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tory it may happen to be. The proposition, therefore, that such a law can not operate upon the subject matter of its enactment without the express consent of the people of the new State where it may happen to be contains its own refutation and requires no further examination. The proposition submitted to the people of the
Territory for their acceptance or rejection, by the act of Congress authorizing them to form a constitution and State government for themselves, so far as they related to the public lands within that Territory, amounted to nothing more nor less than rules and regulations respecting the sale and disposition of the public lands."
(NOTE.-Strangely enough, in that case the power of Congress to pass the act granting the land in controversy to the plaintiff in the case was denied because it was based on a compact by the people.)
But it is the vital question of the constitutionality of such acts of Congress, so assumed and taken for granted in the foregoing quoted paragraphs, that is called in question by us and by all States in like case with Wyoming. And when we ask for the bread of the Constitution for the nourishment and support of our plain rights against the encroachments of Congress and its departments, arbitrarily denying us those plain rights to our own lands, we are given the stone in reply; that our court of last resort “is bound to follow the statutory enactments of its own Government" and has no power to set itself up as the instrumentality for enforcing the provisions of a treaty with a foreign nation which the Government of the United States, as a sovereign power, chooses to disregard."
Though legal rights are thus determined against us, equity remains and cries strongly for relief.
Thus, that same Congress which in 1787 was asking the people of the thirteen States," with whom by that name Great Britain made its treaty and granted "them" its lands, to cede to the United States Government some of their lands. the Northwest Territory, to enable it to pay its debts and carry on, has now by gradual encroachment arrogated to itself and assumed the full and absolute ownership and control of our western lands, which were conveyed to us, the inhabiting people, by that same treaty and other treaties, and which treaties all are by our Federal Constitution made a part of the supreme law of all this land alike with the Constitution.
Under this arrogated and assumed power of Congress the State of Wyoming has, by Congress and its departments and the executive branch of our Government, been placed in the following condition as to its lands : Area of vacant public land.
15, 687, 833 Pending unperfected entries
5, 460, 333
21, 148, 108 8, 426, 927 1, 992, 000 1, 835, 139
1, 362 82, 829 9, 000
33, 515, 425
62, 436, 720 33, 515, 125
Leaving under State control.--.
28, 921, 295 With this less than half of our lands it behooves us, and it is a most vital and serious question with us, to make every possible provision for the development of our State and all its resources for the future support of our people,
Among these the Casper-Alcova irrigation project is especially urged for immediate favorable consideration and speedy construction, in view of the many manifest and unquestioned equities existing in that belialf. Certainly where å legal right has been taken away the ear, mind, and heart of man should be open to equity.
Projected as early as 1904 in connection with the construction of the Pathfinder Dam in this county-and therefore to he claimed with the ola and not with the new projects-it appears to us in Natrona County that there should be no question or delay in this “ Casper-Alcova irrigation project," the feasibility of which was recognized as early as 1892, upon State survey and permit.
Let this be considered, that if Natrona County's wealth in oil which was then securely stored under our feet were now at our command or if we could have even one-third of that portion of its proceeds which the Federal Gov. ernment has in royalties alone taken away from this county in addition to the above listed “naval reserve” 9,000 acres of oil lands—the royalties already amounting to more than $30,000,000—there would be no need of Federal aid for this project. But our oil and our oil lands have been made subject to tribute, our own resources, and wealth are being taken away from under us, thus inevitably, if slowly, driving us back to the land and the water for our future subsistence. Why should not a portion of our own, contributed in royalties to the reclamation fund, be returned to us in the form of a water supply that will enable our people to depend upon the products of our fertile soil and our other industries?
With free hand 75 per cent of the waters of this same Pathfinder Dam have been passed over to a neighboring State, but enough remains, if the Casper-Alcova project can be assured, to supply 88.000 acres of good land within this county wherein more than 40,000 people now must look forward to the time when our resources in oil and gas have been exhausted, and only the tillable soil can be looked to for the subsistence of our population and the continuance of our industries.
October 2, 1925.
CASPER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE,
R. C. CATHER, President. Attest :
CHARLES B. STAFFORD, Secretary. The CHAIRMAN. We will listen to Mr. Emerson. STATEMENT OF FRANK C. EMERSON, STATE ENGINEER OF
WYOMING, CHEYENNE, WYO. Mr. EMERSON. Mr. Chairman, I presume to make this verbal statement in support of the brief filed by the chamber of commerce by reason of my knowledge and experience through my official position in the water supply of the North Platte River, from my general interest in the substantial and wholesome development of this section of the country, and from my rather intimate knowledge of the project that is proposed.
I wish to present this subject in three ways, which, to my mind, it might well be considered.
First. Applying the strictest economic test, which we are now doing, to determine whether or not this project would repay, by its returns from the farmer, dollar for dollar the cost of the construction of the works to the Government if undertaken by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Along this line we have a great deal of information. Starting at the time of Governor Kendrick's administration and through Governor Kendrick's initiative we had a very careful study and analysis of the water supply of the North Platte River, and those studies and investigations were finally concluded by what is known as the board of review report upon the North Platte cooperative investigations. That report stated generally that there was sufficient water in the North Platte River, after due respect was given to all established rights, both in this State and in the lower State of Nebraska, for all feasible development in Wyoming.
Senator KENDRICK. Mr. Emerson, may I interrupt you to ask a question there?
Mr. EMERSON. Certainly.
Senator KENDRICK. May I ask, is it not your judgment, after mature and deliberate thought on all phases of the question of water supply in the North Platte River, that if the distribution of this water is carried on in an orderly and neighborly way there will
be not only a sufficiency but an abundance of water for both States to irrigate all of the lands that may be irrigated within the drainage of the Platte River?
Mr. EMERSON. That is my absolute conviction, Senator Kendrick, that the best economic use of the water supply in nearly all instances proposes the use of the water at the headwaters of the stream and the continuing use of returning waters as you go down the stream, and that applies to the North Platte River to a marked degree.
The CHAIRMAN. 'The drainage goes back into the Platte River? Mr. EMERSON. Yes; and it is subject to use and reuse below-a continuing use. Of course there is a certain consumptive use in crop growth and in evaporation that is lost to the water supply, but a very large percentage does return to the stream for reuse below.
Senator KENDRICK. And is not that more largely true of the territory that it is proposed to irrigate within the drainage of the river within the State of Wyoming, because of the gravel beds that under lie nearly every bit of this territory?
Mr. EMERSON. Yes; it is particularly true of the North Platte in Wyoming by reason of the underlying strata, and also what might be decided as the shoestring projects that we have. The projects do not go very far from the river in any instance, so that the return to the stream is very rapid.
Representative WINTER. In your answer, Mr. Emerson, did you mean to include a proposed new area in Nebraska of some 2,000,000 acres? I take it your answer contemplated the present irrgable areas in both States?
Mr. EMERSON. I will answer that by saying further that the board of review's report found that there was sufficient water in the North Platte for all seasonable development in Wyoming and in addition extensive areas in Nebraska beyond those now developed.
Senator KENDRICK. May I suggest, Mr. Congressman, that the petition made by the citizens of Nebraska in behalf of this proposed project within the borders of Nebraska was for what they chose to call flood water. Not full and complete service of water, but a sufficient supply to insure irrigation to supplement the precipitation they enjoy in that section of the country, which is claimed to be considerably in excess of what we have here.
Mr. EMERSON. On that point development on the upper stream woull furnish a ground reservoir that would supply the river where their diversions would be made in Nebraska that is not there to-day: Before the North Platte project was undertaken, during the dry summer season the North Platte River at North Platte, Nebr., did not amount to very much. To-day they have a real stream going by that city by reason of the irrigation development above. The ground storage holding water back during the early part of the season and allowing water to pass on during the season of later July and August when there is a real need for it, and at a time when they would need it for this irrigation that you speak of.
In 1920 the State showed its interest in laying out any possible irrigation development in this vicinity by the surveys that it conducted at its own expense, and a canal line was laid out to cover what we thought to be a tract of about 100,000 acres. The matter was followed in the season of 1921 by a cooperative study and investigation between the State, through my office, and the t'nited States Government, through the then-called Reclamation Service. These studies and investigations confirmed the location of the canal laid out by the State, determined that a large acreage, amounting to about 90,000 acres, could be covered by a line entirely feasible of construction from the physical standpoint, even though the cost per acre seemed a little high.
In 1922 the matter was further followed by a careful soil survey of the entire area. And that survey determined that there were about 53,000 acres of strictly first-class land under the line of the canal, and an additional area of about 35,000 acres of what was classed as second-class land, but which itself is really very good land. The total area therefore possible to reclaim and irrigate under the so-called Alcova-Casper project is about 88,000 acres.
We are now proposing to make what we call an economic survey of the project to determine this point, as to whether or not the farmer could receive returns from his land that would allow the repayment to the Government dollar for dollar for any investment it might make in irrigation works. It seems to me that this economic survey must give a favorable answer by reason of the fact that we have the water supply, a fine class of land, generally favorable climatic conditions, and an assured market for a very large part of the products that may come from this project.
I noticed with interest Mr. Pearson's reference to the success of the farmers upon the Shoshone project of the Bureau of Reclamation as being due in a large part to the stock-raising industry that consumes a large part of their product, and it appeals to me that the development here should be of great interest to the stock-raising industry in this section. You have abandoned ranges in the vicinity of Casper, and with winter feed available here finishing on stock could be done here instead of having to ship to other points, and a large amount of winter feed would always be available.
Senator KENDRICK. Right there may I ask, do you not believe that the excessive cost to livestock pro lucers in the country during the past 10 years, particularly the excessive price paid for feed shipped in and feed bought when stock was shipped out of this section of the country during the past few years would have gone a long ways toward paying the interest on this project?
Mr. EMERSOx. It certainly would, Senator.
But now suppose that this economic study and survey should show that there was a certain margin between what the project would cost the Government and what might be paid from the standpoint of dollars and cents, Then it seems to me the equities that have been presented in the brief by the chamber of commerce should certainly be considered. I believe the answer from the economic standpoint will be favorable. Then in support of an early undertaking of the project would come these equities.
Just to be brief in the matter of figures I might state that since the passage of the mineral leasing act in 1920 some $31,000,000 have come to the Federal Government in the shape of royalties from petroleum production, without giving consideration to the returns from the public lands. A very large part of this amount--I believe about 90 per cent -comes from Natrona County, 5212 per cent of these funds go into the reclamation fund for the construction of Federal reclamation projects in the West. In other words, nearly $16,000,000 in the five years of the life of the mineral leasing act
have come from Natrona County. The estimated cost of this great irrigation possibility is about $12,000,000. So already, from this county has come more than $4,000,000 of a fund that is entirely dedicated to the construction of reclamation work in the West. It seems needless to say that this county has a real equity to present.
In further relation to the matter of equity, it is to be noted that the last Congress made appropriations for four different projects in the West—the Vale and Baker I believe in your State, Mr. Chairmanwith the string attached that the State was to aid in each case in certain ways in the development. Without wishing to commit myself in any way as an official of the State of Wyoming, I believe that if Congress did not see fit to make an appropriation unassisted in the development of this project, that the State of Wyoming would not be found backward in meeting any reasonable requirement that the Government might make. I am not saying that the State should be called upon to take a part in view of the equities that have been presented, but in case such a contingency should arise I believe that Congress should make available appropriation, even though it might provide for a reasonable cooperation by the State, and give us the opportunity to consider that cooperation, for I am sure the answer would be yes.
Representative WINTER. That cooperation, Mr. Emerson, is directed to the successful colonization and settlement of the project, as you understand it; is that not true? Mr. EMERSON. Yes, sir, that is true.
Representative WINTER. It is not in connection with the construction?
Mr. EMERSON. No. Representative WINTER. But rather to the settlement of the project when the water is ready?
Mr. EMERSON. Yes. But the string is attached to the appropriation that that cooperation must be furnished by the State.
The CHAIRMAN. That is in the nature of a guaranty on the part of the State?
Mr. EMERSON. It would be in the nature of a guaranty on the part of the State to either colonize or assist in the colonization of the land under the project.
The CHAIRMAN. What would happen if the State did not make its guaranty good?
Mr. EMERSON. I would not know exactly how to answer that question, but I would hope that the commonwealth of Wyoming would make any guaranty good that it might advance. I am certain that it would.
And in further consideration of its equities, I would call attention to the fact that the community of Casper is squarely behind this project, not for the purpose alone of securing funds for the construction of the project, but is displaying a real interest in the knowledge that the continuing progress of agricultural development that this project would mean would be to the real advantage of the community. They are not approaching this in the spirit of promoters, as some of our eastern friends conceived the idea, with the thought of securing Federal money here for our development, but the idea is for the real advancement and the maintenance of the fine municipal plant that has been built here. And I think a special tribute ought to be given to the men of Casper who have