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ON THE POTOMAC RIVER
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
UNITED STATES SENATE
A BILL PROVIDING FOR PRESERVATION OF THE GREAT FALLS
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
A BILL PROVIDING FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF HYDRO-
THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
FEBRUARY 15, 1928
Printed for the use of the Committee on the District of Columbia
COMMITTEE ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
ARTHUR CAPPER, Kansas, Chairman WESLEY L. JONES, Washington.
WILLIAM H. KING, Utah. COLEMAN T. DU PONT, Delaware.
CARTER GLASS, Virginia. FREDERIC M. SACKETT, Kentucky.
ROYAL S. COPELAND, New York. ARTHUR R. GOULD, Maine.
EDWARD I. EDWARDS, New Jersey. JOHN J. BLAINE, Wisconsin.
M. M. NEELY, West Virginia. BRONSON CUTTING, New Mexico.
WILLIAM CABELL BRUCE, Maryland. WILLIAM H. SOUDERS, Clerk 0. H. BRINKMAN, Assistant Clerk
ELECTRIC POWER OR PARK DEVELOPMENT ON THE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 1928
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to call, at 3 o'clock p. m., in the committee room, Capitol, Senator Arthur Capper, chairman, presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will begin hearings on what are known as the Great Falls power and park bills. There are two of these bills before the committee, one introduced by myself, S. 1280, prepared by Col. U. S. Grant representing the ideas of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, of which the chairman of this committee is an ex-officio member. This bill provides for the taking over of certain lands along the Potomac, between Georgetown and the Great Falls, as a park project.
Then there is the other bill, known as the Norris bill, S. 1749, which has been before our committee many years. This committee has several times reported favorably the Norris bill and I think it has passed the Senate three times. The Norris bill provides for development of Great Falls hydroelectric power by the Government. It is based upon reports made by Major Tyler, United States Army engineer, favorable to the project.
Colonel Grant will be here shortly at my request to make a statement in support of the bill which I introduced on my own initiative after its preparation and discussion by the members of the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, but before reference to the Budget Bureau. There is a gentleman here who would like to be heard as soon as possible in order that he may leave the city. I think he is supporting the park measure. I will call on Mr. Warren H. Manning to make a statement after inserting in the record at this point both bills.
[S. 1280, Seventieth Congress, first session] A BILL Providing for preservation of the Great Falls of the Potomac and the establishment there of
public park with connecting parkways, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in order to preserve, just outside the National Capital, an area of outstanding grandeur, scenic beauty, and biological, scientific, and historic interest, including the Great Falls of the Potomac, the waterfalls, ledges, and valleys of Difficult Run, Scotts Run, and Cabin John Creek, bird and plant sanctuaries noted among scientists, the remains of the river locks and the iron furnace erected by George Washington, the forested bluffs and the islands and rapids of the Potomac, and the canal along the Maryland shore with its picturesque locks, thus providing for land and water sports and a great variety of outdoor recreation for the people of the Nation the National Capital Park and Planning Commission is hereby authorized to establish at this place a public park and suitable connecting parkways, and to that end is hereby authorized to acquire, by gift, devise, or purchase, and where not so obtainable at prices, reasonable in its judgment, by condemnation under the act of Congress approved August 1, 1888 (Twenty-fifth Statutes at Large, page 357), such lands or rights in land lying along the Potomac in Virginia, from the Key Bridge to and above the Great Falls, and in Maryland, including the lands acquired for the right of way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, from the line of the District of Columbia to and above the Great Falls, as shall be, in the judgment of said commission, necessary and desirable to carry out the purposes set forth. For such purposes there is hereby authorized to be appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, in such amounts as Congress shall determine, a sum not exceeding $4,000,000.
Sec. 2. The lands acquired under this act shall be transferred to the Director of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital for custody, development, and maintenance, subject to the laws of Maryland or Virginia providing for service of process of the courts of said States. The funds required for such control, development, and maintenance are hereby authorized to be appropriated as may become necessary from time to time, out of any moneys in the Treasury, and all such expenditures shall be accounted for as a separate fund.
(S. 1749, Seventieth Congress, first session] A BILL Providing for the development of hydroelectric energy at Great Falls for the benefit of the United
States Government and the District of Columbia Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to construct all the dams and other necessary works for the development of hydroelectric power at Great Falls within the limitations of, and in accordance with, the recommendations made by Major M. C. Tyler in Senate Document Numbered 403, Sixty-sixth Congress, third session.
The Federal Water Power Commission is hereby authorized to make any modifications or changes in the plans of Major Tyler that in their judgment may be necessary to increase the maximum amount of hydroelectric energy that can be developed therefrom, and if any such changes or modifications are made, the Secretary of War shall modify said plans accordingly and construct said works in accordance therewith.
STATEMENT OF WARREN H. MANNING, REPRESENTING THE
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Manning, will you tell us what organization you are connected with?
Mr. MANNING. I represent the American Society of Landscape Architects which, at their annual meeting, took action favoring the setting aside of Great Falls as a public reservation, as a part of the park system that is being planned for Washington and the adjacent district.
I am also on the committee and an officer of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, the American Civic Association, the American Institute of Park Executives, and I am a member of the City Planning Institute, so that I think I can fully represent those interests.
I am here in support of the bill that Senator Capper introduced for the national commission, because it seems to me, and I am sure I represent my own organization in speaking, that the scenic value that this and the adjacent land has, ought to be acquired as a part of a national park system. This is one of the scenic features that surely ought to be held intact.
I, of course, can not say as to the value of the water power, excepting that it may be a matter of interest to know that one of the officers of the Tennessee Power Co. and the Alabama Power Co., one of its principal officers, told me that many water powers now have apparently little value in comparison with the low cost of production of power from coal. That, of course, is not a matter that I can offer an opinion on. I can simply state that as having come to me from at least three men at the head of great organizations that have to do with the development and the distribution of power.
Of course, you all recognize that the expansion of the future must be developed more and more along natural lines, topographical lines, and you will see evidence of that in such action as has been taken by New York and Pennsylvania and Delaware in their joint control of the Delaware River for water supply, and in this Mississippi problem that is coming up; and that is one phase of planning that I think ought to receive pretty serious attention, the fitting of our political units to the topography, and this, of course, applies to the holding of a reservation of this character on the Potomac that leads right up to points of very great historic interest and into a region of very great scenic value.
I think that covers the ground, unless someone should like to ask me questions.
Senator SACKETT. Can you use that park in connection with a power plant?
Mr. MANNING. You mean, can we use it as a power plant and a park also?
Senator SACKETT. Yes.
Mr. MANNING. Of course, the difficulty with your power plant is that storage reservoirs must be drawn down, and of course the scenic values are pretty sure to be destroyed, as they have been at Niagara Falls and in many other places. Of course you are familiar with the action that has been taken recently by the joint commission at Niagara, where they propose to make construction there so as to preserve the beauty of the falls.
There is one other point I would like to make, and that is that Michigan is coming to recognize that recreation is of higher value than mining and forestry.
Of the 10,000,000 acres of land that is likely to come back to the State for nonpayment of taxes, much of it is going into public reservations; and while that may not have a bearing here, the Institute of Park Executives and the State Park Conference, those who are connected with these great undertakings, have now come to realize that we have to make them more self-supporting by the collection of fees, and Pennsylvania is already getting $800,000 income from its public reservations.
That, of course, is coming in there in lieu of taxes. Of course in this proposition there will not be a service charge, but there probably will be, in one form or another, some income to help make it selfsupporting, so that it is not a burden on the public.
Senator SACKETT. Do you understand the power plant expects to eliminate the falls?
Mr. MANNING. I understand they expect to use that as a storage basin.
Senator SACKETT. Above or below?