Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Mr. WHITTEN. I would appreciate this. We have hearings with EPA coming up, and if the chairman would permit, I wish you would provide additional detail. I want to see which one of you is holding this up. It could be a little misunderstanding.

General MORRIS. Thank you.

Mr. EVINS. While we are talking about coordination with environmental agencies, you will recall that in the conference report for the 1974 bill, we directed the corps "to participate with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Council on Environmental Quality, to work on potential problem areas to avoid unnecessary delays on projects." What progress has been made in this area?

General GRIBBLE. We have conducted numerous meetings with EPA during the past year, and we feel we have made substantial progress, especially in regard to wastewater treatment. Among the most significant actions were meetings held on October 12, 1973, with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, Council on Environmental Quality, and Department of Interior; and on October 21, with a representative of EPA. Representatives at the division chief level of all concerned agencies met on February 12-13, 1974, to discuss 21 problem areas. Procedures and task groups were established for problem resolutions. In addition to future task force meetings, there is flexibility for further executive level conferences if deemed necessary. Every effort is being made for resolutions of the identified problem areas. I will provide for the record a list of other significant meetings, workshops, and contacts.

[The information follows:]

COORDINATION WITH EPA

The following data include formal meetings, workshops, and other significant contacts with EPA regarding wastewater treatment by corps personnel : (a) Four meetings of the Federal Interagency Committee on Recreation Area Wastewater Management, chaired by the EPA; February, May, August, and December 1973. Participants included USDA, DOT, USDI, TVA, EPA, and corps. (b) Meeting at EPA Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory, Ada, Okla., May 30-31, 1973. Meeting purpose-exchange information with the EPA on current and proposed water quality research in the areas of: (1) Onthe land treatment and utilization of wastewater, (2) reservoir and stream water quality, and (3) recreation area wastewater treatment. Participants were EPA, OSA, and corps.

(c) Joint conference on recycling municipal sludges and effluents on land, Champaign, Ill., July 9-13, 1973. Participants: EPA, USDA, HEW, corps, and National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.

(d) Wastewater research workshop at USA CRREL, Hanover, N.H., September 24-25, 1973. Purpose: to exchange and review wastewater research data. Participants: EPA, USDA, USGS, and corps.

(e) Meeting of the Federal Interagency Steering Committees on Recreation Research at BPA Headquarters, Portland, Oreg., October 1, 1973. Meeting purpose: to exchange and review reaeration research currently being conducted by member agencies. Participants: EPA, USBR, USGS, TVA, BPA, and corps.

(f) Biannual Federal interagency meeting on coordination of water quality research at Lloyd Center, Portland, Oreg., October 2-5, 1973. Meeting purpose: to expedite the sharing of information and coordination of ongoing research. Participants: EPA, USBR, USGS, TVA, OWRR, NMFS, F&WLS, and corps.

(g) Joint preliminary discussion and field trip to Lake George, N.Y., October 1973. Purpose: to make on-site review of joint EPA-corps research project and to develop preliminary plans for conduct of study. Participants: EPA Robert S. Kerr Laboratory and corps.

(h) Initial meeting EPA Soil Treatment Systems-Sewage Effluents Guidelines Committee at San Antonio, Tex., November 15-16, 1973. Meeting purpose: to

discuss development of material which would (1) provide definition, criteria, and guidelines for use by EPA grant administration offices in assessing land treatment concepts and (2) provide definition of research needs in land treatment. Participants: EPA, corps and contractor, Metcalf & Eddy, Inc.

Other significant activities which involve joint EPA-corps participation include:

(a) Request by EPA National Environmental Research Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 1973, for corps participation in review of research proposal on land treatment of sludges.

(b) Weekly contact with EPA by corps personnel regarding regulations, criteria, and manuals on design, management, and O. & M. of waste water treatment systems; and EPA water quality data program.

Mr. PASSMAN. Mr. Chairman?

Mr. EVINS. Yes.

Mr. PASSMAN. As you know, General, the President has declared a national disaster area in part of my district or parishes on account of the tremendous amount of excess water that we have had this year. I have to go to my office now, Mr. Chairman, to see a delegation coming up from Louisiana but I would like, if I may, subsequently to submit some questions for the record. If you are going to be returning tomorrow, then I can ask my questions at that time.

Mr. EVINS. You may file questions and the general will supply answers for the record.

Mr. PASSMAN. I am sure if he returns tomorrow I would rather ask my questions. We do have a disaster declared in my area and it is quite serious. If the chairman would excuse me, I will go to the office to meet them.

Mr. EVINS. We will miss you and understand your obligations. Mr. MYERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

IMPACT OF PUBLIC LAW 92-500 ON WATER QUALITY CONTROL BENEFITS

General, you cite that the Administrator of EPA is not allowing you to take any benefits bevond 1985 for water quality. Is that statutory, or has he just arbitrarily selected that date because that was the goal for clean streams under Public Law 92-500?

General GRIBBLE. I believe that the evaluation of the benefits to be derived from water quality storage are a matter of judgment exercised by the Administrator of EPA. However, the date 1985 is established in the act.

Mr. MYERS. If the chairman allows me to proceed-I don't think the Congress intended there wouldn't be benefits after the year 1985 after we have clean streams. It seems to me the Administrator is writing something in here not the original intent of Congress. Once we have a clean stream we have to keep it, and if we don't have the water storage up there, you are not going to be able, in my judgment, and I am sure you would agree, to retain the quality of water. I think this is an arbitrary decision that the Administrator has made. I think it should be challenged.

General MORRIS. The Administrator does not arbitrarily eliminate water quality control as a project purpose. The determination of the need for that storage purpose will be made by him. If it is justified, he can say there will be storage for that purpose. So it does pass to the Administrator of EPA, the fundamental decision, if you will, whether or not the project may have storage for water quality purposes. We

recognize that in the past most of that storage has been to dilute pollution, if you want to use that expression; however, the standards for waste treatment were greatly increased by enactment of Public Law 92-500.

Mr. MYERS. Do you have available the section of the bill that you are reciting?

General MORRIS. Section 102(b) of Public Law 92-500.

Mr. EVINS. General, you referred to cooperating with the EPA. How are they cooperating with the Corps of Engineers?

General GRIBBLE. Sir, I think the cooperation during the last year has been outstanding at several levels within our mutual organizations. We have had a number of executive critiques. We have established task forces which are manned by people from our two agencies and other agencies that have an interest to examine outstanding problems and issues between us, in areas where perhaps all the facts are not yet known and need to be attacked by research efforts.

I really believe that, partially as a result of the emphasis given this area by this committee, cooperation has improved over the last year. Mr. EVINS. We note that you are asking for more jobs to be assigned to do EPA work. Are they assigning more jobs to cooperate with the Corps of Engineers? Are you going to be a subordinate body or coequal body?

General GRIBBLE. We have our responsibilities and we recognize the authorities that are associated with those responsibilities and we take a back seat to no one in exercising them.

NONSTRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS

Mr. EVINS. Very good. I commend you on that. Don't take a back scat. You talk about nonstructural solutions to be pursued. You talk at length about nonstructural work in nonstructural fields and nonstructural problems. What are they? We thought the Corps of Engineers was a great construction agency that built America.

General GRIBBLE. We may have overworked that word nonstructural. It struck me as I was going over my statement that I used it rather liberally. However, I do believe that it represents a new trend in the pattern of our activities. Embraced by that adjective nonstructural are the management services and technical assistance and advice which our organization has been authorized to provide to local communities and other political entities who are concerned with the continuing encroachment of development on flood plains and the high costs associated therewith.

Mr. EVINS. That is not synonymous with bureaucratic?

General GRIBBLE. No, sir, it is not. It is a technical service, technical and management oriented to assist these local entities in establishing wise regulations for the continuing development of land bordering the water bodies in their regions.

Mr. EVINS. You have been giving flood plain advice to communities for years, telling them not to build houses in flood plains. What more have you done?

General GRIBBLE. Well, sir, with the passage of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973, making authorities available to these communities to cover themselves with insurance under certain conditions,

they have become very much more alert to first, their responsibilities, and second, to their opportunities for mitigating damages by wise land use planning. We are very happy and proud to have been able to assist them in those endeavors.

Mr. ROBISON. Mr. Chairman, may I insert something here?

General, along these lines, I want to quote from a statement last fall by Ronald Pederson, First Deputy Commissioner of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation. He says:

The traditional response to flooding has been to wait until flood losses occur and then try to design and construct flood protection works. Since 1936, over $120 million has been spent in New York to construct reservoirs, levees, floodwalls and channel improvements. While these 77 projects have prevented damages far in excess of their total cost, flood losses have steadily increased during this period because development in flood hazard areas has exceeded the rate of construction of flood protection projects. Also, as the Agnes flood of 1972 demonstrated, floods larger than designed conditions can and do occur and protection projects may become ineffective.

I think this is, in a nutshell, it seems to me, an explanation of the necessity for the corps, and the Federal Government, to reach out in the direction of nonstructural alternatives because, as I have viewed our situation in New York, to try to protect certain other areas of that State against another "Agnes" storm, would be so costly as to be almost impossible to imagine, even despite the need for such protection. Somewhere in here was have to, with our new ideas for planning and new concept toward land use management, go vigorously forward with the flood plain program which the corps has begun to incorporate into its annual work.

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir, I would agree. We don't have that opportunity in all reaches of all streams because many of these areas are already heavily developed and for good cause. These require protection. But in areas that have not already been developed to that extent, alternatives exist. If it turns out through economic analysis in studying these alternatives, that avoiding development in a certain flood plain is the wiser of the two courses, I think that opportunity ought to be made known to the local organizations that are responsible for regulating activities in their area.

Mr. ROBISON. If the chairman will allow one more question on this point.

FLOOD PLAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

In your budget request for the flood plain management program, I believe you are asking for $11 million?

General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir.

Mr. ROBISON. That is the authorized ceiling, whereas the pending Water Resources Development Act of 1974. which in the absence of a veto is on its way to becoming law, would raise that ceiling to $15 million. Of course you could not ask for more than the $11 million in your budget with the current ceiling in mind, but could you use, effectively and wisely, the additional $4 million if that act becomes law? General GRIBBLE. Yes, sir; we feel that the need for an increased statutory limit in this very important area of our operations is a clear reflection of the demand for that type of service. Yes, we do.

Mr. ROBISON. If that is the case, would you be requesting, do you know now, a supplemental for the additional $4 million? Or might there be a budget amendment?

General GRIBBLE. I cannot answer that question as definitely as you would like. I would say the matter would require a reassessment at a later date and this might lead to either a budget amendment or a supplemental.

Mr. ROBISON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

APPLICATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS

Mr. EVINS. General Gribble, concerning the principles and standards, did we understand from your testimony that the new principles and standards do not apply to projects underway? When do they become applicable?

General GRIBBLE. Sir, it appears that the new principles and standards do not apply to projects which are underway in the construction phase.

Mr. EVINS. They don't?

General GRIBBLE. That is right. If a project has been authorized but unfunded, the principles and standards will be applied in a selective manner. This leaves a variety of interpretations possible. The definition of "authorized but unfunded" is currently being addressed by a working committee formed under the auspices of the Water Resources Council. In the meantime, the reason for the difference of interpretation lies in the fact that some of us would construe that if funds have been appropriated for advance engineering and design, essentially there has been more or less a commitment to construction and, therefore, the new principles and standards probably should not be applied in full force. On the other hand, for projects that are still in a preliminary planning phase, perhaps the standards should be applied.

In any event, the procedures and the application to specific categories of projects are currently being studied.

For those that are currently in the preauthorization survey stage, the full force of the principles and standards will apply. This is the procedure that we are following at the present time.

Mr. EVINS. What impact, if any, has the National Water Commission report and the new principles and standards had on corps programs?

General GRIBBLE. The recommendations of the National Water Commission have not yet had an impact on the civil works program. If the recommendations are implemented in whole or in part, there would be increased non-Federal cost sharing and a substantial reduction in the corps program.

The new principles and standards have not had any measurable impact on the corps program to date. This is because guidelines and criteria for interpretation of the principles and standards by agency heads are still being formulated. The principles and standards are to be applied to preauthorization surveys and on a selective basis to authorized, but unfunded projects. The issue is whether the word "unfunded" is interpreted to apply to planning funds, construction funds or some percentage of planning completion. From preliminary appraisals, we would estimate that about half the active authorized backlog of projects would be infeasible if subject to the new standards. This percentage would apply equally to funded, as well unfunded planning projects. With formulation, some projects would remain feasible. However, we do not know as yet what percentage that would be.

« AnteriorContinuar »