has resulted in great damage to lands along the Illinois River and to levees that have been constructed from time to time to protect the lower lands from this additional flow of water.
I am interested in over 2,000 acres of land which is protected by dikes and levees from overflow and I think I appreciate, in a measure, how important it is to landowners along the river that deep waterway legislation take into account the rights of these landowners, especially as regards the privileges which may accrue to the Sanitary District of Chicago in such legislation.
It is my position that all damages caused to the Illinois River Valley by the pollution of the water of the Illinois River by the Chicago sewage which comes through the sanitary district canal should be paid for by the sanitary district and that the health and comfort of the people in that valley in the future be protected from such pollution.
With thousands of others in that valley, I am opposed to making the Illinois River a cesspool for Chicago slop.
I further oppose the withdrawal of any water from Lake Michigan through the sanitary district canal into the Des Plaines River and thence into the Illinois River in any amount greater than 1,000 cubic feet per second, and I am opposed to the withdrawal of water from Lake M an through tlie sanitary district canal for the purpose of creating power.
It is unquestionably practical for Chicago to construct proper sewage-disposal plants to treat and care for the entire sewage of that city, and I favor legislation that will require the sanitary district to construct such plants and bring them to completion at the earliest possible date.
Legislation that takes into account only the health of the Chicago citizens without giving consideration to the rights of the Illinois River Valley landowners is unfair and means financial disaster and distress to hundreds if not thousands of people living along the Illinois River and having interests in the valley.
In my opinion any legislation that is enacted by Congress should bring about protection from said water by a plan for building and maintaining proper levees at the cost of the Federal Government.
I am also firmly opposed to the flow of water from Lake Michigan through said canal being under the direction and control of the sanitary district. It should be under the sole and complete control at all times of the Secretary of War and the Chief Engineer of the War Department of the Federal Government. Such legislation should also bring about the removal of the State and Federal dams in the Illinois River,
Many meetings have been held in various cities along the Illinois River during the past few months by various associations for the purpose of discussing these questions.
Congressman William E. Hull, who introduced bill H. R. 5475, has succeeded in getting his bill indorsed by various organizations and associations from time to time. The Association of Commerce of the city of Pekin indorsed his bill. I know I can safely say that the action of the association does not even in a small measure represent the attitude of the people at large in regard to this bill.
It is common knowledge in this vicinity that bill H. R. 5475 was drawn by an attorney who represents the Sanitary District of Chicago.
While the citizens of the territory favor deep waterway, they do not favor it at the expense of the health of the Illinois River Valley nor under conditions which mean financial disaster to landowners in that valley without number.
I sincerely trust that the Committee on Rivers and Harbors, of which you are shairman, will give some heed to those like me who are ritally interested in sting that no unfair legislation is enacted in this particular. Respectfully yours,
PEORIA. ILL. March 21. 1924. RIVERS AND HAZERS COMMISSION,
Washington, D.C. IrEAR Sız: At a meeting of the Peoria and Tazewell County Wild Life Association, held in the assembly room of the Association of Commerce Building, Peoria, IIL, on March 12. 1924, the following resolutions were passed:
Whereas there is now pending in Congress certain bills providing that a canal with a 9-foot channel be constructed from Lake Michigan to a point in the Illinois River known as Utica; and
Whereas the real purpose of said canal is for the disposal of the sewage of the city of Chicago and environs, and
Whereas said bill provides that the volume of water for said purpose shall te at the rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second; and
Whereas the sanitary district of Chicago is now using 10,000 cubic feet per secund for the purpose of carrying sewage into the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers; and
Whereas said sanitary district has been for a number of years discharging a volume of 10.000 cubic feet per second into said river and thereby have destroyed the sloughs, bayous, and back waters along said river and in consequence thereof the natural spawning grounds of the fish life and other life. together with the birds and wild fowl that made this place their habitat have been ruined and destroyed; and
Whereas prior to the time the said sanitary district of Chicago was allowed to turn their sewage into Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers the Illinois River was second to the Columbia River in the fishing industry and a sportsman's paradise, and now by reason of the pollution and enormous increase of water the said Illinois River is practically destitute of fish and animal life in its waters as far down as the city of Peoria, Ill. ; and
Whereas the destruction of fish and animal life in the Illinois River is a distinct economic loss to the people of Ilionis and the entire Nation : Therefore be it
Resolred, That all bills now pending in Congress providing for a discharge of 10,000 cubic feet per second into the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers for the purpose of sanitary conditions or for navigation be defeated or amended so as to allow not to exceed 4,167 cubic feeť per second, or less if possible; that the pollution of the water so used and discharged into the Des Plaines and Illinois Rivers be controlled by the placing of disposal plants by said sanitary district; that said plants be of sufficient capacity to purify the aforesaid water of all solid matters deleterious to public health or water life; that additional disposal plants be provided for as the population of the city of Chicago and environs is increased; be it further
Resolred, That the engineers of the War Department of the United States of America determine the per cent of solid matter necessary to be removed in order to purify the said water; be it further
Resolved, That the Peoria and Tazewell Wild Life Association, with a membership of 8,000 citizens of Illinois, offer the above resolutions as a protest against any legislation that does not correct the above conditions; be it further
Resolred, That a copy of these resolutions be forwarded to the proper authorities in Washington, D. (., and that they be made part of the minutes of this meeting.
FRED A. Bock, President.
PEORIA, ILL., March 15, 1925. S WALLACE DEMPSEY,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: Allow me to present one of the many objections that I have to H. R. 5475, which is now before the Committee on Rivers and Harbors for consideration. The objection is advanced deferentially because of my warm jersonal regard for the sponsor of the bill.
This bill authorizes in perpetuity the withdrawal from Lake Michigan by the Sanitary District of Chicago of 10,000 cubic feet of water per second. The announced purpose of the withdrawal of this stupendous quantity of water is to maintain a channel 9 feet in depth in a waterway connecting Lake Michigan with the Mississippi River. The proponents of this bill are frantically eager to have this withdrawal permitted not only for all tme but to begin immediately, although the Illinois waterway authorized by the Illinois General Assembly in 1919, and now in course of construction, will not be completed for 10 years or more. Why the great hurry if the maintenance of a 9-foot waterway is the true object of this diversion ?
Furthermore, the highest engineering authorities contend that a much less flow will maintain a 9-foot depth in the waterway when finally constructed. Gen. W. H. Bixby, then chief of engineers of the United States Army, in 1911 stated: “For the purposes of navigation a diversion from Lake Michigan of less than 1,000 second feet of water is all that will be necessary.” Why grant in perpetuity ten times what is needed and ten years before any is needed? To grant this excessive amount will produce such a strong current in the waterway when completed as to interfere greatly with navigation rather than to promote it. Would it not be advisable to reserve the right of the Government to regulate the flow according to the needs of navigation as demonstrated by actual experience? Why should the Sanitary District of Chicago have the privilege for all time of diverting 10,000 cubic feet of water per second from Lake Michigan regardless of its effect upon navigation on the Illinois waterway or the damage that is done thereby in other ways?
Page advertisements carried by the Sanitary District of Chicago in many Illinois papers advance the argument that that quantity of water is required for sewage disposal and that a less quantity will result in epidemies and loss of life in the city of Chicago. If a diversion of 10,000 cubic feet is to be permitted for sewage disposal purposes then the authorization should be in the nature of temporary relief and should cease when the necessity for it no longer exists. The period for which the withdrawal is granted should be the very shortest that will enable the Sanitary District of Chicago to install sewage reduction and purification plants. Such reduction plants call for only a nominal amount of water for their proper operation, so that in all likelihood no water except that withdrawn by the water supply system of Chicago will be needed. Since 10,000 cubic feet of water per second are not needed to maintain a 9-foot waterway and that quantity if needed for sewage disposal should be needed for a short time only. then why does the Sanitary District of Chicago desire the permanent privilege of diverting 10,000 cubic feet per second from Lake Michigan? Either the Sanitary District of Chicago entertains the belief that with this quantity of water it can continue indefinitely to flush its untreated, unreduced sewage down the Illinois Valley as it has done for 25 years in defiance of the Illinois statute that gave it existence or it is willing for a million dollars a year that it gets from water-power development to cause many times that amount of damage yearly to other interests. Nothing should be done by the Congress to delay or to enable the Sanitary District of Chicago to delay the installation of sewage reduction and purification plants. Already the sewage from the Sanitary District of Chicago has so polluted the Illinois River as to virtually destroy all fish and other water life, to make unpleasant all boating and other water sports, and to create such a nauseating stench as to make undesirable the habitation of homes along the river. Surely the Congress under the guise of a waterway bill does not intend to fasten this scourge upon the inhabitants of the Illinois Valley. My six years' service in the House of Representatives built up within me a confidence in its good intentions that assures me now that such a great injustice will not be done especially to allow an outlaw like the Sanitary District of Chicago to evade the injunctive action of the Federal courts.
Fourteen years after the suit was filed, during which time the Sanitary District of Chicago was so improvident or so drunk with power that it thought it unnecessary to make preparation for adverse action, the Supreme Court is to shortly have the opportunity to bring this flagrant law violator to justice.
The Sanitary District of Chicago has been able to prevent the enactment of remedial legislation by the Illinois General Assembly by carrying its leading members and other influential politicians of the State on its pay rolls at large salaries, but such methods, I am convinced, will not win but will bring for it scorn and repudiation in the National House of Representatives.
Later, other objections to vicious features of this alleged waterway bill will be presented by me.
In conclusion, permit me to state that I am writing as a citizen of Peoria and not as attorney for any individual, corporation, or interest, and I am persuaded that I express the almost unanimous sentiment of this territory despite the expensive propaganda that has been carried on by the Sanitary District of Chicago to delude and deceive the people as to the objects and purposes of this proposed legislation. Very truly yours,
CLÁUDE U. STONE.
MCGRATH, STONE, DAILY & MICHEL,
Peoria, IV., March 20, 1924. Hon. WALLACE DEMPSEY, Chairman Rivers and Harbors Committee,
Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: I wish on behalf of the people living in the Valley of the Illinois to thank you for your stand against H. R. 5475. The Sanitary District of Chicago is the greatest menace within the borders of our State. It can be likened to a great reptile, with its head in Chicago and its body winding down through the fertile Valley of the Illinois. It feeds upon the filth of Chicago and drinks its water from Lake Michigan. The filth taken in at its head oozes out of the pores of its body along the way, carrying destruction and stench in its path. Its body grows and lengthens out each year, the rapidity of its growth being controlled by the amount of water it can get from the lake. It has grown to such proportions that it has enveloped our legislature and all other agencies to which we can look for protection. It has even been able to defy the War Department of our Federal Government for the past 20 years. It took the Government 17 years to get a decision in its injunction suit in Chicago, so you can imagine how fruitless are any efforts of ours. There is but one way to kill this monster and that is to shut off its water supply. Without water it must die.
The sponsors of this bill contend it is a waterway bill. There is no such thing as a combined waterway and a sewer. The sewer destroys the waterway and all else it encompasses. If there was a channel 9 feet deep and 200 feet wide the entire length of the Illinois it would be of no value as a waterway if it also carried the unreduced sewage of Chicago and the 49 other towns in the sanitary district. This bill makes no adequate provision for the ultimate removal of the sewage at any time in the future. It gives the district until 1945 to take care of the sewage corresponding to a population of 4,200,000 people, a very indefinite and difficult thing to determine. The present population of the district is approximately 3,200,000 people. The trade wastes from the stockyards, packing houses and other sources is equal to an additional 2,000,000, so if the program in this bill was carried out immediately, not waiting until 1945, it would not take care of the present sewage. The population of Chicago is increasing at the rate of 100,000 to 150,000 per year, and with the increased population comes the increased trade wastes. If the district carried out the program outlined in this bill to the letter it would not even take care of the increased sewage and in 1945 we would find ourselves in worse condition than we are now.
Further, on the waterway feature, there is no waterway for navigation purposes to run the water in from Lockport to Utica, a distance of 60 miles, and will not be until the State of Illinois builds it. They started in 1919 and in five years have not succeeding in completing one lock, with two or three more to build and not a foot of the canal dug. The work is now held up by injunction and if it is ever completed it won't be for ten or fifteen years. There is no need for any water for a waterway at this time. The only thing needing water is the sanitary district.
The only hope of our people lies in Congress refusing to pass any legislation that takes the power away from the War Department to regulate the flow from Lake Michigan. If the Supreme Court upholds the injunctional order of the district court, which it will no doubt do, the War Department will then be in a position to force obeyarce of its orders and can, by gradually reducing the flow thereby, force the district to install reduction plants which will in turn take the sewage out of the river, without in any way endangering the lives of
the people of Chicago or bring about the much advertised pestilence, or hamper the development of a waterway.
The lives and the pleasures of the people of Chicago are no more sacred than ours. The Illinois river in its natural state was a blessing, furnishing food and wholesome recreation for thousands who had, and those who had not the means to enjoy other resorts. To-day it is a silent, sullen, menace carrying upon its once pure, vibrant bosom nothing but that which is dead and rotting, while above it and perched upon the deadened branches along its course hovers the detested somber carrion; a monument to the greedy selfishness of Chicago, and the stupendous stupidity of a supine legislature.
Those who would fasten this upon us for eternity }in the name of a waterway are too void of vision or too base at heart to represent a free people.
I wish to assure you that it is indeed heartening when those to whom we should naturally look for succor have lost their way in the bog to hear a friendly voice in the offing.
We look to you and your type in the Congress in this our hour of need, and assure you an appreciation for any effort in our behalf beyond the power of language to express. Very truly yours,
SHELTON F. MCGRATH.
MCGRATH, STONE, DAILY & MICHEL,
Peoria, Ill., March 26, 1924. Hon. WALLACE DEMPSEY,
Chairman Rivers and Harbor's Committee, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: The more we dig into this "alleged waterway" legislation the more ridiculous it becomes. I have come to the conculsion that there will nerer, at least not in our life time, be a waterway from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi in the Illinois River for this reason as I have written you before. Before any waterway can be had, it is necessary for the State of Illinois to construct the " Illinois waterway," a canal together with its locks and dams, etc., a distance of approximately 60 miles, from Utica to Lockport. The only money available for the doing of this work is $20,000,000, and in order to get that amount it was necessary in 1908 to obtain an amendment to the constitution of the State of Illinois. That amount is all that can possibly be raised for this project without another amendment to the constitution which you know is a very hard, tedious, task to accomplish. That provision of the constitution of our State involved in this matter is as follows:
“ Separate section 3. Canals and waterways—(State aid prohibted): The Ilpois and Michigan canal, or other canal or waterway owned by the State, shall never be sold or leased until the specific proposition for the sale or lease thereof shall first have been submitted to a vote of the people of the State at a general election, and have been approved by a majority of all the votes polled at such election. The general assembly shall never loan the credit of the State or make appropriations from the treasury thereof, in aid of railroads or canals: Provided, That any surplus earnings of any canal, waterway, or water power, may be appropriated or pledged for its enlargement maintenance or extension; and Provided further, that the general assembly may, by suitable legislation, provide for the construction of a deep waterway or canal from the present water power plant of the Sanitary District of Chicago, at or near Lockport, in the township of Lockport, in the county of Will, to a point in the Illinois River at or near Utica, which may be practical for a general plan, and scheme of deep waterway along a route, which may be deemed most advantageous for such plan of deep waterway; and for the erection, equipment and maintenance of power plants, locks, bridges, dams, and appliances sufficient and suitable for the development and utilization of the water power thereof; and authorize the issue, from time to time, of bonds of this State in a total amount not to exceed $20,000,000, which shall draw interest, payable semiatinually at a rate not to exceed four per cent per annum, the proceeds whereof may be applied as the general assembly may provide, in the construction of said waterway and in the erection, equipment and maintenance of said power plants, locks, bridges, dams and appliances.
* All power developed from said waterway may be leased in part or in whole, as the General Assembly may by law provide; but in the event of any lease being so executed, the rental specified therein for water power shall