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The ranch. (Seattle, Wash.) 1902-1914, June 01, 1914, Image 4

Image and text provided by Washington State Library; Olympia, WA

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98047754/1914-06-01/ed-1/seq-4/

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STATE AND GOVERNMENT MUST CO-OPERATE ON IRRIGATION
During the greater part of the last
two days we have listened to com
plaints of existing conditions—fault
finding, to a certain extent, with ex
isting laws —and a recounting of
difficulties aud failures in various en
terprises. In tnis thtre is much
good. I Und no cause to criticise
these things. The lamp of experience
has always lighted the pathway of the
future. The errors of the past must
be recounted in order to be warned
against the pitfalls yet to be encoun
tered ; and besides, it is the history
of all constructive and remedial leg
islation that there must be an evil or
a necessity which calls for a remedy
before legislation is forthcoming.
We meet here, however, to consider
various plans for constructive legisla
tion. We are here in response to the
demand of one who asks, not to give
as something, but that we co-operate
with him in obtaining something. A
man who has shown himself to be
one of the wisest councellors of the
present administration and whose
Hrst chapters in the administration
of his office argue well for the future,
and whose grasp upon the serious and
mighty problems which confront his
department shows him to be standing
in the forefront of the statesmen of
the day. Is is not well, then, that we
hesitate for one moment and pay
tribute to Franklin K. Lane, the
great western secretary? In speaking
of the officers of the government, let
us say a word regarding the Reclama
tion Service and other offices. Con
fessing and conceding that there have
been mistakes made in the past still
do not charge that entirely against
the officers themselves, but remember
that their hands and their policies
have beeu, to a large extent, bound
by the terms of the congressional act
under which they were operating.
We should also remember that since
the reclamation act was passed, every
man in this assemblage and every
state of the western states, knew
more about irrigation and the prob
lems of irrigation than they did when
these different reclamation projects
were inaugurated.
There is one thought which J want
to come down to immediately, and
that is to meet the purpose of the sec
retary. My understanding is that he
is not desirous of embarking upon
untried legislation, but that he de
sires state co-operation along well de
tined lines; so that there will be no
upheaval of present conditions, but a
bettering of those conditions. Tbe
territory of the United States of
America, comprised as it is, is a
huge parallelogram extending about
1500 miles from the north to the south
and about 3000 miles east and west.
In the extreme northeast corner of
that parallelogram there is a state
named after our first president. A
coastal range —the Cascade mountains
—divides the state in twain, but it is
only in the eastern half that we need
irrigation, and in that section all of
the smaller projects, all of the easy
and cheap projects, are in process of
operation.
There are new projects in con
templation and In process of con
struction in our state wbicb demand
more sinews of war than we can com
mand through state resources or
through local resources; there are
projects which contemplate the ir-
No problem confronting the states of the Pacific Northwest is more
important and pressing than the development of our arid lands. The
plan outlined in the address of Judge Carroll B. Graves and which we
reproduce herewith, is regarded as a most practical one for the finan
cing of irrigation projects beyond the scope of private capital.
The plan was first approved by the Washington State Irrigation
Institute following which Judge Graves attended the Conference on
Irrigation under appointment as a delegate by the Governor. That
body endorsed the plan unanimously and with great enthusiasm. From
the time of his arrival in the Yakima valley in the early eighties
Judge Graves has been continuously identified with irrigation ques
tions, not only as an attorney and as a Judge of the Superior Court of
that district for eight years, but also in the promotion of a number of
large irrigation enterprises including the Horse Heaven project cover
ing 450,000 acres; Brewster with 20,000 acres; the Kittitas High line
canal covering 82,000 acres and the Indian Reservation district com
prising 120,000 acres. Because of his great and varied experience,
therefor it will be seen that no one in the Northwest is better quali
fied to speak on this subject.
rigation of 82,000 acres, of 400,000
acres and as great as 500,000 acres,
and other smaller projects, and this
is true of conditions ail over the
West.
Now, there must be some definite
plan of co-operation or assistance.
Under the existing circumstances we
have got to go to the acre, make the
acre go behind the money, and we
have got to have somebody lend us
financial aid and credit, and the only
person in the world that I know of
who can do it, is Uncle Sam himself.
Therefore, in view of these weighty
questions, and for the purpose of
suggesting some plan to this confer
ence for its serious consideration, the
Washington State Irrigation Insti
tute, a few weeks ago, devised a plan,
and I am requested to submit it.
I shall do so as briefly and succinctly
as possible. 1 believe it to meet with
the suggestion of the secretary and
to meet the situation fully.
That plan is, that the government
of the United States provide one-half
of the funds for any project that is
examined and approved and the state
provide the other half. Now, the
constitutional provisions and limita
tions of all but one or two states
west of the Missouri river prevent the
state, itself, from doing these things.
It may not, out of the public
treasury, take the funds. Therefore,
before the state itself as an organiza
tion, can do anything of this char
acter, you must first proceed by
adopting a constitutional amendment.
But what the state itself may not do,
it may do through its agencies as
through the agency of a Carey Act
project, if you please, or preferably
through irrigation districts, because
irrigation districts are, in their na
ture, more for imposing local assess
ments for special benefits.
The plan of co-operation between
the state and the federal govenment
in connection with reclamation work,
as proposed by the Washington Ir
rigation Institute, provides for three
things:
1. New legislation to develop and
carry out co-operation through dis
tricts :
In that regard tbe government is
already moving, as I understand it,
with legislation tbat is in harmony
with this plan, and most of our states
have legislation upon irrigiation dis
trict subjects that are sufficient, with
very slight amendments.
2. A plan for financing the co-
THE RANCH
operative work.
3. A method of handling the co
operative construction of the works
when financed.
Federal and state co-operation
means equal participation and re
sponsibility in the approval and
fioaucing of reclamation and other
projects. Any plan, to sucoeed,
should be simple and should not re
quire amendment to any state con
stitution. It takes too much time.
Money for construction should be
provided at the lowest possible rate of
interest, which requires gilt edged
security. In order to provide tirst
class security, the project undertaken
must be feasible from an engineering,
agricultural and financial standpoint.
These projects must be able to repay
the interest, which will be a first lien
on the land. Expert investigation
and approval by some responsible
and experienced agency must precede
the taking up of a project for co
operative construction. When a pro
ject has received such expert approval
and has been taken up for construc
tion, the work must be conducted
by some responsible organization ex
perienced in the class of work being
done.
Consider the procedure through the
agency of an irrigation district: Let
the people under any given project
petition for an examination of that
project; let the Reclamation Com
mission of the United States, under
the direction of the secretary, and a
commission to be appointed by the
governor of the state, proceed with
the examination of the project and
determine whether it is feasible con
sidered from agricultural, financial
and engineering standpoints. When
they have found and reported favor
ably, let the project be organized into
a district and its bonds voted accord
ing to the estimate fixed by the joint
commission—the cost of the investi
gation being borne jointly by the Na
tional and the State governments.
When the bonds have been voted,
let the United States take one-half of
these bonds and supply the money
upon the faith of the security which
its engineers have approved. The
other one-half, then, may be made,
if you please, a matter of investment
for general state funds at least, the
moment that the project has been ap
proved both by the National and
State governments, and the United
States has absorbed one-half of the
bonds, you can go into the money
market and sell the remainder of your
bonds as readily as any bonds issued
on the faith of any project on the
face of the earth.
All essential and indispensable part
of this proposed co-operation is that
the land beuetitted must bear the
charge and cost. The Federal Gov
ernment lends its aid and credit
upon the approved security ottered
by the land by approving the under
taking and advancing one-half of the
cost of construction, and the state
aids and co-operates by approving
the security, and by advancing the
other one-half of the cost through the
irrigation district, it* created agency
or sub division. The district bonds
may be made a subject of investment
for state funds, not as an essential
part of the BCbenie, but only as an
incident to it, if any state should so
elect. By this course, what the state
may not be able to do itself, it may
authorize to be done by its district
sab-divisions of property beiiefittod.
If the state provides a plan whereby
it raises a dollar for the dollar froDi
the Federal Government, it becomes
a matter of just 00-operation.
Now as to time for the payment of
the cost: Let me say to you that the
first years are the difficult years, and
under the state irrigation district
system, the principal is deferred, in
all cases, for a period of at least 10
years, but even then interest should
not be paid. The United States
should at least forego ttie interest for
a certain period of years, if not en
tirely ; but if it be necessary before
its funds can be invested that it
must be guaranteed interest, let the
interest be added to the principal
and collected when the farms are
producing wealth and abundance.
There is one other suggestion.
Who is going to construot the work 9?
Governor West made a suggestion
last night that meets with my ap
proval, that the Secretary of the In
terior direct the supervising engineer
of any particular region to co-oper
ate with an engineer to be appointed
by the governor, or with the governor
himself—preferably the latter —and
the two select a project engineer, and
under the supervision of that project
engineer, the construction work will
be carried on. Tbere is your dollar
for dollar plao. There is your co
operative system of investigation,
and there is your co-operative meth
od of construction; and when the
construction is done, the works will
be turned over to the district for
operation, and the private discord
and disagreement arisiug out of com
munity interests may be settled and
the system managed by local govern
ment, and without that irritation
which inevitably comes when there
is supervision by some outside or
foreign power, such as the federal
government.
I have taken up more time than 1
expected to this afternoon, but if I
talked to you for an hour I could not
explain this thought to you more
fully. You now have the general
proposition. We believe it to be
good. We think all the propositions
that have been advanced heretofore
have been good although not suffi
cient. We believe that all of the
complaints which have been lodged
here are well founded, in a way, but
let's get away from the personal ele
ment and get down to the actual
financial consideration. The thing
to be obtained in all of these things
is the money, and the plan that will
produce that money is the plan that
should be taken.
The plan which we have suggested
means not the overturning of our
present district legislation, for irriga
tion districts are now in vogue in
nearly all the western states. The
supreme court of the United States
has upheld the constitutionality of
the distriot acts, and every court of
last resort within the states where
they have come into contest, has up
held the constitutionality and all the
operative features of these acts. In
our own state there is no instrument
of security that has been as well
adjudicated and so well determined
or which stands so firmly upon
adjudicated courts as does the Irriga
tion District law.
In conclusion, let me say this:
One-balf of the territory of the
United States is wholly or partly de
pendent for successful agriculture
upon tbe irrigation of the land, and
any man who gives his time, his
energy, his thought and his best
efforts to building up the irrigation
system of this vast West lends him
self and connects himself in name,
fame and character with that which
is and must be, from its very nature
if not as durable as the frame of
human society, at least as durable as
our form of government.

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