Mr. LATHAM. I thank the gentleman very much for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I would just first of all like to say this is extraordinarily unfortunate for the people in Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, everyone in the lower Mississippi delta that the President vetoed this bill over the use of the Missouri River. This is an extraordinarily important issue. It goes to saving lives of people who live along the Missouri River, to saving their property. It goes to how much energy, how much electric power is available during the peak season in the summer coming out of
the dams upstream. It has to do with usage on the river as far as navigation which they want to dry up the river basically in the summertime. We have a very important issue with recreation in Sioux City, Iowa, using the marina.
Mr. Speaker, I will submit a letter from the bipartisan city council of Sioux City in opposition to the President's position. I think this is an issue which is not a partisan issue. This is simply wrong. The President has signed four previous bills that had this provision in it that today he says he vetoes the bill for, and you wonder why. It has to go, I believe, to an extreme environmental position. I think with the Presidential election coming up and the Vice President taking an extreme position
here, I think Iowans and people in Nebraska and Missouri should really take a look at who is favoring a radical group over the lives and property of people who live along the river and the very well-being of those people.
Mr. Speaker, I think it is very unfortunate if we have to reopen this bill to find other moneys for some of the priorities the President looked at that we are going to have to look in the bill. We are not going to have new money. We have to look in the bill to find out people, projects, things like that if we are going to fund the new initiatives, also.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the override of this very unfortunate and misguided veto.
Mr. Speaker, I include the following letter for the RECORD:
OFFICE OF THE CITY COUNCIL,
Sioux City, IA, October 3, 2000.
U.S. Representative TOM LATHAM,
Cannon House Office Building,
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE LATHAM: One of the issues that we understand you are addressing is the management of the Missouri River. First, we would like to thank you for your previous votes on this issue on behalf of Sioux City and Iowa. We appreciate very much your support and understanding in this issue. What still needs consideration and study is how those changes to the current management may affect Iowans and the downstream states affected by those changes. We thank you for the time and
attention you are giving to this matter.
There should be a broader perspective on the issue at stake than just recreation versus navigation. Policies developed with much deliberation for over four decades such as this should be approached very carefully. there are industries such as downstream recreation, hydropower generation, agriculture, transportation, and navigation that would be dramatically affected by the plan to implement a spring rise in the spring with correlating low flows during late summer and early fall. There are also
issues such as flood control for cities, counties, and farmland along the Missouri River that have not yet been sufficiently studied to assess potential damage and economic impact.
Downstream Recreation.--The Sioux City Riverfront Master Plan calls for $8 million in improvements to the City's Marina and riverfront area. The City of Sioux City cannot proceed with economic plans until the full effects of changes to the management of the Missouri River are known. The pulse and character of Sioux City revolves around the river, boating, and water sports. There are also riverboat gambling operations on the Missouri River that generate $80 million to Iowa's state taxes--specifically
to fund the recently passed Vision Iowa legislation. Iowa State statute compels riverboats that gamble to sail at least 100 days per year and it is unknown how this will affect their ability to comply with state statute and how that potential loss of revenue would affect Iowa's future.
Hydropower Generation.--Under the spring rise plan we would only be able to use approximately 58% of full capacity during the peak energy usage period. All public energy utilities receive a percentage of their energy as hydropower, very inexpensive energy. When there is excess hydropower energy, that power can be marketed to an eager marketplace looking for this lower-cost energy. When the hydropower supply is lower, as is would be in times of low flow, higher cost energy must be used and that
extra cost is passed on to consumers. The effect of decreasing hydroelectric supply in a peak usage period with dramatically increased rates needs further study.
Flood Control.--While spring rise flows will likely not flood Sioux City at current estimates, the effects of high flows from tributaries will need to be studied before either the City of Sioux City or Woodbury County could endorse the spring rise option.
Transportation Costs to Agriculture Industry.--The farm economy is extremely weak, experiencing low prices, increased interest rates than previous years, and high fuel prices. The agriculture industry will take another hit if they lose the ability to haul and store grain and fertilizer, especially at peak harvest periods. The busiest time for agriculture shipments is the exact time that the low flow period in a split navigation scenario would decrease the ability to use the river for transportation
and would leave farmers with fewer transportation and storage options. Data taken on corn bid prices from November 10, 1999 shows that corn bid prices range from 13-51 cents more per bushel for sites located near a river when compared with those sites that are landlocked and dependent solely on rail and truck transportation. Navigation on the Missouri River assists farmers with an additional avenue to market and transport their commodities at competitive rates.
Industrial Commodities.--It has been proven that there is an economic advantage in industry to have access to both rail and barge transportation. Rail companies charge less, irrespective of distances traveled, if either the initial or final location is near a barge facility, due to the desire to remain competitive with barge rates. These water-compelled rates enable our companies to remain competitive with comparatively much larger operations. These companies would see 50% increase in transportation
costs without access to barge transportation and would be ultimately passed on to consumers.
Degradation Through High Rises.--The impact on riverbed degradation must be determined before the artificially high flows are implemented as already serious degradation problems will only get worse with the spring rise approach. The high-rise period in 1969-1972 degraded the riverbed by four feet and high rises in 1993-1996 degraded the riverbed by an additional two feet. Further degradation will threaten the under-river utility crossing, continue the current loss of wetland and oxbow lake areas
due to drainage into the river, will eventually threaten bank stabilization structures, piers, and abutments, as well as increase the maintenance cost for marinas and boat ramp basins. The City of Sioux City's collector well and possibly two of the radials of that well would be impacted if additional significant erosion or degradation were to occur.
Martin J. Dougherty,
Craig S. Berenstein,
Todd A. Moss,
Thomas R. Padgett,
Mr. HULSHOF. I thank the gentleman for yielding me this time.
Mr. Speaker, I urge this body to override the President's veto. I am fortunate enough to represent 216 miles of river which includes the Mississippi but 86 miles of the Missouri River that forms the boundary in my district.
I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that Members of this body really would give some deference to this bipartisan coalition of Members in Missouri that do not support the Fish and Wildlife's position, that would urge an override of the President's veto, that is, this proposed spring rise. The section at issue is section 103 that simply says that none of the funds available in this energy and water bill would be available to revise the master manual to provide for an increase in the springtime water release
during heavy spring rainfall and snow melt in States that have rivers that drain into the Missouri. As the chairman pointed out, this has been in the previous four out of the five spending bills that Congress has passed, the President has signed. It allows a range of different options but only prevents one specific harmful alternative and that is a controlled flood.
I hope those that support the President's veto do not try to create this false choice between picking between the environment and picking between commerce. Clearly, commerce is affected. As the gentleman from Iowa mentioned before, navigation is extremely important. This affects the lower Mississippi River Valley as well. In fact, if this split navigation season had been in effect a year ago, it would have meant three feet of draft water difference in Memphis, Tennessee, which really does affect
navigation along the lower Mississippi. But even on the environmental point of view, we have scientists in our State, our Missouri Department of Natural Resources, that opposes a spring rise. They say they are convinced that off-channel and nonflow-related
mitigation and restoration efforts are the best ways to enhance habitat. They say that the Missouri River already has a natural spring rise hydrograph, yet we have not seen how certain species are flourishing and so they look at other options.
Mr. Speaker, we can be environmentally friendly and still support this veto override. That is why our own State Department of Natural Resources believes that improvement projects can be done with the cooperation of adjacent landowners, that that will provide the best success.
Let me just say that the Missouri River, we are very blessed as it is a natural resource that supports 60 species of mammals, 301 species of birds, 52 species of reptiles or amphibians, 156 species of fish. The President vetoed this bill because of two birds and one fish that are on the endangered species list. I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that we would consider the habitat of the 22,500 homeowners that are located within the identifiable flood control area, flood plain area.
I urge this body to override the President's veto.
Mr. KNOLLENBERG. Mr. Speaker, I accept that. [Page: H9669]
Mr. Speaker, as I said a few short weeks ago, this is a good bill, and a good conference report. It is balanced and responsible. At a time when energy costs are hitting record levels and when water projects vital to the lives of American citizens are needed, we cannot sit idly by as the President would have us do.
So I would just simply say that this bill is worthy of becoming law, and I believe that we have every reason in the world, as a Congress acting in this fashion, to override this veto because, frankly, it does not speak to the needs of the people. So I would just join in with those who have already spoken on behalf of overriding this veto by the President. I think it is a just bill, and I think it is proper that we do override this veto.
Mr. PACKARD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, I would simply like to reaffirm the fact that, and I think it is well known in this body, we have tried to write this conference report as a very bipartisan piece of legislation. I have gone as far as I know how to go to really reach out to the other side, and I hope that they will recognize that this is a good bill and, therefore, we need to override the President's veto.