[Senate Hearing 107-314]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
S. Hrg. 107-314
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS:
MANAGEMENT OF FEASIBILITY STUDIES
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED SEVENTH CONGRESS
MANAGEMENT PRACTICES OF THE CORPS IN CONDUCTING STUDIES OF NEW
PROJECTS, ESPECIALLY THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER-ILLINOIS RIVER
WATERWAY FEASIBILITY STUDY
MARCH 15, 2001
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COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
one hundred seventh congress
BOB SMITH, New Hampshire, Chairman
HARRY REID, Nevada, Ranking Democratic Member
JOHN W. WARNER, Virginia MAX BAUCUS, Montana
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma BOB GRAHAM, Florida
CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio BARBARA BOXER, California
MICHAEL D. CRAPO, Idaho RON WYDEN, Oregon
LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware
ROBERT F. BENNETT, Utah HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, New York
BEN NIGHTHORSE CAMPBELL, Colorado JON S. CORZINE, New Jersey
Dave Conover, Republican Staff Director
Eric Washburn, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma, Chairman
JOHN W. WARNER, Wyoming MAX BAUCUS, Montana
CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri BOB GRAHAM, Florida
GEORGE V. VOINOVICH Ohio JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut
LINCOLN CHAFEE, Rhode Island BARBARA BOXER, California
RON WYDEN, Oregon
C O N T E N T S
MARCH 15, 2001
Baucus, Hon. Max, U.S. Senator from the State of Montana......... 19
Bond, Hon. Christopher S., U.S. Senator from the State of
Statement, James V. Mudd to Congressional Mississippi River
Graham, Hon. Bob, U.S. Senator from the State of Florida......... 20
Letter, from Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Joseph Westphal............................................ 21
Inhofe, Hon. James M., U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma... 1
Smith, Hon. Bob, U.S. Senator from the State of New Hampshire.... 38
Vonovich, Hon. George V., U.S. Senator from the State of Ohio.... 25
Flowers, Lt. Gen. Robert B., Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers................................................... 14
Prepared statement........................................... 38
Responses to additional questions from:
Senator Baucus........................................... 50
Senator Bond............................................. 53
Senator Boxer............................................ 56
Senator Inhofe........................................... 47
Senator Smith............................................ 45
Letter, from Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Joseph
Statement, James V. Mudd, to Congressional Mississippi River
ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS CONDUCTS FEASIBILITY STUDIES
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2001
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:32 a.m. in room
406, Senate Dirksen Building, the Hon. James M. Inhofe
[chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Senators Inhofe, Bond, Baucus, Graham, and
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES M. INHOFE,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Senator Inhofe. The committee will come to order.
Today the subcommittee will receive testimony from General
Robert B. Flowers, Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers regarding how the U.S. Corps manages projects and,
more specifically, how project management should be changed to
ensure that the U.S. taxpayers receive the greatest amount of
benefit for their investment.
Over the past several months, a reoccurring theme has
emerged from those critical of the Corps. Specifically, it is
alleged that the Corps has a pro-construction mentality, which
has resulted in Corps officers seeking out opportunities to
quote ``grow the Corps,'' which presumably means, the bigger
the construction project, the better; even though a
nonstructural option maybe a better alternative.
It is my hope that today's hearing will begin to address
these concerns. Recently, much of the attention has been
directed at the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway
In February of 2000, Dr. Donald Sweeney, a Corps of
Engineer economist, working on the Upper Mississippi River and
Illinois Waterway Feasibility Study, filed a disclosure with
the Office of the Special Council alleging senior Corps
officials manipulated the study to produce results favorable to
large scale construction.
As a result, the U.S. Army Inspector General did an
investigation, which found evidence to suggest that there is an
inherent preference by Corps senior officers for large scale
Furthermore, the Army Inspector General concluded that many
in the Corps felt an obligation to work for the interest of the
navigational industry, as opposed to being an honest broker for
the national benefit for waterway development.
The subcommittee will be holding a separate hearing
concerning this subject later on this year. However, I hope
that the Chief will touch briefly on what he believes can be
done to reverse this negative public perception of the Corps,
following the Army Inspector General's investigation.
We have with us Senator Kip Bond, who also has an intense
interest in that same subject, so we will recognize him for his
opening statement at this time.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHRISTOPHER S. BOND,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
Senator Bond. Thank very much, Mr. Chairman.
Like many of my colleagues, I have a full schedule today. I
would like to be able to stay here for the whole preceding. I
am not sure that I can. However, I do have some comments and
very strong views, as some of you may know, that I wish to
If the purpose of reform is to get better data, sooner and
in a less expensive way, then I am absolutely for it. If the
purpose of so-called reform is simply to raise the bar and make
it harder to approve projects, then I oppose it.
Clearly, if you do not like the Corps, if you do not like
flood protection, and you do not like river transportation, and
you do like railroad monopolies, then reform could be used in a
way to paralyze any movement toward construction. That is not
reform. That is obstruction. That is bureaucracy, and it is
It threatens to cost our farmers in the agriculture
heartland of America their access to the world markets. We are
the most efficient producers of food in the world. We need an
efficient transportation system. If we do not have that
efficiency transportation system, we are going to lose those
markets; the countries in Latin America, where they are
building waterway infrastructure.
They are applauding and cheering all of the opposition to
modernizing our waterways. There is nothing that would make
them happier than to follow the editorial reviews in the
Washington Post, and fail to modernize our river
I had some African American constituents come to Washington
last September for a meeting that I arranged to plead with EPA
to let the Corps provide them flood protection. These people
come from minority farming communities in Southeast Missouri, a
part of what President Clinton designated as rural enterprise
Mr. Rush and Mr. Kasell outlined to officials at EPA that
when they experience backwater flooding, they have to load up
children in livestock trailers to haul them to school. The
contamination from the flood waters has lead to sickness and
death. These people have been promised flood control since
1976. After 24 years of study and restudy and delay, they know
that further review is the code word for ``the wealthy get
flood protection and the poor get flood water.''
Then there is the matter of the river study. I am pleased
that we will have a hearing in April that will focus on whether
we will have a modern waterway system or whether we will not.
For the benefit of my colleagues, who I hope will be
joining us today, I want to stress the one thing for you to
comprehend as you consider the Upper Mississippi River
We spent 12 years and $60 million trying to do a 50 year
projection. Hear me please. The Corps of Engineers is
attempting to predict demand for water transportation between
now and the year 2050, and calculate 50 years of environmental
benefits and costs.
We have members of this body who are quite skeptical that
the Nation's forecasters can predict the GNP over the next 10
year period, because that is the basis on which people are
objecting to tax reductions.
Hey, they want us to do a 50 year projection of economic
benefits. We are asking the Corps to tell us how many metric
terms of beans, corn, coal, gravel, and petrochemicals we will
transport in the year 2040, and at what price.
Following is the national NAS conclusion that was not
reported in the media. This is what the National Academy of
Science said. ``No one can predict with confidence the demand
for water transport, or almost anything else, 50 or more years
in the future.''
The National Academy of Sciences noted that the economists,
not the uniformed Corps officials, while well intentioned,
produced models that were flawed and not based on realistic
I could tell you today that if we are waiting for the
economists to agree on a 50 year forecast, then the forecast
will be complete in roughly 50 years. Unfortunately, we do not
have what President Truman always asked for, which is a one-
handed economist, so he could not say on one hand this, and on
the one hand, the other.
The economists are never going to agree on where we are
going to be in 50 years. It is tough enough to get them to
agree on where we are this year and next year. In the meantime,
to the delight of our foreign competitors, we have spent $60
million, and our aging system is 12 years older.
Furthermore, if we have inadequate capacity, we will place
a limiting ceiling on exports, and assure that a negative 50
year projection is correct.
I continue to believe that Congress may have to do what we
are paid to do, and that is to decide if we are going to
modernize our heartland's principal artery to the world, or if
we are going to disarm unilaterally, because we cannot agree on
a 50-year projection.
In closing, General Flowers, I think it is easy for us to
be abstract around here. As you and I know, Colonel Jim Mudd
took the fall for this study, and I think you know what
happened in the process. Jim Mudd was an essential part of the
Schwartzkopf effort in Dessert Storm; a man of great integrity
I do not know what your commanders permit you to say here
today, and I do not want to get you into trouble for telling
the truth. But I certainly hope that you are at liberty to add
enough to paint the big picture here. I am convinced, as
opponents to modernization are, that the Inspector General
report is ready to be incorporated into a New Testament.
Mr. Chairman, Colonel Jim Mudd is now a civilian. He served
in General Schwartzkopf's office, and helped plan the Gulf War.
He is getting the opportunity to tell the second side of the
story before House Caucus Hearing. We have a copy of the
statement that I would like to place in the record here today.
Just to give you an excerpt, he discusses the things that
have been said about him and the charges that have been raised.
He refers to the person who is the centerpiece of the attacks
on the Corps, Dr. Sweeney. He was the guest of honor at the
Office of Special Counsel's press conference on December 6. He
was asked, ``At the time you were removed from the head of
Economic Study Team for the Upper Mississippi Project, was the
model in any shape to be used to compute any de-benefits?''
Donald Sweeney responded, ``No, with respect to the demand
curves, an incorrect functional form was developed to allow for
rapid evaluation to see how the various components worked
What he just admitted was that the model which Dr. Sweeney
had been responsible to produce, and which was several months
behind schedule when Dr. Sweeney was replaced as manager of the
economical panel, was not adequate to the task at hand. That is
also what the National Academy of Sciences found to be the
Senator Inhofe. Without objection, that will be entered in
Senator Bond. Thank you. I appreciate that.
[The prepared statement of Sen. Bond and the referenced
Testimony of James V. Mudd congressional Mississippi River Caucus March
Co-Chairmen Hulshof and Boswell, members of the Caucus, my name is
James V. Mudd. I appear here today as a private citizen. A year has
past since the last time I have spoken to this Caucus, then as District
Engineer from Rock Island with responsibility for the Upper Mississippi
Since that time a lot has happened to us in regard to the Upper
Mississippi Navigation Study.
I have been questioned by the DAIG, the congressional S&I staff and
numerous other people, citizens and reporters alike. We have seen the
release of the DAIG investigation, we watched three honorable officers
get letters of admonishment from the VCSA for their part in the
Navigation Study and mast recently we have seen the NAS interim report
on their investigation. All three of these actions sent mixed signals
to the public.
I would like to talk about all three of these actions.
To say that I am disappointed with the DAIG report on the Upper
Mississippi and Illinois Waterway Navigation Study would be an
understatement. A travesty of justice is more appropriate. I have read
the letter of admonishment that the VCSA issued me several times.
I have reflected on my actions during the time that I was the
District Commander of the Rhode Island District and I wouldn't change a
thing. I would not make any decisions differently under the same
I would like to thank the VCSA for his reasoned actions in this
I think he saw the folly in all of this and the political
motivation for the DAIG outcome. For that reason, he took the least
possible disciplinary action that would protect his wronged officers
and still bring the investigation to a close. The VCSA said in my case,
``The reason I am not officially reprimanding you for your conduct is
because I believe your decision to change certain values in the study
was based on your own methodology which you believed was more
appropriate and reasonable in accounting for certain variables in the
I have also read the DAIG report many times and I find the written
product wrought with misinformation, hearsay, and paraphrasing. There
was an extreme lack of crosschecking of the facts from testimony given
and the overwhelming paper trail surrounding the decisions over a 2-
year period was seemingly neglected.
I find this almost criminal in itself. I have seen the words the
'preponderance of the evidence indicated that' . . . throughout the
DAIG report. Last time I looked in the dictionary evidence has a truth
part to it and I find the search for it in this investigation to be
The Office of Special Counsel's press conference on 6 December
2000, when the DAIG investigation went public is quite telling. Dr.
Sweeney was a guest of honor at the proceedings. The question and
answer period was most revealing. Dr. Sweeney was asked, ``At the time
you were removed from the head of the economics study team for the
Upper Mississippi project, was the model in any shape to be used to
compute NED benefits.'' Sweeney responded, ``No. With respect to the
demand curves, an incorrect functional form was developed to allow for
a rapid evaluation to see how the various components worked together.''
What he just admitted, Congressmen, was that the model, which Dr.
Sweeney had been responsible to produce, and which was several months
behind schedule when Dr. Sweeney was replaced as manager of the
economics panel, was not adequate to the task at hand.
This is also what the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) found to
be the case. The NAS was complimentary, as were many other qualified
reviewers, of the spatial equilibrium model (SEM) theory, which was
espoused by Dr. Sweeney. The SEM served as the theoretical basis far
what was to follow as an analytical tool. The detailed work was to be
done with what Dr. Sweeney called the Essence model. The NAS found that
``The Essence model does not, however, adequately use the most
important concepts of the spatial equilibrium model. . . .''\1\ The NAS
discovered, in its review, just as I and my subordinate managers had
discovered in 1998, that the Essence model was not capable of using
variables as input, rather it was hard wired to produce a do-nothing
solution on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
\1\ See page 3 of executive summary of NAS report ``Inland
Navigation System Planning: The Upper Mississippi River-Illinois
Waterway,'' released 28 February 2001.
The inherently flawed output of this flawed model is the same
information that the Environmental Groups took as gospel in early 1998.
Why didn't the DAIG find that little tidbit during their investigation?
If they would have, the whole investigation and the allegations brought
by Dr. Sweeney would have been dismissed.
For your information, the DAIG did have this information, reference
page 83 (4), Mr. Marmorstein (Dr. Sweeney's right hand man), admits
that he invented N-value to quantify the elasticity of demand. The DATG
team did nothing with that information.
But the press conference provides even more revealing information.
Dr. Sweeney was asked another very provocative question, ``Given that
even at this late date, there still remains no empirical validation of
any of the Corps ``N'' values for agricultural products, would you be
comfortable with an NED benefit calculation from the Corps' model using
any of the ``N'' values that have been discussed, 1.2, 1.5, 2.0?
Sweeney's reply, ``No. If I could start all over from a blank piece
of paper and begin from scratch, I would not use ``N'' values at all
but a different functional form altogether.''
There it is. Dr. Sweeney developed a model that didn't have data to
make it work but he spent millions of taxpayer dollars developing it
and then he convinced everyone inside and outside of the Corps of
Engineers that it was reliable, predictive and better than any model
that the Corps had in its inventory. Through his own words, he lied to
Why didn't the DAIG discover these facts? If they did, there would
be no investigation, it would have been thrown out. It is puzzling to
me that the VCSA would send the letters of admonishment to the officers
in question after these statements were made in public.
As you know, I was the District Commander of the Rock Island
District from 1997 to 2000. I watched a very dedicated group of public
servants (minus a few on the economics team) work on one of the most
challenging civil works studies in US history. Nobody deliberately
tried to ``cook the books'' (except perhaps Dr. Sweeney) as has been
claimed. What I observed was a bunch of great human beings trying to
wrestle with a very hard problem/task. Predict the future for the next
50 years with a reasonable level of certainty? I'm not sure it can be
And with the NAS release of their interim review of the Navigation
Study this week, I know and so do you that we can't do it with the
Sweeney economic model. As head of the Navigation study's economics
study team prior to 1998, Dr. Sweeney was responsible for the
development of the model's traffic forecasts.
He also oversaw and supervised the development of the
transportation rate data prepared for the model by the Tennessee Valley
Authority. Finally, Sweeney was the primary author of the Essence model
and its controversial demand curve assumptions and 'N' values.
The NAS found all of these elements to be seriously flawed to the
point where the entire model is analytically useless. This brings me to
the point at hand. Much has been said about the ``N'' value for grain
currently in use in the study. I have been accused by the DATG of
improperly taking or directing actions, which I knew, or reasonably
should have known, would contribute to the production of a feasibility
study that failed to meet standards established in law and regulation.
In the letter of admonishment to me, the VCSA went on to say that, ``by
improperly directing that certain feasibility study data be altered,
you directly influenced the outcome of the study pertaining to the
Upper Mississippi. River and Illinois Waterway''.
I made a decision in June 1999 to use an ``N'' value of 1.2 for
Grain in the Essence model. I listened to all the proponents of the
Essence model, the critics, my economists and staff. My economists had
previously stated to several working groups and the public that the
value of ``N'' was 1.5. I questioned that value and how they came up
with it. I was told that they selected it because it was the median
number of the expert elicitation panel's range of ``N'' values, it
produced believable results, and the economic study team was
comfortable with it. That rationale was, and is, weak and insufficient
for an important and far reaching study. It didn't work then and it
doesn't work now. I asked them to use the information that we had
available (primarily the Iowa Grain Flow Survey) and try to at least
develop a reasoned methodology for the selection of an ``N'' value for
grain. Using this reasoned methodology, the ``N'' value for grain was
calculated to be 1.2.
Many have stated their opinion that we overlooked Illinois.
Illinois is pivotal in the navigation study because it exports more
than the other states in the upper mid-west (Illinois ships by water
more tonnage than any of the other four states and its total is almost
half of all the five states combined). If we would have had Illinois
Grain Flow Data, it probably would have shown the dependency of this
State on waterborne transportation and therefore the N value of grain
for this State would be mare inelastic than the rest. We didn't have
that data, however, so we didn't fabricate a solution.
We did the best we could with the information and data that we had
at the time. In that regard, I have provided you with an attached
document prepared by Mr. Rayford Wilbanks, a recently hired senior
economist for the Mississippi Valley Division (MVD) of the Corps of
Engineers. His report was generated for MG Phillip Anderson, then
commander of the MVD, after the Department of the Army Inspector
General (DAIG) interviewed the General. MG Anderson was concerned
because it seemed as if the DAIG was questioning the mathematical
accuracy of the N value of 1.2. Mr. Wilbanks' report to General
Anderson is attached as Exhibit l.
After consulting with other economists and mathematicians, Mr.
Wilbanks concluded that his "...professional opinion is that there is
no mathematical `error', i.e., you can apply a linear 'N' value to a
nonlinear equation. Secondly, I believe the real concern or issue is
what is the so-called `correct' `N' value and how should it be derived?
The utilization of a weighted average of `N' does have economic merit
in that it was derived from actual available data that logically
weights the grain distance from the waterway. I do not see a flaw in
At the time of Mr. Wilbanks' opinion, he had no exposure to the
navigation study. Yes, it would have been nice to have commodity flow
data, especially grain, from all five states for multiple years. This
would have provided us with better information from which to derive
expected values for ``N'' for each State to be used in the model. That
luxury didn't exist then and it doesn't exist now. We did the best we
could with the one data set (the Iowa grain data). I did ask the grain
grower organizations in the five State area if much had changed in the
way grain is shipped and/or used in the Midwest since the 1994 Iowa
Grain Flow Survey, Their answer was an emphatic, N0! They also said
they were probably more dependent upon cheap water transportation which
helps offset lower than normal commodity prices. This review
contradicts the DAIG finding that the mathematical methodology used to
estimate the ``N'' Value of 1.2 was flawed. There is no similar
scientific investigation in the DAIG report, just conclusions totally
based on hearsay and false testimony.
As a further validation of the uncertainties surrounding the N-
value, I submit a direct quotation from Mr. Manguno's affidavit, dated
1 April 2000, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and
``7. Given the current state of the Study's investigation into the
subject of waterway demand elasticities, I cannot conclude that the
waterway demand elasticity that corresponds to an `N' of 1.2 for grain
falls outside of my notion of the uncertainty bounds surrounding the
actual elasticity values.''
Although this is a somewhat obtuse way of saying it, I believe Mr.
Manguno states in the above quotation that an ``N'' of 1.2 is within
the range of uncertainty bounds, and thus may be the right answer. I
find it to be very strange that the news media, and apparently the
DAIG, concluded that Mr. Manguno's affidavit supported Dr. Sweeney's
allegations completely. I believe that Mr. Manguno's statement refutes
Dr. Sweeney's allegations, and supports my decisions concerning the
derivation of an ``N'' of 1.2. Either the DAIG ignored paragraph 7,
quoted above, or they did not understand it.
I would also like to point out that the NAS on page 40 of their
report state that the ``N'' value of grain that Dr. Sweeney espoused is
not equal to 2.0 but is equal to a lower value of N. (Exhibit 2) They
also state that the supply of grain is not uniform across all farms,
and that farms face somewhat different local alternatives. Congressmen,
what the NAS just told you is the ``N'' value is not 2, which Dr.
Sweeney adamantly supported, and it is not 1.5, which is the mean of
the uniform distribution used by Mr. Manguno. They go on to say that we
should have based the ``N'' on actual historical data and actual
shipper behavior--that is what I told my team to do when we calculated
``N'' equal to 1.2
In hindsight, the selection of a value of ``N'' of 1.2 is probably
too high/-too elastic. On that note, T would also like to provide you a
letter from Dr. Hauser from the University of Illinois (Exhibit 3), who
did a study with one of the members of the National Academy of Science
team investigating the study also, Dr. Baumel. Although this study s
dated, he indicates that the value of ``N'' of 1.2 is at the upper
bound of the feasible range of legitimate ``N'' values. He also
indicates that the movement of grain has gotten mare inelastic since
the time of his report. Why Dr. Baumel (Chief economic spokesperson for
the Upper Mississippi environmental movement and now member of the NAS
review team), who has been an active member of the navigation, study
economic team/advisors, didn't provide this information to Dr. Sweeney
in the early stages of his model development is still puzzling. Or, if
he did, why Dr. Sweeney didn't use it is puzzling to me. To the best of
my knowledge, the Hauser, Beaulieu and Baumel (HBB) report is the only
totally empirically based grain elasticity information the Study team
has to date. The DAIG investigators had this letter and the HBB
original study. With this information in hand, I question haw the DAIG
could conclude that I directed actions which I knew, or reasonably
should have known, would contribute to the production of a feasibility
study failing to meet standards . . . If anything, my direction got the
study into a range of the plausible ``N'' values for grain.
My directions were not only appropriate but based on a solid
mathematical foundation, using the only available empirical data
available and the result was closer than any other to grain's true
My direction was on the mark.
As to the insinuation that I knew what the outcome would be is
anything farther than the truth.
In this regard, I submit an E-mail sent by my head economist, Mr.
Manguno, written right after the decision to use an ``N'' Value of 1.2.
(Exhibit 4) Mr. Manguno clearly states that any previous model runs are
subject to change because the system environmental impacts (costs) had
to be incorporated in the model and the optimal timing of benefits to
costs had to be determined.
These two facts did have a large impact on the outcome. There was
no way for me to have known any of this before Mr. Manguno ran the
The DATG had this information and the E-mail and did nothing with
these facts either.
On another note, the Navigation Industry folks were telling my
economists verbally and in several written reviews that the model they
were using was severely flawed. The Corps economists chase to ignore
MG Anderson was found by the DAIG to have let the industry folks
get too close to the study.
The NAS interim report finds the same things wrong with the
Navigation economic model that the Navigation Industry was trying to
point out. To MG Anderson's credit, he has a good eye for the truth.
How the DAIG could find something inappropriate in this regard is
totally wrong. And to top it off the Corps regulations tell its
planners to seek out the knowledgeable judgment of navigation
economists and industry experts. (Exhibit 5) I find the DAIG findings
in this regard truly appalling.
I have tried to figure out how the DAIG could come up with the
conclusions it did. I am always left with three outcomes, they were
politically coerced by the last administration, they were duped by Dr.
Sweeney's affidavit, his quasi-expert testimony and that of the other
questionable Corps economists, or the IG investigators were in a highly
technical investigation that put them at severe disadvantage--they were
quite inept for the task.
All three speak to a sad day for the Army. Not only is this report
an embarrassment for the Army but also it could be divisive to our
soldier's confidence in the IG process.
These are my conclusions: I find the DATG report nothing more than
I find the VCSA actions against the only people in the Corps asking
the hard questions of Corps economists, who were totally wrong,
unconscionable; and I find the NAS findings totally enlightening but
almost lost by the public, press and Office of Special Counsel.
It's not every day that a whistleblower blows the whistle on his
own incompetence. How ironic.
I still wonder how the congressional S&I investigation turned out
but it wouldn't surprise me if they find Dr. Sweeney lacking in good
management traits. Rather than supporting Sweeney's allegations and the
resulting report prepared by the DAIG, the NAS findings seriously
question Dr. Sweeney's professional credibility and his integrity. I
feel that Dr. Sweeney owes the American taxpayer a huge apology for
wasting more than fours years of effort and millions of dollars in
taxpayer funds developing a useless model, not to mention the recent
three plus years and millions of dollars that it took us to find out it
I don't know how this injustice can be corrected. I respectfully
request your thoughtful consideration of any options you may have to
help correct them. I thank you for your attention to all I've said
today, and for any actions that you may undertake as a result.
Subject to your questions this completes my testimony.
To: Anderson, Phillip, R MG MVD
'subject: ``N'' Values Issues
Sir, Attached is my assessment of subject issues per your request.
I stopped short of contacting economists from universities in the Upper
Mississippi region due to the sensitivity of the project and not
knowing if it could be getting unbiased opinions. I would welcome a
short meeting to relay additional insight after you have had a chance
Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway System Navigation Study
methodology for computation of ``n'' value
Is there a mathematical ``error'' in the Upper Mississippi River-
Illinois Waterway System Navigation Study Economic Study Panel's
application of the derived ``N'' value? Would the economic community
have contradictory views concerning the methodology, procedures, and
application of the Study Panel's derived ``N'' value to estimate the
demand for waterway transportation?
In June 1999 Dr. Donald Sweeney expressed concern to the Economic
Study Panel for the Upper Mississippi River-Illinois Waterway System
Navigation Study regarding the computation of the ``N'' value being
used in the formula for the demand curve in the Essence model. The
following paragraph, which explains Dr. Sweeney's concerns, is taken
from an E-mail message dated June 29, 1999, from Dr. Sweeney to members
of the Economic panel. Dr. Sweeney alleges that the method of computing
the ``N'' value was erroneous in the concluding sentences of the
The methodology adopted by the study team for estimating farm
product, origin-destination specific, ``N'' values in the Essence
spreadsheet is inappropriate for three reasons. As I understand the
methodology, information from the expert elicitation panel for farm
products movements regarding reasonable upper and lower bounds for
possible ``N'' values (determined by the panel to be 2 and 1,
respectively), along with that panel 's conclusion that agricultural
producers located nearer the river are more likely to be inelastic than
producers distant from the river with respect to their demand for water
transportation, and information regarding aggregated commodity flow
data from the report entitled ``The Iowa Grain Flow Survey ``, 1996,
are used to compute an ``expected value'' of ``N'' for all farm product
movements. The weights used in estimating the expected value for ``N''
are derived from the proportion of total tonnage of movements of corn
and soybeans to the river for the entire State of Iowa from an eastern
band (near the river, N=1), a band for central Iowa (further from the
river, N=1.5) and a band for western Iowa (distant from the river,
N=2). Following this procedure yields an estimate of 1.2 for ``N'' for
all movements of farm products. The first problem with this procedure
is that it completely ignores the critical role that the end users of
the product have in determining the derived demand for water
transportation. It is the interplay of the willingness of producers to
supply product to the river and the willingness of end users to pay
that determines the characteristics of the demand for water
transportation. The other problems with this procedure are immediately
evident when the existing flows of grain from Iowa origins to other
areas is examined. Most pools on the Upper Mississippi River and
Illinois Waterway originate relatively small quantities of grain water
movements. These pools do not ``draw'' grain from western Iowa or
anywhere relatively distant from the terminals located in the pool. A
few pools (with rail access to the river) originate relatively large
volumes of water grain movements and draw a large proportion of their
volume from relatively distant ultimate sources. Consequently, the
larger volume movements should have higher ``N'' values and the more
numerous smaller movements should have lower ``N'' values. If the study
team wants to adopt some similar methodology, then it should apply the
suggested methodology to specific origin, destination, and commodity
movements. In other words, each farm product movement should have its
own ``N'' value estimated as a function of the distribution of the
ultimate origins of grain and destination for that movement. The final
problem with computing the ``expected value'' of ``N'' in the manner
adopted by the study team mathematical. Computing the weighted average
of ``N'' values and then inserting that average into the non-linear
functional form in the spreadsheet does not produce a weighted
``average'' demand curve due to the non-linearity of the functional
form in the spreadsheet.
The ``N'' value of 1.2 for grain is a weighted average that
incorporates information from the August 1998 expert elicitation panel
and the 1994 Iowa Grain Flow Survey. Info from the panel was used to
identify a range of ``N'' values. Data from the Iowa Grain Flow Survey
was used to develop the weights that were applied to the specific ``N''
values. The weighted average that resulted from this calculation was
applied to all grain movements shipped from all origins.
The conclusion of the expert panel was that the ``N'' value for
grain ranged between limit values of 1.0 and 2.0. These limit values
were used in conjunction with the three Iowa east-to-west crop
reporting regions. The panel had concluded that grain originating
closer to the river was relatively more inelastic as compared to grain
originating farther from the river. Consequently the limit ``N'' value
of 1.0 was assigned to eastern region and the limit ``N'' value of 2.0
was assigned to the western region. The mid-point of the ``N'' value
range, 1.5, was assigned to the central region.
Weights were assigned to the three crop reporting regions in Iowa.
This was accomplished by using the Iowa data, which described the
proportion of each region's corn production that moved to the river.
These proportions were converted to weights and assigned to the
appropriate region. With assigned ``N'' values and weights for each
region, the overall weighted average of 1.2 was applied to all grain
movement shipped from all origins.
Dr. Darren Hudson, Assistant Professor of Agricultural
Economics, Mississippi State University
Dr. Richard Kasul, Statistician Environmental Lad, ERDC
Mr. Jerry Ballard, Mathematician/Computer Scientist
Environmental Lab, ERDC
Mr. Rich Manguno, Chief Economic and Social Analysis
Branch, New Orleans District
Dr. Hudson indicated the methodology utilized does not derive a
weighted demand function, but is a demand function with a weighted
constant ``N'' value, i.e., assumes the ``N'' is constant across the
demand function. Dr. Hudson said the methodology utilized of assuming a
constant ``N'' value or elasticity is the standard method to estimate a
demand function, a constant ``N'' is all right to use, and the method
utilized has derived an approximation of the effect distance from the
waterway has on grain movement.
Dr. Hudson said that with the lack of historical data and time for
detailed analysis the weighted average ``N'' value is a good
approximation. He said if you had 20 years of data on grain origins and
movements you could run a least squares regression on the log of the
quantity using barges and might be able to derive an approximation of
N. Until the historical data and analysis is analyzed one cannot tell
if the elasticity is higher or lower, although Dr. Hudson said an ``N''
of 1.2 seems too high. He said you could argue that grain along the
waterway is more inelastic (<1) because the facilities for river
transportation are readily available, the cost of river transportation
is lower than other transportation forms, and there are no real
substitutes for river transportation available to grain along the
river. He indicated barge and rail are not perfect substitutes,
therefore, barge transportation should be less than 1.2. He said that
dividing the area into more segments (smaller areas) would most likely
result in smaller ``N'' values because it would more precisely measure
the effects of distance. Dr. Hudson said the lack of data and resources
dictates the utilization of economic methodology and although you give
up some precision the analysis becomes manageable.
Mr. Jerry Ballard, Mathematician, ERDC, indicated the equation
utilized is mathematically correct. Also, the application of the linear
``N'' value is fine for the nonlinear equation for Q. Mr. Ballard
indicated that his assessment of the question raised has to do more
with doing something other than banding the region.
Dr. Richard Kasul indicated there was nothing wrong with the
mathematical application. He said that when you run something through a
non-linear equation the expectation may be different than the total,
i.e., non-linear equations cannot with certainty be mapped from one
non-linear relationship to another therefore, expected results may
differ. Dr. Kasul said that two questions are raised, 1) what is the
correct ``N'' value? 2) was the correct application methodology
utilized? The first is what the expert panel determined. The
methodology and application of a weighted ``average'' ``N'' value
should yield a better estimation of ``N'' and therefore should be
better than using the mean or midpoint between 1 and 2.
Mr. Rich Manguno said it is recognized the process utilized did not
produce a weighted composite demand curve reflecting the distribution
and weights indicated. However, the process did incorporate the concept
of a distribution of ``N'' values and was based on the only empirical
data available at the time. The process recognized the significant
degree of uncertainty that surrounds the estimation of grain demand
curves. This uncertainty includes not only the appropriate range of N-
values but also the weights that would apply to the N-values. While the
weights are known with reasonable certainty for the State of Iowa, the
same cannot be said for grain produced in other locations of the study
area. For example, most of the grain shipped from the State of Illinois
is within 90 miles of a navigable waterway, therefore, strict adherence
to a mathematically precise aggregate demand function was not deemed to
Observations Regarding Methodology
My answer to the question of a mathematical ``error'' is, NO, there
is no mathematical ``error''. The application of the linear ``N'' value
is fine for the nonlinear equation for Q. It is mathematically proper
to utilize the weighted average of ``N'' in a demand function that is
nonlinear. The method to derive the weighted average of ``N'' produces
a good approximation of the effect distance from the waterway has on
My assessment of the economic communities' views concerning the
methodology, procedures, and application of the derived weighted
``average'' ``N'' value utilized in the demand equation is not as clear
cut. I do believe most will agree that the methodology utilized was
appropriate to estimate the ``N'' value and capture the effect distance
from the waterway has on grain movements. Some will say that defining
an ``N'' value for all segmented locations along the waterway if
possible would yield a better estimate of Q. The question is would the
estimate of ``N'' change? Just how precise does the estimate need to
be? The precision utilized is dictated by the sensitivity of the
answer; data available, time required for analysis, and funding for
analysis. The method to derive the weighted ``average'' ``N'' produces
a better approximation of the effect distance from the waterway has on
grain movements than arbitrarily selecting the midpoint between 1 and
2. Some of the uncertainty is handled by utilizing the expert panel to
establish the appropriate range of ``N'' values and further by applying
the weights to determine the ``N'' value. Bottom line, yes there will
most likely be conflicting views on subject methodology, but the
conflicts will focus more on what are the ``N'' values all along the
waterway, different areas with their own particular ``N'' values, and
request for more detail analysis to determine ``N'' values.
My personal professional opinion is that there is no mathematical
``error'', i.e., you can apply a, linear ``N'' value to a nonlinear
equation. Second, I believe the real concern or issue is what is the
so-called ``correct'' ``N'' value and how should it be derived? The
utilization of a weighted average of ``N'' does have economic merit in
that it was derived from actual available data that logically weights
the grain distance from the waterway. I do not see a flaw in this
approach. However, due to the sensitivity of the ``N'' value on the
quantity of grain movements more in-depth analysis to estimate the
``N'' value and/or estimation and utilization of different ``N'' values
along the waterway may be warranted. Yes, conflicting views will
prevail in the economic community, that is the nature of making
INLAND NAVIGATION SYSTEM PLANNING
Sensitivity of Waterway Tonnage to Barge Tariffs
Another serious problem is that there is little empirical basis for
the Corps' estimate of how much of the grain will moved by barge, and
how this will be affected by waterway congestion and the consequently
higher shipping costs. The Corps' calculation is based on the ES SENCE
model, which assumes an unusual functional form to forecast demand for
barge transportation, as shown in Equation 4.I. The form) is not
necessarily wrong, but because it is unusual, it is harder to compare
it to more conventional formulations and to understand the implications
of different values of its parameters.
Corps economists originally argued that ``N'' in equation (4.1) was
likely to be equal to 2, based on elegant but simple reasoning about
the spatial distribution of commodity prices near a waterway. The
economists hypothesized that agricultural products are loaded at a
point an the waterway and that the point is surrounded by farmland
producing a constant yield per acre. Each farmer has a choice between
shipping the crop to export from the waterway port and selling it for
local uses. If the costs of transporting the product to the port are
proportional to the distance between the farm and the part and all
farmers have the same alternatives, then the area shipping to the port
will be a circle centered on the port. The size of the circle will
expand or contract as barge rates at the shipping point fall or rise.
Because the amount shipped on the waterway is proportional to the area
of the circle, this implies that ``N'' is 2.
Although the reasoning is elegant, some of the assumptions used are
If loading points are close, for example, then the drawing area
(the trade area in which transportation costs to a given loading paint
are lower than those to any other loading point) for each river port
cannot be a circle, because the drawing areas will overlap-which
implies a lower value of N. Similarly, the costs of transporting the
grain to the loading point are not proportional to distance, because
the loading-unloading charge is fixed. Finally, the supply of grain is
not uniform across all farms, and the farmers face somewhat different
local alternatives. Theoretical issues aside, the important issue is
that the Corps made no effort to assure that its assumptions about
``N'' were consistent with historical data an shipper behavior. Studies
based on actual shipper behavior suggest that, contrary to the Essence
model, price responsiveness of freight demand varies greatly by
commodity and by location (Small and Winston, 1999).
The Essence model implies that farmers that will choose to ship by
barge lie within a circle centered on the loading port, As relative
barge rates decline, the radius of the circle expands, since farmers
further from the part can afford the shipping costs to the port, and
vice versa. Essence also implies that ;farmers close to the part (well
inside the radius of the circle) are insensitive to price, since it is
cheaper far them to ship by barge. Similarly, farms far away from a
port (well outside the radius) are insensitive to price since they will
almost never ship by barge. However, farmers that fad that the cost of
shipping by barge is almost identical to shipping by a different mode
(or selling the corn for a purpose other than export) are extremely
sensitive to small changes in price, such as that from 1 month to
STATEMENT ON BARGE DEMAND ELASTICITIES FOR GRAIN
ROBERT J. HAUSER, PROFESSOR AND HEAD DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND
CONSUMER ECONOMICS UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, URBANA-CHAMPAIGN
This statement concerns the estimate for the barge-rate elasticity
of demand for grain shipments on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois
Rivers used by the Corps of Engineers in its evaluation of various
navigation-related projects. My understanding is that the most recent
estimate of elasticity used by the Corps is approximately three.
(Demand elasticities referred to in this statement will be in absolute
Since farm products account for the majority of the traffic on the
Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, assessments of navigation
benefits and costs rely heavily on the underlying barge demand
elasticities for corn and soybean shipments. In analyses conducted by
the Corps, if the estimated demand elasticity is too high, waterway
navigation benefits will be understated; if too low, the resulting
benefits will be overstated. Thus it is important that (1) the general
level of the elasticity be considered carefully, (2) differences in
elasticities between river segments be considered, (3) a reasonable
range of potential elasticities be considered, and (4) the sensitivity
of the project-evaluation results to changes in the elasticity be
measured. ,I will.address points 1 through 3, based on a study
conducted during the 1980's by Hawser, Beaulieu, and Baumel (HBB).\1\
\1\ Hauser, Robert.J., Jeffrey Beaulieu, and C. Phillip Baumel.
``Impacts of Waterway User Fees on Grain Transportation and Implied
Barge Rate Elasticities,'' Logistics and Transportation Review,
21(1985), pp 37-55. Funded by U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Contract
HBB measured impacts of alternative waterway user fees. The 1980
transportation rate structure for rail, barge and truck was used to
estimate user-fee impacts given forecasts of 1985 supply/demand
conditions for grain. The HBB grain-flow projections were found with an
optimization model containing over 11,000 alternatives for shipments of
corn, soybeans, and wheat in the U.S., expressed in over 3,000
equations. A base line solution (in terms of grain flows and attendant
transportation costs) was found under the 1980 rate structure. The
impacts of user fees were then assessed by measuring changes in grain
flows and costs caused by imposing user fees (i.e., changing barge
rates.) An important output of the analysis are estimates of own-price
elasticities for grain barge shipments since the change in barge rate
causes a measurable change in barge shipments, enabling the calculation
of elasticity estimates. Resulting estimates are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Estimated Barge Demand Elasticities for Grains (HBB)1
Barge Demand Elasticity
Fuel Tax Segment Tax
Upper Mississippi River....................... 2.09 2.10
Illinois River................................ 1.07 0.92
All River Segments............................ l.62 1.48$
As indicated in Table 1, the barge demand elasticities for grain
(corn, soybeans and wheat) found by HBB for the Illinois River, the
Upper Mississippi River, and the entire system are well below the
demand elasticity of 3.0 currently implied by the Corps shipment demand
function for grains. Moreover, the degree of difference depends on the
river segment. Because of its location relative to other rivers and to
production, the Illinois River's elasticity is approximately half that
for the Upper Mississippi River. Consequently, the HBB analysis
suggests that using a single transportation demand elasticity for all
waterways is not appropriate.
HBB note that their analysis is a ``snapshot'' of demand
characteristics that change from year to year, if not from day to day.
In general, the barge rates used in the HBB analysis are higher than
those which have existed since the study was conducted, implying that,
under a stationary and linear demand, elasticities have fallen since
the early 1980's and that the HBB estimates are probably biased
upwards, indicating further that the Corps estimate is relatively high.
Given the HBB analysis, the Corps' elasticity estimate should be
considered, at best, an upper bound for analysis. Lower bounds could
reasonably be defined well below one. Given this type of range, an
important question becomes: how sensitive are the Corps' findings to
changes in. elasticity estimates from, say, 0.5 to 3.0? Consideration
of this question by river segment is critical to providing a sound
assessment of the benefits and costs associated with new projects on
the inland waterway system.
Your consideration of this statement is appreciated.
Mudd, James V MVR
From: Manguno, Richard J MVN
'sent: Friday, June 11, 1999 8:52 AM
To: Mudd, James V MVR; Loss, Gary L MVR; Tipple, David A MVR; Thompson,
Bradley E MVR; Carr, John P MVR; Barr, Kenneth A MVR; Marmorstein,
Jeffrey G MVS; Astrack, Richard F MVS; Stuart, Richard E MVD
'subject: Model Results/BCRs
The attached file summarizes the evaluations completed to date.
Several points must be noted. 1) These evaluations do not include
system environmental costs. 2) The list of investment measures is not
necessarily a complete list. 3) We have not yet addressed the optimal
timing of these measures. 4) If any of the Without Project rehab costs
avoided are scheduled during the navigation season there is an
additional benefit category to consider Navigation Impacts Avoided. 5)
Investment measures that include lock extensions reflect slightly
adjusted service times compared to the times most recently used
(approximately 1-4 minutes slower for locks 20-25).
We expect to complete the evaluations for the all the measures
identified on the attachment by early next week.
ER 1105-2-100 28 Dec 90 6-68. Evaluation Procedure: Step 7--Determine
Future Cost of Alternative Modes.
a. Future cost per unit of each commodity will normally be the same
as current cost. As stated in paragraph 6-60a(5), the without-project
condition normally assumes that the alternative modes have sufficient
capacity to move traffic at current rates unless there is specific
evidence to the contrary.
This step combined with step 6 provides a time series of demand
schedules specific to a particular commodity origin-destination
pattern. Address the projection of any change in future prices as
b. A future rate is a prevailing rate as defined in step 5.
It reflects exclusively a shift in rates because of projected
changes in the volume of shipments on a given mode or a shift from one
mode to another (e.g., from rail to pipeline). To support such a shift,
show that the increase in volume is likely to lead to a change in rate;
do not assume, for example, that an increase in volume of traffic of a
commodity from one area to another will automatically ensure a more
favorable high-volume rate.
6-69. Evaluation Procedure: Step 8--Determine Future Cost of
Waterway Use. Two separate analyses make up this step. First, analyze
the possibility of changes in the costs of the waterway mode for future
years for individual origin destination commodity combinations. Second,
analyze the relationship between waterway traffic volume and system
delay. Do this second analysis in the context of the total volume of
traffic on the waterway segments being studied for with and without
project conditions. This analysis will generate data on the
relationship between total traffic volume. and delay patterns as
functions of the mix of traffic on the waterway; it may be undertaken
iteratively with step 9 to produce a ``best estimate.''
6-70. Evaluation Procedure: Step 9--Determine Waterway Use, With
and Without Project. At this point the analyst will have a list of
commodities that potentially might use the waterway segment under
study, the tonnages associated with each commodity, and the costs of
using alternate modes and the waterway, including system delay
functions with and without the project over time.' Use this information
to determine waterway use over time with and without the project based
a. A comparison of costs for movements by the waterway and by the
alternative mode, as modified by paragraph 6-69b.
b. Any changes in the cost functions and demand schedules comparing
(1) the current and future without project conditions and (2) the
current and future with project condition.
Conceptually, this step should include all factors that might
influence a demand schedule; e.g., impact of uncertainty in the use of
the waterway; ownership of barges and special equipment; level of
service; inventory and production processes; and the like. As a
practical matter, the actual use of a waterway without a cost savings
or nonuse of a waterway with a cost savings depends on the
knowledgeable judgment of navigation economists and industry experts.
Senator Bond. General Flowers, you have come far in your
distinguished career. But in the time ahead, I advise that you
measure your job performance. It will be determined by many
important things, but mandatory endorsement of the Washington
Post is not something you should count on.
Senator Inhofe. For clarifications purposes, Senator Bond,
let me just state that I had talked to General Flowers about
all these things that have appeared in various publications. I
think that we all agreed that a hearing is necessary to give
him the opportunity to respond, and to respond on the record.
It was certainly not in the form of attack on him or the Corps.
Senator Bond. Oh, no, I wanted to make sure, because I have
some colleagues that I wish were here today, and I may send
them autographed copies of my statement, to share with them.
Senator Inhofe. We will certainly do that. You mentioned
the big picture. People forget that my hometown of Tulsa,
Oklahoma is navigable. We are on that thing. It does not stop
in Missouri. It comes on to Oklahoma.
Senator Bond. We are happy to have you here, coming by.
Senator Inhofe. We have concerns with Montgomery Point Lock
and Dam, for example. If we had not attended that, there would
be no way to predict the future of navigability into Oklahoma,
so we are very much interested.
In fact, I would further say, to make sure it gets on the
record, that it was my father-in-law, who worked with Bob Curr
and Senator McClellan, that started this whole thing that came
all the way there into Oklahoma. So this is deeply in our
Senator Baucus, would you like to have an opening
Senator Baucus. At a later moment; not at this moment,
Senator Inhofe. This is your last chance.
Senator Inhofe. No, any time you want.
Senator Baucus. I will find another chance.
Senator Inhofe. General Flowers, it is nice to have you
here. Normally, we have opening statements confined to 5
minutes; but you are the only witness here. Take as long as you
want, but try to keep it within 15 minutes at the most. Your
entire statement will be placed in the record.
STATEMENT OF LT. GEN. ROBERT B. FLOWERS, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,
U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS
General Flowers. Thank you, Sir, I appreciate the
opportunity to be here. I have prepared a statement that we
have furnished, and I would like to ask that it be made part of
Senator Inhofe. Without objection.
General Flowers. In my remarks this morning, I intend to
speak out in defense of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with
its 35,000 dedicated military and civilian public servants.
They are deeply concerned about what they read in the
newspapers, and the reason is that they do not recognize their
Army Corps of Engineers in the words that they read; and sir,
neither do I.
The Army Corps of Engineers is charged in the press as a
rogue agency, out of control, too cozy with Congress; and
living by its own rules.
Those allegations are absolutely false. The Army Corps of
Engineers has been publicly labeled that it cannot be trusted
to do an objective study. The facts do not bear that out. It is
simply not true.
We have been painted as being insensitive to the
environment, when the fact is that 20 percent of the our civil
works program is dedicated to the environment. This percentage
The language in the President's budget speaks to serious
questions that have been raised about the quality, objectivity,
and credibility of Corps reports on economic and environmental
feasibility of proposed water projects. We welcome the
opportunity to address these questions and to take action to
address any and all findings of merit.
In the case of Upper Mississippi and Illinois Navigation
Study, we are responsible to forecast economic activity 50
years into the future. It is very, very difficult to try to
model this far ahead. I am not convinced that anyone has the
tools to do this. I take very seriously both the results of the
of the Army Inspector General's report on the Upper Mississippi
and the report of National Academy of Sciences.
Having said that, the public needs to be better informed
about the circumstances surrounding this study. I am making
substantive changes to the procedures used for the study. I
must ensure the integrity of our study process. There were no
findings of fraud or waste. Good and decent Americans are
involved on all sides of this issue.
The study, as indicated on this chart, when interrupted by
whistle blower allegations, was far from complete and had yet
to undergo several serious reviews.
Senator Baucus. General, do we have a copy of that
General Flowers. Senator, we will furnish you a copy.
Senator Baucus. Thank you.
General Flowers. We were still in the study phase when
whistle blower allegations were made. The National Academy of
Sciences found that the model for economic analysis was flawed.
In fact, the Academy's report said that the shortcomings were
so serious, that the model should not have been used. Dr.
Sweeney, the lead core economist on the study, developed this
It was this emerging realization that caused much of the
tension between the parties involved in the allegations.
Despite the enormous complexity, the goal of our study process
is to produce the best economic and scientific analysis
available for the management of our Nation's water resources.
Let me tell you the situation I found when I took over as
Chief last October. I found a fundamentally sound organization,
whose people possess an amazing breath and depth of
professional and technical capability, and who continue to
persevere in providing sound solutions to the Nation's water
resources problems, despite being surrounded by controversy.
Over the past year, we have been maligned in the press.
Congressional committees, our own Army Inspector General, and
the National Academy of Sciences have investigated us. We have
had our credibility assailed and integrity questioned. Morale
is suffering as a result of these circumstances.
For over 200 years, the Congress and the American people
have put their faith and confidence in the ability of our
agency to respond and to solve some of our most complex
Today, I assure you, the Army Corps of Engineers is an
agency of integrity, with people of high character, who return
real value to the Nation. The Corps has sound, systematic
processes, that consistently provide decisionmakers, the
Congress, the Administration and the American people, with
solid recommendations based on sound engineering, scientific
fact, and objectivity.
Our processes are not just Corps processes; they are
Federal processes that are used throughout the Government in
the water resources arena. We work in an open atmosphere and
collaborate with many stakeholders. We have been and remain
willing to incorporate improvements to get better answers. Our
intent is to achieve a synergy between economic objectives and
Toward this end, in April of last year, we improved our
planning guidance, and this has clarified our ability to
develop projects for environmental restoration. I pledge that
we will continue to improve this process.
Let me now address more specifically some of the questions
that have been raised by two investigations of our study of the
Upper Mississippi River and the Illinois Waterway.
I believe many of the problems occurred for one simple
reason. People were trying to do the right thing, their duty. I
think that is an important point to remember, as we look at
three of the more important findings and recommendations.
The National Academy identified the economic model that we
were using in the study as a problem. We agree. Within the
Corps, we saw that this model was not working and needed
change. The internal processes within Corps were in place, and
the Crops leadership intervened.
That intervention, however, has been characterized as an
attempt to manipulate the outcome of the study. I do not
believe it was. The Academy's report now confirms that the
model was flawed.
The Academy also found that despite the nearly $25 million
that we spent on environmental studies, we must do more to
integrate this information into the project decisionmaking
process. We accept that judgment. I have already talked about
the changes that we have made in our process to incorporate
environmental values in our projects.
In partnership with the States and other Federal agencies,
we have made great strides in understanding the ecology of the
Upper Mississippi, and in restoring its environmental
resources; but we can and will do more. We also pledge to more
thoroughly examine nonstructural alternatives.
I am also taking the following additional actions. We will
go forward with this complex study, after assessing the
findings in the Inspector General's report and the National
Academy of Sciences' report, and refocusing and restructuring
the team. I am also establishing a Washington-level principles
group, composed of senior people from other key Federal
The Corps will continue to lead the study that this group
will provide national level balance and guidance on important
economic and environmental issues. The principles group met for
the first time yesterday.
We are also convening a similar group at the regional
level, composed of our own Corps professionals, those from
other agencies, the States, and non-governmental organizations
such as industry and environmental groups.
Finally, given the regional and controversial nature of the
study, I am placing the study team under the direct supervision
of the Commander of the Mississippi Valley Division, a general
Let me get back to the findings. One that I want to address
specifically is that the Corps provided inappropriate
information to the barge industry. The facts do not bare this
Public involvement began early in the study. There have
been 34 public meetings, with over 2,400 attendees and 2,500
comments. Mailings went out to almost 10,000 individuals,
agencies, and stakeholders, and there is still more to come.
It is important to remember that the users, and the barge
industry in particular, will be paying for half of the
construction of any possible solutions; and the improvements,
or lack thereof, that will ultimately have a great impact on
their cost of doing business. It is incumbent upon us to
provide them access to the study and to consider their input.
We also provided access to environmental groups and other
stakeholders throughout the process. We welcome and we use the
input we receive from all interest groups and individuals. The
Corps takes the findings of the two reports very seriously. We
clearly understand our responsibility for providing you with
the best environmentally sustainable alternatives, and we will
Let me move to the broader issue. During the review of the
Upper Mississippi study, sweeping generalizations unfairly
characterized the entire Corps study process. Two facts are
important here. First, the conclusions reached were based on
one study in one division. It is one of the largest and most
complex studies we have ever undertaken; but it is still only
one study. We have done thousands of important studies over the
Second, a 1999 National Academy of Sciences' report found
our study process to be fundamentally sound. One of my major
objectives is to guarantee you that you can continue to have
confidence in my organization and our products.
It is critical that we continue to provide valuable
services for the American people. Therefore, I am proposing as
soon as possible the establishment of an independent review
panel for large, complex, or controversial studies.
We are still working on the details of this initiative. It
will be a mixed group of Corps senior leaders and outside
independent experts. They will provide me with a separate
assessment, before I forward my report to the Office of the
This proposal would be an interim step while we await
results from the WRDA 2000 mandated National Academy of
Additionally, I am reinstituting the Chief's Environmental
Advisory Board next month. In the past, this group of experts
helped move Corps thinking and processes to achieve a more
environmentally sustainable philosophy. They will again play a
key role, and I look forward to hearing from them.
Before concluding, I want to briefly return to the charges
that have been leveled at the Corps. Are we a ``rogue agency,''
outside effective executive branch control, and ``too cozy with
Congress''? We are absolutely not.
We are a military organization, under the civilian
leadership of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil
Works, and the military supervision of the Chief of Staff of
When I came on board last year, I co-signed a letter with
the Assistant Secretary, that reiterated this relationship and
our individual roles and responsibilities. I would submit that
the entire Corps program is subject to a higher level of
executive branch and congressional oversight than any other
form of Federal activity.
Corps projects are separately authorized, and the bill is
passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. Every
project is reviewed annually by both the Administration and the
Congress as part of the Appropriations process, before it can
progress. Each is also subjected to a benefit cost analysis
that is unique among Federal agencies.
The second charge is that the Corps cannot be trusted to do
an objective study and has a bias for construction. The facts
tell a different story.
This is what we know is true. We know that of every 100
reconnaissance studies undertaken, only 16 result in actual
construction, and five of six are weeded out. This is a pretty
tough wicket to get through.
We examined 15 cases where we have projected usage on the
inland waterway system. The overwhelming majority shows actual
traffic was close to or exceeded the projections. Only in four
cases was traffic significantly below projections. Keep in
mind, we are attempting to predict conditions well into the
Another charge is that our projects benefit a few well
connected beneficiaries, such as large agricultural interests,
large companies, and foreign ship owners. The facts do not
support the charge.
In all of our major mission areas, the benefits that the
Corps program provides are widespread. For example, 98 percent
of the Nation's international trade comes through Corps-
maintained channels at the Nation's ports. This provides jobs
for 13 million Americans.
Since 1959, Corps projects have prevented nearly $500
billion in flood damages across the country, returning nearly
$6 in benefits for every $1 invested.
The Corps hosts 380 million visitors a year at recreation
sites, providing boating, swimming, and fishing. We produced 24
percent of the Nation's hydropower. This power has a very high
Your investment in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
produces a 26 percent annual rate of return, and put $30
billion in tax revenues and savings in the Treasury.
Finally, we are accused of continuing insensitivity to the
environment. This is absolutely unfounded. Again, our
environmental program now constitutes 20 percent of our overall
civil works program, and is growing.
Projects with environmental benefits as the principal
output now compromise the largest number of study new starts;
more than navigation and flood control.
Over the many years that the Corps had been working in our
country, society's needs and values have changed, and we have,
too. We have fully integrated environmental values into every
phase of our program. We routinely solve problems in ways that
also benefit the environment.
My view, from 5 months on the job, is that Corps continues
to be an organization with the highest integrity and remains a
critical part of solving our country's problems, today and in
the future. It is an organization that has changed in the past
and is willing to again, provided that the change will result
We do not work alone. You in the Congress, the
Administration, interest groups, and citizens, all are
important to solutions.
As our critics have chided us in the past, I would ask that
they work with us in the future, for the well being of our
citizens and the environment in which we live.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks. I am prepared to
respond to your questions.
Senator Inhofe. That was an excellent statement, General
We have been joined by two Senators. I would like to give
Senator Baucus and Senator Graham an opportunity for an opening
statement, if they choose to do so.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MAX BAUCUS,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MONTANA
Senator Baucus. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very
General I appreciate your statement and presence here, and
your ongoing efforts to improve not only the relationship with
the Corps, but the operations of the Corps, basically for the
American people. I appreciate that very much.
When we get to the time to ask questions, I would like to
explore with you a little about the Upper Mississippi, and its
relation to our State, and the master manual, and how all that
is put together.
As you well know, we are a State where it does not rain.
The precipitation west of about the 100th meridian is about 14
or 15 inches, and that is about it.
In western Montana and eastern Montana water is everything.
To Oklahoma, it might be oil and gas, and water is probably
important, too; but in Montana, it is primarily water. We do
not have a lot oil and gas. It is extremely critical, with the
levels of pools and so forth.
Second, I want to explore a little bit the communication
between local Corps officials, and Omaha and the rest of the
People in Montana have great relationships with local
management there. It is wonderful. There is a lot of trust.
However, there is some feeling that when you go further up the
chain, the communication is not very good. It is not what it
could and should be.
Beyond that, I have a couple of questions about the
President's proposal to cut the Corps budget, and cut it
considerably, and what impact that might have on your
operations. I will get to that later. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Senator Baucus follows:]
Statement of Hon. Max Baucus, U.S. Senator from the State of Montana
Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank General Flowers for
testifying here today. I look forward to hearing your testimony today.
There has been a lot of focus on Corps management activities in recent
years. There has also been a great deal of criticism leveled at the
Corps. Some of this criticism has amounted to serious accusations of
misconduct by senior officials.
To the Corps' credit, it has made some effort to respond to these
criticisms about its management practices and its alleged bias toward
large construction projects. I hope to learn more fully from General
Flowers how his agency plans to institute reforms. I am encouraged by
General Flowers' testimony, that he would like to make the changes
necessary to ensure the continued integrity of the Civil Works planning
I also look forward to discussing with General Flowers some of the
Corps activities that are very important to my State.
Actions taken by the Army Corps of Engineers can have an enormous
impact in Montana. For example, the Missouri flows into Fort Peck
Reservoir in Montana. Every year, throughout the year, we sit and watch
water flow out of our State for a multitude of downstream uses. Many of
those uses are important to other States, and I appreciate that.
However, that water is vital to recreation in our State, to our farmers
and ranchers and to our economy.
Our local communities around Fort Peck have a good relationship
with the local Corps officers. I think that's great. It's a model of
cooperation that should be encouraged in the Corps because, too often,
decisions are made in Omaha or in Washington DC that just don't work
for Montana. I am interested in discussing with General Flowers how to
improve the lines of communication between States like Montana and the
I understand that the President proposes to reduce the Corps'
budget considerably. I realize that this could pose some problems for
the Corps as far as instituting reforms or prioritizing projects is
concerned. I would like to hear General Flowers' thoughts on this
Again, I would like to thank General Flowers for being here and I
look forward to discussing with him ways to make the Army Corps of
Engineers a more effective, efficient and responsive government agency.
Senator Inhofe. Senator Graham?
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GRAHAM,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Senator Graham. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and
thank you for calling this hearing.
I have had the privilege of working closely with the Corps
of Engineers on many important and successful projects over the
years. This committee, in the last several years, has paid a
lot of attention to the American Everglades.
In my opinion, this is an outstanding example of the new
modern Corps of Engineers, in its commitment to professionalism
and the quality of its plan for environmental restoration of
this important Nation treasure.
I appreciate the comments that have been made by General
Flowers. I believe that he represents the spirit of the new
Corps, and will be a leader who will help to take the culture
that I think that is illustrated in the Everglades on a
I would, however, like to bring to the committee's
attention a specific Corps project, which I think raises some
of the concerns that have lead to this hearing, and that is the
project of dredging in the Apalachicola River.
This river, which is one of the largest in the Eastern
United States in terms of annual water flow, has for a century
and half been a major transportation artery in the south, with
its two extensions the Chattahoochie and the Flint River. It
has been a significant transportation corridor.
Approximately, a half century ago, Congress directed the
Corps of Engineers to enhance the ability of the Apalachicola
to serve as a transportation system by requiring that it
maintain a channel nine feet deep and 100 feet wide, sufficient
to float barges on the Apalachicola. This project has been
under the jurisdiction of the Mobile Office of Corps of
I believe the time has come for this project to be
reexamined in terms of modern realities. With other Members of
the Congress, 18 months ago, a request was made of the Corps to
examine the Apalachicola. I would like to ask that a letter and
accompanying materials be submitted for the record, Mr.
Senator Inhofe. Without objection.
[The referenced document follows:]
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Works
Pentagon, Washington DC 20370-0108
Honorable Bob Graham,
Washington, DC. 20510-0903.
Dear Senator Graham: I am writing to you regarding the Apalachicola-
Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) navigation project, Alabama, Florida, and
Georgia. Specifically; I am responding to your letters of July 19 and
28, and November 9, 1999, wherein you asked me to provide additional
information regarding the ACF navigation project.
Over the past 12 months we have discussed the ACF on numerous
occasions and our respective staff have exchanged information. I
apologize for the delay in sending you a final written reply. However,
this office has been working diligently with the Army Corps of
Engineers to compile, evaluate, and discuss the volumes of material on
file regarding the ACF. Last month, 1 was provided a comprehensive
briefing on the ACF and related matters during a visit to the Corps
South Atlantic Division in Atlanta, Georgia: Enclosure 1 is a short
3=page summary of the extensive information we have compiled in an ACF
reference notebook, a copy of which is provided at enclosure 2.
Enclosure 3 contains additional information and clarifications in
response to your specific questions regarding shipping costs,
maintenance casts, flow requirements and ACF Compact negotiations,
alternative dredged material management plans, and water quality
certification from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Based upon our review and conversations with the Corps, I believe
that maintaining navigation on the ACF is not economically justified as
environmentally defensible. With an economic return that has been
estimated at less than 40 cents far each dollar spent, it is difficult
to continue to invest nearly $3 million each year on this project in
light of the Corps overall backlog for operation and maintenance:
Further, the deauthorization of navigation would provide the Carps
greater flexibility to address important environmental issues along the
Again, I apologize for the delay in responding to your letters. As
always, I look forward to working with you, other Members of Congress,
the Corps, and interested parties to discuss the future of navigation
on the ACF and the potential for further exploring how to meet
environmental restoration and protection, and recreation challenges,
especially in the Florida panhandle area. Please do not hesitate to
contact me if you have any questions.
Joseph W. Westphal, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil
Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Navigation Project (ACF)
A draft analysis for the Comprehensive Study of the ACT/
ACF River Basins--NED benefits from transportation savings are about
$2.7 million/year, while O&M casts are about $7 million/year, for a BCR
Past, current, and potential future environmental
impacts, and related impacts on recreational uses are significant
enough to warrant thinking about the sustainability of commercial
navigation on the ACF system. It is anticipated that the benefits of
restoring and protecting environmental resources and functions would
far outweigh economic benefits associated with dredging and disposal
practices and future requirements.
The authorization for the ACF does not establish
priorities for authorized purposes (flood damage reduction, navigation,
hydropower, recreation, fish and wildlife, water quality). Thus, the
Corps, in partnership with the three States, has tried valiantly to
balance or maximize operations for all purposes.
Dredging/disposal, navigation windows, hydropower
infrastructure operations, recreation, water flows/allocations; fish
and wildlife should be considered concurrently
The Army has a tremendous opportunity to assume a
leadership role under the auspices of the existing ACF project, the
ongoing ACT-ACF Basinwide Comprehensive Study, and in accordance with
the principles of cooperation outlined in an interagency Memorandum of
Understanding executed on May 5, 1999.
Apalachicala River is an Outstanding Florida Water, and
Florida's largest river
Dredging/disposal practices, and bed degradation have
adversely affected riverine and flood plain habitat, the riverbed, and
water quality along 50 miles of river
USFWS concerned about potential impacts to federally
listed fish (1) and mussels
Expensive structural options for increasing channel
reliability would have serious environmental effects
FDEP 5-year water quality certification has rigorous
conditions to protect water quality (e.g., prohibits mechanical
redistribution and with bank disposal; extensive mitigation
requirements may be biologically unachievable and cost prohibitive)
No approved disposal areas are available for Spring 2000
ACF Lakes in GA have combined annual economic impacts of
over $300 million
``Navigation Window'' releases strand recreation
facilities, create aesthetic and water quality problems, and affect
adversely aquatic habitat and species
Significant recreation related benefits are foregone
ACF ACTION FRAMEWORK STRATEGY:
Federal/State agencies, local governments, interested
parties must collaborate
OASA(CW) should work with the ACF Compact Commission
through the ACF Compact Commission (Mr. Lindsay Thomas)
The Comprehensive Study could be refocused to:
Revise Regulation, Dredged Material, and Navigation
More extensively involve water agencies and stakeholders
Address ESA issues
Explore opportunities for environmental restoration and
Consider a basinwide ecosystem management approach
Evaluate hydropower equipment and operational needs
Consider fish passage structures at dams
Consider making environmental restoration and protection a
Explore partnerships with organizations like NFWF and TNC
Consideration an ACF-specific program like UMRS-EMP or MMREP
Address long-term monitoring (biological, physical, chemical,
Reevaluate the status of two Section 1135 Projects w/NWFINMD
Estimate habitat loss by quantity/type to guide restoration/
Consider WES & TNC studies and modeling on alternative
deauthorization of the commercial navigation purpose.
The economic benefits associated with recreation and environmental
restoration and protection clearly outweigh the benefits of commercial
navigation. A smaller navigation channel could be achieved, either as
an interim or permanent measure, by not dredging as much or by
restricting the navigation season. However, it makes sense to consider
deauthorization of the commercial navigation purpose because:
(1) Historically, the Corps has not been able to maintain the
channel at authorized depths more than about 56 percent of the time.
Poor economic performance (traffic) has resulted, along with the need
to implement extraordinary O&M measures that are expensive and result
in adverse environmental impacts.
(2) Since about 1990, it has cost the Federal Government about
$30,000/barge to dredge the channel for the 100-145/barges per year
that use the ACF, some of which only travel a few miles, and traffic
has declined about 10 percent annually.
(3) The Corps. would avoid causing significant environmental
impacts as a result of dredging and use of navigation windows, and
thereby avoid the costs to comply with the stringent mitigation
requirements under the new FDEP permit.
(4) The BCR for commercial navigation on the ACF is estimated,
unofficially; at about 0.4, which, if verified, violates Principles and
Guidelines for water resources projects.
(5) There are no approved disposal areas available for use in the
spring of 2000 and beyond, and because based upon information provided
by-the Corps, State, and the USFWS, it will be difficult and expensive
find alternative disposal areas or implement structural measures to
reduce dredging requirements (presuming these measures are
environmentally acceptable, which they are not).
(6) Current O&M practices and the 1976 E1S are very susceptible to
legal action, and an acceptable cumulative impact analysis has never
(7) The Corps currently pays for 100 percent of the 0&M for a
project which, by law, is supposed to be cast shared (sponsors
responsible for LERD). Lack of willingness to meet local sponsorship
says something about affordability and acceptability.
(8) Water allocation is a complex and controversial issue currently
being addressed by the three States. Taking commercial navigation off
the table for water allocation purposes would increase the flexibility
of the Federal Government and the States when dealing with water demand
and availability issues.
Senator Graham. If I could just read one paragraph of the
letter from Joseph W. Westphal, Assistant Secretary of the Army
for Civil Works, dated August 9, 2000.
``Based upon our review and conversations with the Corps, I
believe that maintaining navigation on the Apalachicola,
Chattahoochie, Flint is not economically justified or
With an economic return that has been estimated at less
than 40 cents for each dollar spent, it is difficult to
continue to invest nearly $3 million each year on the project,
in light of the Corps overall backlog for operations and
Further, the de-authorization navigation would provide the
Corps greater flexibility to address important environmental
issues along the river.''
I believe that summary statement poses a challenge not only
for the Apalachicola, but for the Corps. How do we go back and
review projects, in this case, that have been in operation for
more than 50 years, in terms of their current economics and
If I could I would like to just give a depiction of the
economics of this project. The Congressional Budget Office has
done a cost analysis of 26 Corps navigation projects, based on
the cost per ton mile.
You can see that the range is from a minuscule cost to a
cost of over 15 cents per ton mile. The Apalachicola is the
second most expensive of the 26 projects, which were analyzed
with a cost of 14 cents per ton mile of traffic. What are we
getting for this very expensive project?
This is what is required along the banks of this
magnificent river in order to keep this nine foot, 100 foot
wide channel operational, so that we spend 14 cents per ton
mile of barge traffic, and have a recovery rate of less than 40
cents per dollar spent.
It is necessary to pile the sand which comes out of the
river along the banks of the river, and now some 50 miles of
valuable habitat has been destroyed. We are now, with General
Flowers' leadership, beginning a process of environmental
restoration of some of this, which will have significant
Maybe some of you saw the movie ``Yulee's Gold,'' which was
about the production of what we consider to be the best honey
in the world, Tupelo honey. The area where that motion picture
was made is just in back of that sand pile. That is where the
Tupelo honey comes from, an industry which is now threatened by
the destruction of the habitat along the Apalachicola.
Mr. Chairman, I bring this example to your attention as a
case study of what I think is the challenge to the modern Corps
and to the Congress, and that is a process of looking at these
projects; not just accepting tomorrow what we did yesterday,
because it is the easy thing to do; but to challenge whether
these projects can stand the test of economics and
environmental consequences today.
My opinion is that the Apalachicola River Project clearly
cannot. I hope that this committee will soon give its attention
to the recommendation of the Corps, which is that be de-
authorized for the navigation purposes.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The information referred to follows:]
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Graham.
Senator Voinovich, did you have an opening statement that
you want to share?
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. GEORGE V. VOINOVICH,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Senator Voinovich. I am going to take a couple of excerpts
from it. I will not get into the whole thing. I apologize that
I was not here to hear your testimony, and to the members of
You and I have had a chance to talk in my office. I have
something that we have all heard: fool me once, shame on you;
fool me twice, shame on me.
I must say that although we have had a very good
discussion, I think that what I perceived, not so much from you
but from your predecessors, was a lot of this business about
Dr. Sweeney, and about the methodology you used for doing your
feasibility studies, and the criticisms were exaggerated.
The National Research Council said that it was flawed. I
was told that now that we pulled this guy off the job because
he was not doing it the right way, and we have a better way of
doing it. Then an objective group came in and said no, that was
not the case, so that needs to be taken care of.
I think that the Corps needs to ensure that its process of
planning and recommending projects is open, objective, and
inclusive, and each project evaluation meets the highest
standards of professionalism and quality.
Further, we must be able to continue to rely on the Corps
to recommend to Congress for authorization and funding only
projects that make maximum net contributions to economic
development and environmental quality, and that is not easy.
You have pressure from the Administration and you have
pressure from members of this body for you to do some things
that maybe you do not want to do. I am telling you to stand up
and do what you think is right based on the facts, regardless
of what the circumstances are.
In addition to that and in addition to restoring Congress'
and the general public's confidence in the Corps, the Corps
faces other challenges. Key among these challenges is the
relationship between the Chief of Engineers and the Assistant
Secretary of the Army and Civil Works.
Last year, that relationship was public and acrimonious
about who is in charge and who was co-opted into the other and
so on. I know that you have clarified that, I guess, with the
memorandum that was signed by the Chief of Engineers and the
Assistant Secretary of the Army on November 28, 2000.
I just want you to know that this Senator is going to be
watching to ensure the Chief and the new Assistant Secretary,
whoever he or she may be, follows through on the agreements
laid out in that memorandum.
If it is not, we are going to the another look at some of
the legislation that Senator Daschle was trying to get through
the Congress last time to clarify that relationship.
The other thing is that we have a backlog of projects. You
have a backlog in terms of your maintenance and operations
budgets. I think that it is incumbent on you to stand up and
talk about that.
We cut the money available for these projects in half, and
increased your responsibilities dramatically during the last 8
years. Something has got to give.
I think that it is your job to stand up for the Corps and
to the Secretary, right along the line, and just call them as
it is; and when you come to Congress, lay it out. You cannot
make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I think that it is really
important that you do that.
As I just pointed out, you have a problem. The President's
blueprint budget proffers a strategy for addressing some of the
backlog and for giving a high priority to projects and programs
in the Corps principal mission areas. Overall, the Corps civil
works budget is being reduced by 14 percent in fiscal year
2002. That is ridiculous. You cannot do that. We need more
money. I believe that we need to address higher levels of both
funding for operation, maintenance, and construction functions.
That is about it. But I just want you to know that I am no
longer Chairman of this committee. I spent a lot of time on the
Corps last time. Mr. Chairman, because I spent as much time as
I did on this, I am going to stay on this, and work with the
Chairman. I am not letting go of this. Do you hear me?
I have got my teeth into this thing, and I will not let it
go. I am going to watch it carefully and make sure that it gets
I know from talking to you, that you are sincere about what
you are doing. Your job is to restore the respect for the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, with the Congress, with
Administration, and more importantly with the people of this
country, and I want to work with you. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Senator Voinovich follows:]
Statement of Hon. George V. Voinovoich, U.S. Senator from the State of
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, General Flowers.
In the short time I have been in the Senate, I have taken an active
interest in the civil works mission of the Army Corps of Engineers. As
the former Chairman of this subcommittee, I have worked on both Water
Resources Development Act bills that were considered in the 106th
Congress. I am proud to have been the sponsor of WRDA 2000, which
Congress passed last November and was signed into law in December.
The year 2000 was a difficult one for the Corps. A series of
articles in the Washington Post headlined increasing criticism about
the objectivity of the Corps' project evaluation process of significant
water development projects across the country, including the Upper
Mississippi River Illinois Waterway navigation project.
Last December, both the findings of the Special Counsel and the
report of the Army Inspector General were released, substantiating
earlier allegations that Corps officials exerted improper influence and
manipulated a cost-benefit analysis in order to justify lock extensions
on the Upper Mississippi River Illinois Waterway.
These findings raise doubts about the integrity of the Corps's
project evaluation and development processes. Quite frankly, there are
many in Congress who have lost faith in the Corps.
Candidly, I am upset that the Corps patently dismissed as
``exaggerations'' the allegations made public by whistleblower Dr.
Donald Sweeny who said that senior Corps officials manipulated the
Upper Mississippi study to produce results favoring large scale
construction. These ``exaggerations'' that the Corps dismissed were
later substantiated by the Army's own Inspector General. In addition,
the Corps' economic analysis that was part of the Upper Mississippi
study was verified to be ``flawed'' by the independent National Academy
of Sciences' National Research Council.
However, I believe the Corps plays a vital role in navigation and
storm-damage mitigation throughout the United States and should be
given the opportunity to redeem itself.
The Corps needs to ensure that its process of planning and
recommending projects is open, objective, and inclusive and that each
project evaluation meets the highest standards of professionalism and
quality. Further, we must be able to continue to rely on the Corps to
recommend to Congress for authorization and funding only projects that
make maximum net contributions to economic development and
To that end, I supported a provision in WRDA 2000 that directs the
National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of independent peer
review of Corps projects and a study of Corps methods of conducting
economic and environmental analysis or projects. In fact, the National
Research Council recently recommended that Congress direct the Corps to
have its feasibility study of the Upper Mississippi River project
reviewed by an outside interdisciplinary group of experts.
I believe the Secretary of the Army took the appropriate action in
directing the Chief of Engineers to review the Inspector General's
report and the recently released National Research Council's evaluation
report on the Upper Mississippi Illinois River feasibility study to
determine what changes should be undertaken in the Corps' conduct of
its studies. I look forward to hearing from General Flowers this
morning about the status and preliminary findings of this review
In addition to restoring Congress' and the general public's
confidence in the Corps, the Corps faces other major challenges. Key
among these challenges is the relationship between the Chief of
Engineers and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. Last
year there was a very public and acrimonious argument about the
respective roles of the Chief and the Assistant Secretary in the
supervision of the Corps civil works program.
These roles were to have been clarified in the memorandum that was
signed by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army for
Civil Works on November 28, 2000, and I would appreciate hearing
General Flowers' comments on how this memorandum will improve and
strengthen their working relationship. Congress will be watching to
ensure that the Chief and the new Assistant Secretary, whomever he or
she may be, follow through on the agreements laid out in the
memorandum. This Senator stands ready to ``take another look'' at the
implementation of this memorandum, and, if need be, make
recommendations that additional management reforms be made.
The backlog for construction and operation and maintenance projects
is another important and daunting challenge the Corps faces. As my
colleagues may well know, there is currently a backlog of $38 billion
in active water resources projects awaiting Federal funding and a
backlog of $450 million in critical maintenance. We need to develop a
strategy to address the backlog. Whether it comes from Congress or the
Corps or some other outside source, whatever strategy must consider
management of the backlog to assure that it only includes needed
projects that are economically justified, environmentally acceptable,
and supported by willing and financially capable non-Federal sponsors.
In constant dollar terms, our Federal investment in water resources
development is less than one-half of the levels spent in the 1960's. At
the same time, we are asking the Corps to do more particularly in the
area of environmental restoration.
Although President Bush's ``Blueprint Budget'' proffers a strategy
for addressing some of the backlog, and for giving a high priority to
projects and programs in the Corps' principal mission areas, the
overall Corps civil works budget is being reduced by 14 percent in
fiscal year 2002. I believe we need to address higher levels of funding
for both operation and maintenance and construction functions. However
given the Administration's approach, I am concerned that the Corps will
not be able to adequately meet its current responsibilities. I would be
interested to hear if today's witness could possibly shed some light on
how the Corps can address its backlog while simultaneously absorbing
such a reduction.
Again, I look forward to hearing from General Flowers on all of the
challenges facing the Corps and what management reforms are necessary
to restore confidence and integrity in the Corps' ability to meet these
Although I am no longer Chairman of the Transportation and
Infrastructure Subcommittee, I intend to be quite an active member. I
am not going to let up on my call for reforms at the Corps, nor will I
let this issue ``fall by the wayside.'' I will ask the Chairman for
another hearing later this year to make sure that the Corps is doing
what they say they are going to do.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Inhofe. Well, the Chair appreciates your
enthusiastic involvement in this committee. Thank you very
much, Senator Voinovich.
We are going to go ahead now to adhere to the early bird
rule. We will ask questions in accordance with the time that
each Senator arrived. We would like to confine these to 5
minutes. We will keep going, just as long as everyone gets a
chance to ask questions.
General Flowers, first just for clarification, did you say
that the economic model developed by the whistle blower was
flawed, and would you like to elaborate on that?
General Flowers. Sir, I did not say that. The National
Academy of Sciences said that. I said we agreed with the
Senator Inhofe. Then last year, the Corps announced a
series of listening sessions. What did you learn from your
listening sessions? Tell us what those are.
General Flowers. Sir, we did 12 regional and two national
listening sessions, where we invited interest groups and others
to come in and talk to us.
We heard quite a bit. We set it down in a document so that
we could show everybody what we heard them say. This is
available. We have also published a summary on our website. We
intend to incorporate the comments that we have received, as we
Senator Inhofe. Last week, the Society of Civil Engineers
issued a report card on America's infrastructure. It was not a
very good grade, in my opinion. It was a ``D+.'' Do you have
any comments as to why this grade was so low?
General Flowers. Sir, this is a copy of that report card,
pulled down off the Internet.
As Senator Voinovich pointed out, we have really under-
invested in our infrastructure, in waterways alone. In last
year 30 years, our population has grown about 40 percent. Our
GNP has gone from $2.5 trillion to $7.5 trillion dollars.
In that same time, our investment in our water
infrastructure has declined 70 percent. I have got half of my
locks in the navigation system that are over 50 years old. So
those are the things that are contributing to that very low
grade in water resources. The other thing I would point out is
that we have an over $400 million backlog in critical
maintenance to perform on that infrastructure.
Senator Inhofe. General Flowers, a lot of statements were
made during the opening statements. Is there anything that you
would like do to respond to any of the parts of the statements
that were made?
General Flowers. As Senator Graham pointed out, challenges
also present opportunities to the Corps. On the rivers, we are
very willing to re-examine among all uses; particularly, on the
waterways were we have relatively low use.
Where the opportunity presents itself, we can develop a
great synergy between what we do and the environment. I think
the restoration work that is going on and will go on is a very
big key to that. My pledge is to lend my shoulder to help that
Senator Baucus talked about the Missouri and the Missouri
River Master Manual. The Corps is involved in tough
controversial issues very, very often, and the Missouri is a
classic one; a debate between upstream and downstream uses.
What we have to do is go forward, using the best
engineering and science available, to make a recommendation to
the Administration, through the Administration, to all of you.
You have got my pledge to do that. We are working that piece
very hard. It is not easy.
Senator Inhofe. Senator Bond?
Senator Bond. Thank you very, much Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, General, for your willingness to rely on sound
science. That is something that is long overdue in the area. I
hope, after your very forceful statement today, that this
hearing will get the same kind of coverage in the media that
the attacks received. I will be waiting with great interest,
but not with great optimism. I trust that I may be wrong and
that they will cover your statements. I will send thank you
notes to anybody who does.
Senator Bond. You mentioned the sensitivity to the
environment. It was the St. Louis district modifications in the
structures on the river that really lead us to an understanding
of how innovative Corps approaches can enhance the
environmental restoration, conservation, and preservation of
endangered species. The re-engineering of controlling
structures such as wing dikes to create bars and islands and
back channels have great promise.
That is why I join with my good friend from Montana, with
whom I do not always see eye to eye on Missouri River issues,
to enact the Missouri/Middle Mississippi Habitat program.
This, to me, is something that we are very interested in.
How is the funding for that? Are you proceeding with that
program; is that under-funded? Is it making progress?
General Flowers. Sir, we are proceeding with the program. I
would never classify anything as over-funded.
As pointed out, I am very proud of the innovations that
have been made, particularly in the environmental area by our
districts. St. Louis is a great example. I think it again
points out the willingness of the agency to change and adapt to
the needs of the Nation.
So as environmental concerns grow, our mission set in that
area grows. We develop the expertise and tap the expertise that
exists in academia and the private community to help further
that. I think that this is a great example.
Senator Bond. We were talking about environmental benefits.
I keep going back to the point that is extremely important to
us, particularly in St. Louis, because there is a real
controversy over whether St. Louis ought to be raised to a
serious non-attainment air quality issue.
Right now, we have barges carrying our great agricultural
products, going through St. Louis. One medium tow of barges
carries the same amount of the commodities or amount of product
as 870 trucks.
I think that anybody who is concerned about the quality of
the air will recognize that one tow boat generates a lot of
less pollution than 870 trucks. Given the importance of air
quality issues in St. Louis, do you calculate clean air
benefits when you evaluate the benefits that barge traffic
General Flowers. The short answer to you question is, yes,
sir. We have to take a look, as we evaluate the concerns for
that factor. I need to speak directly to the Upper Mississippi,
and how complex that study is, just to give you all a feel for
what we are involved with.
The Upper Mississippi River handles about 48 percent of the
ton miles on our inland waterways; 37 locks and dams on the
Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway. It is a very
environmentally sensitive area.
As we work the economics piece and the environmental piece
of the Upper Mississippi study, what we are dealing with is an
area that we have not dealt with before in the Corps of
Engineers. That is getting into the area of macro economics and
a very holistic approach of how you incorporate environmental
values, when you look at alternatives and make recommendations.
That is a big piece of it, sir.
We are also looking at international trade, You mentioned
the growing competition from South America. We look at water
policy and agricultural policy. That is why we need the other
Federal agencies to come into this study with us, so that we
can make use of their expertise.
Senator Bond. I am glad you do. I will have more questions.
I want to sneak in one before the light turns red. I will leave
a few for you to answer for the record.
When water transportation is at capacity, or we do not have
water transportation, do you have any evidence that the rates
charged to agricultural shippers, for example, other shippers,
are raised by railroads?
General Flowers. Sir, I do not have that with me. I will
take that one for the record.
Senator Bond. Do you have the TVA study perhaps, that said
something about that?
General Flowers. There probably is one. I do not have it at
my fingertips. I will take that one for the record, if I might.
Senator Bond. There maybe something in your records.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Bond.
I believe that we have selected a date of April 26 to have
the hearing of the Upper Mississippi River.
Senator Baucus. Thank you, Mr Chairman.
General Flowers, as we go into this difficult season of low
snow pack in the West, and as you mentioned, one of the most
vexing issues has been in the Missouri River, given all the
pulls, tugs, and demands.
One of the concerns that I am running up against, is the
Corps' apparent either lack of communication or insufficient
communications with public power agencies. I am talking about
WAPA right now, because I have got the water and power
problems, that we all are facing in this country.
Could you tell me what degree to which the Corps is working
with WAPA and communicating with WAPA, because they are going
to have real power needs, as this year progresses.
General Flowers. Sir, the Division Engineer in our
Northwest Division, Brigadier General Carl Strock, and his
staff are activity engaged working with WAPA and all of the
other agencies in the region. We have an acute power crisis,
not only in California, but also in the northwest and in your
area of the country.
We are working very hard to do what we can do to help that
situation; spilling more water when we can for power generation
in the northwest to improve the power situation, keeping in
mind the responsibilities that we have to the fish and wildlife
and the environment, and doing our best to inform everyone and
work with everyone as we go through this. It troubles me to
hear that we may have some communications problems, but sir, we
will redouble our efforts.
Senator Baucus. If you can look at that and get back to me
about that, too, on what you are doing, I would appreciate that
General Flowers. Sir, I will do that.
Senator Baucus. Second, this is a general problem that
occurs in my State and in a lot of States, because we are not a
large State, and do not have large firms. It is the difficultly
that small contracting firms have been getting contracts with
There is a general bias, and I found this over and over
again, for the Federal Government, whether it is DOD or whether
it is Energy or what not, to go to the big contractors. They
know them, they know the personnel, and they are good friends,
all those kinds of things.
There is an assumption that a smaller contractor out in the
inner-lands just does inferior work. That is an assumption that
because it is not big or not well known, that it must be
I am here to tell you that almost the opposite is true. I
can give you countless of examples of small firms that do
better work, subcontracting work, than other firms that are
better known. I find this problem in Montana, as well.
I would like you to do a little assessment also of the
degree to which the Corps is not getting contracts to smaller
firms in my part of the country. I find this problem
constantly; again, not only with the Corps, but with a lot of
General Flowers. Yes, sir, the Corps leads the Federal
Government right now in its small business contracting program.
Small business is good for our country. We work very hard to
ensure that a number of the contracts that we let, are let to
small and disadvantaged businesses.
Senator Baucus. If you could get back to me on that, too,
with respect to Montana, I would very much appreciate that.
General Flowers. Yes, sir.
Senator Baucus. I thank you.
Third, I worked hard on the WRDA bill on the last
authorization, for $5 million for three watershed cleanups in
Montana. One is in Yellowstone Park, the other is Soda Butte
Creek, and the other is McLaren Tayleens. We just do not see
the money. We do not see that happening.
In some respects, maybe it is the lack of appropriations,
but I think there is more to it than that. I can get more
details to you, and I will.
But there are several sites, Corps priority sites, that for
some reason are just not getting funded. Again, I will give you
the information, but I would appreciate it if you could get
back to me on those issues.
General Flowers. Yes, sir, I will do that.
Senator Baucus. I have another question, and this gets to
the basic question that we have all on all these tradeoffs.
Right now, the flows are discharged at about 500 cubic feet at
Fort Pack. During the winter months, it was 10,000 a second. I
guess the plans are to increase those flows in June.
I know that you have been up there. You have been to Fort
Peck, and you know just how extremely important recreation is
to that part of that State. In fact, it is everything. It is
the walleye tournament of the world. Those folks up there live
for that lake.
There is already one boat ramp that is exposed high and
dry. If the flows are increased to help maybe somebody
downstream or what not, those folks are going to be hurting,
because about the only thing that they have is the lake.
I would like you to specifically, and again, this is
another area to get back to me, on what the Corps' plans are
with respect to the pool levels there, and when, and why.
If I might, Mr. Chairman, all this comes down to something
else, and I think it is pretty fundamental. Ignorance breeds
fear. If people do not know the reasons for a decision, they
When there is not transparency, people conjure up all kinds
of reasons why that decision was made for some nefarious
reason. It is difficult for the Corps, because you are, in one
sense a military agency, and in another sense, you are kind of
a civilian agency; that is, you are doing civilian work.
My honest opinion is that the institution and the culture
of the Corps is too military, because it does civilian work.
Every civilian agency, and I do not care if it is EPA or BLM or
whatever, is under a lot more focus and a lot more public
scrutiny, and those agencies are forced to give a lot more
information as to why they reach the decisions they are
So I am encouraging you, when you go through your reform,
to open up, and tell us how you got those conclusions and why;
whether is the master manual, and why it is what it is, in much
more detail, and much more honestly.
There is a tendency to kind of clam up. Well, we are the
Corps. We know what is right. We are doing this right. How dare
they challenge us?
Again, ignorance breeds fear. What you say may be true, why
people do not believe it as much as they should. They do not
believe it as much as they should, in my judgment, because
there is just not much openness as there should be, in term of
public hearings, data, and all kinds of things.
So I urge you to just go through a whole mind set, culture
change, top, down, bottom, up, and give more reasons, and
detailed reasons, of why you are reaching those conclusions
that you do reach. Then I think that a lot of people will have
a little more trust in the conclusions that are reached.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Baucus.
Senator Graham. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to go back to the issue that I raised in my
opening statement; and that is a process for evaluation of
exiting Corps projects.
I understand that currently a project which is authorized,
but has not received funds for a period of time, and I believe
that is 7 years, is automatically surfaced. In the last Water
Resource Develop Act several of those were de-authorized.
My question is, should there not be some analogous process
for projects that have been funded, so that they have to
periodically be subject to evaluation, as to their economic and
environmental and other relevant considerations, as they are
functioning today; as opposed to when they may have been
authorized several decades ago?
General Flowers. Yes, sir, I agree. I think that there
should be a process to re-examine and take into consideration
all of the uses and make a recommendation.
Senator Graham. Could the Corps be of assistance to this
committee and the Congress in suggesting what such a process
should look like, and what should be the standards for
surfacing ongoing projects, due to their economics or
General Flowers. Yes, sir, we will take that on.
Senator Graham. One issue that a project like the
Apalachicola has raised to me is when a project becomes so out
of the norm in its economics, should there be some point at
which the taxpayers can say, we have gone beyond the line of
reasonableness in subsidization?
If you take the figures for the Apalachicola and divide
them by the number of barges which used it in recent years, the
cost per barge is in the range of $20,000 to $30,000. That is a
very significant public subsidization, to one form of
I accept the fact that all forms of transportation,
including river transportation, do perform a public good, and
up to a point should be free.
For instance, in the area of surface transportation, we
have recognized the fact that there are some components of
that, such as bridges and tunnels, which are unusually
expensive, where you to have to put a quarter or half dollar in
the box every time you use it, as well as the general public
subsidy that goes toward those tunnels or bridges.
Is there a point in river traffic where there should be a
requirement of a fee, or some other form of direct payment
toward the cost of operation and maintenance of the project, in
order to keep the total public subsidization within some limits
General Flowers. Sir, I will take on what the trigger
should be, and I will make a recommendation to all of you on
when a project should be re-reviewed.
The issue of charging fees for use of the Nation's
waterways is probably beyond my realm to comment on. I have
done a lot of combat engineering. I know when not to walk into
a mine field.
So, sir, I would say that I think that we have to examine
the economic viability of projects that have been appropriated.
We owe you some answers on what ought to trigger that look, and
how we ought to proceed.
Senator Graham. Thank you, General, and I would like to
conclude on a totally different topic.
That is, Mr. Chairman, with five of our colleagues last
weekend, I visited Columbia, and specifically the two principal
training bases, Mirandia and Traces Suskeenous. I had the
opportunity to meet an outstanding young captain in the Corps
of Engineers who, under about as adverse circumstances that you
can imagine, is performing an outstanding service to the
country. The success of our war on drugs in Columbia will owe a
special debt that young man, Captain Al Perez.
I want to say to General Flowers, if he is typical of the
young officers who are coming up in the Corps, I have great
confidence in the future of this agency.
General Flowers. Thank you, sir.
I would just like to offer a partial answer to something
Senator Baucus brought up earlier in the questioning of maybe
why the the Office of Civil Works is in the Corps of Engineers.
This gives us the capability that no other country in the
world has. Captain Perez is an officer who has worked in the
Office of Civil Works, and we are able to transfer that
expertise for the good of the country. I think it is something
that, before we can consider before putting the Corps somewhere
else, we should keep this in mind
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Graham.
Senator Voinovich. I think that Senator Graham's suggestion
about looking at the priority on projects is a good one.
We did try in the last WRDA bill to put some language in
that would give you the authority to evaluate objectively
projects that ought to be dropped from the list. Unfortunately,
I do not think that we were as successful as possible, because
several members were reluctant to have projects dropped.
It seems to me that in order to really get a handle on what
your real costs are, you really have to do an evaluation on the
reality of the projects that really need to be done, and some
of those that are on there, that ought to be taken off the
I would be very grateful to you if you would come back with
some language for this committee that you think would really
give you the authority to come back with some recommendations
that would eliminate some of those projects, so we can get a
real handle on how much is out there.
I have asked a GAO for a study on infrastructure need, and
I do not know whether we shared that with you or not. I am
going to ask my staff to send it over to you. If you have got
any other ideas on how we might add to it, so that when that
study comes out that it will really capture your particular
areas are involved with, I would welcome that.
General Flowers. Thank you, sir.
Senator Voinovich. In your testimony, you state that you
are evaluating a Corps review process for feasibility studies,
to determine whether improvements including independent review
I would like to know what is status of that review, and
have you made any preliminary findings? In particular, do you
believe that independent review is necessary; and do you think
that there is a role in this whole process for the Assistant
Secretary of Army for Civil Works?
General Flowers. Yes, sir, up until 1993, we had an
organization known as the Board of Engineers for Rivers and
Harbors. It was an internal Corps Board, made up of our
division engineers. Every project that met a certain criteria
had to appear before that board.
They had to pass muster, justify their economic and
environmental conclusions, before the Chief signed the Chief's
report. So what you had was a pure form of peer review, where
one division engineer did not want their programs embarrassed,
so they would really prepare themselves and make sure that
things were done correctly, before it went before the board.
With the advent of cost sharing, there was a feeling that
the Board of Rivers and Harbors was a redundant review of
projects, and it was more expensive and took more time.
Therefore, it was done away with by legislation in 1992.
My read, sir, is in order to assure that we are leaving no
stone unturned, is that we probably should establish a review.
As I mentioned in my remarks this morning, sir, I think it
should be made up of a mix of Corps officers and outside
experts, not to add additional time onto a study, who would be
involved with it, as the study progresses
So as we go through our study process, gathering data,
before we publish an initial report, it would have some sort of
a look, as its going on, not to add time. Then when the final
report is finished and it is ready for the Chief of Engineers
to sign, this board could look at it again, and make any
additional recommendations to the Chief.
The integrity of the Chief's report is one of the things
that the Secretary and I discussed and verified in the joint
memo that we signed last November to assure its integrity.
The Chief would sign the Chief's report, and send to the
Assistance Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. The Secretary
could then put comments on the Chief's report, if he or she
would wish to do that, and forward the report.
I think that is the proper way to proceed, sir. So I am in
favor of reestablishing something like the Board of Engineers
for Rivers and Harbors, without adding the additional time,
because I do realize that adding time and expense onto an
already very lengthy process, is not something desirable.
Senator Voinovich. Do you need legislation for that?
General Flowers. Sir, we will get back to you on that. I
need to go through that with the new Administration's Assistant
Secretary of Civil Works, when he or she is appointed. I owe
them the right to have an opportunity to review this before I
provide it to you, sir.
Senator Voinovich. I have got one more question. Is that
Senator Inhofe. Go ahead.
Senator Voinovich. The National Academy of Sciences'
National Research Council made several recommendations, and you
stated in your testimony that a draft Upper Mississippi River
Feasibility Study is scheduled to be ready for public review in
September of this year.
How will the Corps apply the Council's recommendations, as
it revises that Upper Mississippi River Feasibility Study? Do
you think that it is important the Corps follow these
recommendations to ensure the credibility of the study?
General Flowers. Sir, we are going to use the results of
both IG's report and the National Academy of Sciences report.
The NRC is an arm of the National Academy of Science. We will
use that report as we move forward.
What we are doing now is rescoping and relooking at the
Upper Mississippi Study, using the results of the National
Academy of Sciences' review. We intend to restart the study in
It may cause us to redo the schedule for the draft report,
but we are looking toward trying to complete the study, if it
is at all possible, by July 2002. The reason that date is
critical is because of the WRDA 2002 bill that we would like to
We are working with the interagency group now. We are
rescoping the study, and we intend to make use of everything
that we have done to this point.
We are spending $25 million to do environmental studies. We
have learned a lot on how we incorporate that as we move
forward. One of the recommendations made by the Academy, sir,
was to, of course, get rid of the economic model that we were
using, which was trying to forecast based on what had happened
before, to forecast 50 years into the future.
What they recommended is that we go to a range of scenarios
or develop a range of scenarios of what might be; a broad range
of scenarios, and do an analysis of those scenarios, using a
much more holistic approach, environmental values, the
economics that we have used in the past, and then come back to
the Congress with a recommendation based on the range of
This sounds to me to be the best way to approach a very,
very tough thing to do, and that is predicting what is going to
happen in 50 years into the future.
Senator Voinovich. That is part of the recommendation. So
you thought some of them were really good?
General Flowers. Yes, sir, and we do intend to incorporate
Senator Voinovich. Thank you.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Voinovich.
General Flowers, I am not going to use another round. I do
want to compliment you, first of all, on the progress at
Montgomery Point Lock and Dam; it is critical to us, and also
for the way you were able to respond to the Clinton/Sherman
problem that we had in Oklahoma. I appreciate that very much.
There will be some other questions that I will ask for the
Senator Voinovich, would you like to have another round of
Senator Voinovich. All I would like to do is ask the
Chairman for permission to insert all of my opening statement.
Senator Inhofe. Certainly, without objection, so ordered.
[The prepared statement of Senator Voinovich follows:]
Senator Voinovich. And any other questions that I have, I
would like to have them answered.
Senator Inhofe. That is fine.
Senator Voinovich. General, again, you have a tough job,
and I know you are excited about it. We look forward to working
Senator Inhofe. Thank you very much. This will conclude our
General Flowers. Thank you, sir.
[Whereupon, at 10:45 a.m., the committee was adjourned, to
reconvene at the call of the Chair.]
[Additional statements, submitted for the record, follow:]
Statement of Hon. Bob Smith, U.S. Senator from the State of New
Good morning. I would like to thank Lt. General Flowers for
appearing here today.
At a hearing last year prior to General Flowers' confirmation, I
noted that legitimate policy issues had been raised on topics like the
integrity of the Corps' economic analyses and the future role of the
Corps. I told General Flowers, however, that I believed he should be
given the chance to settle into his new duties for a time before being
asked to decide whether or not any management reforms are necessary.
The purpose of today's hearing is to find out what, if any, changes
General Flowers thinks should be made. Some believe that the Corps is a
rogue agency, out of control. The integrity of the Corps' analyses has
been disputed. Others have alleged that the Corps is a victim of
inappropriate political pressures, with various federal agencies
meddling in the Corps' professional judgements.
I have reviewed the Investigator General's report that was released
last December, and the National Research Council report released last
February. Their findings were troubling. I look forward to hearing
General Flowers recommendations for Corps reforms now that he has been
on the job for several months and has had the opportunity to study
Statement of Lieutenant General Robert B. Flowers, Commander, U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I am Lieutenant General Robert B. Flowers,
Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Chief of Engineers. I
am pleased to appear before you today to discuss the service of the
Army Corps of Engineers to this Nation.
The state of the Army Corps of Engineers is sound. We are prepared
for the challenge of public service. Since 1775 the Army Corps of
Engineers has honorably served the Army and the Nation. During the 20th
Century the Army Corps of Engineers experienced both resounding success
and dramatic controversy. Today, at the dawn of the 21st Century, we
are called to respond to the scrutiny of the public we serve. I welcome
The Civil Works Program
The Army Corps of Engineers traces its origins to the construction
of fortifications at Bunker Hill in 1775. For more than 225 years, the
Corps has responded to the needs of the Army and the Nation.
Throughout this period, the mission of the Corps has evolved from
``Builder'' to encompass ``Developer/Manager'' and ``Protector'' of
water resources. What began as a military engineering mission for
nation building in the 18th century expanded into a major peacetime
mission in the 19th century. The Corps helped a young nation map the
frontier and expand westward by surveying roads and canals. The Corps
promoted economic development through a vast water resources
infrastructure, initiated development of the first national parks, and
tied an inland navigation system together to move commerce across
States and keep ports and harbors open, a role critical for national
defense. In the 20th century, Congress provided the Corps with
additional water resources development and management authorities,
including flood control, hydropower, water supply, and recreation. More
recently shore protection, disaster relief, and environmental
protection and restoration authorities were added. As society's needs
and values have changed, the Civil Works program has reflected changing
national priorities for good water management. The Corps abilities to
facilitate, advise, develop, operate, manage, and evaluate on a broad
range of water resource issues furnish a robust capability set for the
Mr. Chairman, within your oversight, the Corps Civil Works Program
is primarily responsible for the development, management, protection,
restoration and enhancement of our nation's water and related land
resources for commercial navigation, flood damage reduction, and the
environment. The program provides stewardship of America's water
resources infrastructure and associated natural resources, and also
provides emergency services for disaster relief. It is my job, in
concert with the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), to
provide advice to the executive branch and Congress on these matters.
The goal of our study process is to produce the best economic and
scientific analysis available.
Water Resources Planning and the National Interest
We are proud of our disciplined water resources planning and our
planning professionals who face the daunting challenges of solving real
problems, balancing competing interests and forging consensus around
solutions. They serve the public well and very often in the midst of
controversy and intense scrutiny. Their difficulties make the
discipline of the process of paramount importance. Today, we continue
to apply the Economic and Environmental Principles and Guidelines for
Water and Related Land Resources Implementation Studies supplemented by
Corps guidance that strives for inclusion of all interests in the
management and investment in our water resources. When applied
diligently, the Principles and Guidelines force all B the Corps and its
stakeholders B to recognize the tradeoffs and balance competing
Our vision of planning is to meet national needs within the
framework of current law and policy. Our planners have operated
responsibly over the last two decades as priorities and concerns have
shifted. The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 emphasized the
National expectation that project partners be more involved in the
formulation and financing of solutions to water resources problems.
Nearly everyone believed that we could develop better projects more
efficiently and effectively by recognizing that projects must both meet
national needs and work viably at the local level. We responded with
vigor and enthusiasm. The attached map illustrates where cost shared
feasibility studies have been conducted with non-Federal partners since
Four years ago, the Army commissioned a National Academy of
Sciences study to determine whether Corps planning should be further
streamlined. That study concluded that the process was about right in
terms of length and resources. During the last decade, interagency
policy discussions increasingly have emphasized broader scale studies
of entire watersheds with interagency collaboration and comprehensive,
systemic solutions. An unintended effect of cost sharing has been the
narrowing of focus of studies, as cost sharing partners are reluctant
to finance studies that are broader than their immediate concern. As a
result, our planners are often caught between the forces seeking
comprehensive planning at one end of the spectrum and those who voice
concerns for addressing needs on an expedited basis and early screening
of alternatives that have little chance of being implemented. We are
pledged to this service.
The Upper Mississippi and Illinois Navigation Study
Turning now to the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Navigation Study.
This is a feasibility study of lock capacity and reliability. The study
area extends from St. Louis to Minneapolis-St. Paul on the Mississippi
River and from the mouth to Chicago on the Illinois River, a total of
1202 river miles encompassing 37 existing locks and dams. This reach,
10 percent of the inland waterway system, provides the origin or
destination of 48 percent of the ton-miles of the total system. This
study was started in Fiscal Year 1993 to address limited lock capacity
and reliability. Limited lock capacity leads to commercial tow delays,
while reduced reliability of aging locks contributes to outages and
higher maintenance costs. Both delays and outages can add millions of
dollars to the costs of transporting grain and other commodities
carried on the system. These costs in turn reduce the real incomes of
farmers, other producers and consumers. While the Upper Mississippi
River system is a vital transportation corridor it is also a nationally
significant environmental resource. It contains a system of Federal and
State wildlife refuges and parks that provide habitat for migrating
waterfowl and support fish and wildlife resources. Navigation
development has had an adverse impact on these resources which must be
carefully addressed and balanced in any study of improvements. This is
a truly comprehensive study of an entire navigation system. The
estimated study cost is currently approximately $60 million. Our
current schedule provides for release of a draft report for public
review in September of this year. In July 2002, I expect to make my
final report to the Secretary of the Army.
The Upper Mississippi and Illinois Study is very complex, involving
engineering, economic and environmental analyses of impacts and
consequences of a wide variety of possible future conditions on these
rivers. A sound investment plan for the navigation system must be based
on reasonable projections of future volumes, types and destinations of
commodities that will move on the waterway. Therefore, a key component
of the study is a 50-year forecast of demand for water borne
transportation on the Mississippi and Illinois system including the
response of barge operators and shippers to congestion. The commodity
movements on this system are largely agricultural. Volumes and
destinations of these products are driven by world market conditions
and therefore, fluctuate with world economic conditions. Another key
component is forecasting the schedules for major rehabilitation
activities. In view of these facts, projections are subject to
As part of the Study a group of Corps team members made economic
projections and built an economic model to provide a basis for study
conclusions. This proved to be a very difficult task. As you might
expect, there were disagreements between the many stakeholders, as well
as team members, over the model and its projections. These
disagreements ultimately led the Department of the Army to request a
review of the navigation study analyses by the National Academy of
Sciences' National Research Council. The Council released its final
report on February 28, 2001. The Council's recommendations focused on
four areas: economics; water resources planning; environment; and
engineering. Concerning our economic analysis, the Council found that
the Corps made a major improvement in our modeling by adopting a model
that considers alternative modes of transportation and destinations for
goods shipped on the inland waterway. However, the Council found that
improvements are needed in the application of the model to make the
analysis more consistent with the underlying economic theory regarding
the equilibrium of supply, demand, and the movement of commodities. Due
to these modeling problems and flawed assumptions and data, the Council
recommended that our forecasts of barge traffic and waterway congestion
should not be used in the feasibility study. The Council also
recommended that we obtain more data for use in the model and that we
more fully explore inexpensive, nonstructural alternatives, such as
Concerning inland waterway and water resources planning, the
National Research Council recommended that we: (1) conduct a more
comprehensive assessment of the impacts of navigation options on the
environment; (2) clarify the use of environmental studies in the
decision process; (3) obtain a review of the final feasibility report
by an independent group of interdisciplinary experts; and (4) examine
environmental improvements. Concerning our environmental analyses, the
Council recommended as follows: (1) we should research the cumulative
environmental impacts of the existing navigation system and both recent
and proposed improvements (including the resultant increased towboat
usage); (2) Congress should improve and enhance existing ecosystem
research efforts with more emphasis on measures to address cumulative
impacts, and broadened to include studies of the impacts of barge
traffic on river ecology; and (3) we should conduct studies and make
our mitigation strategy consistent with adaptive management principles.
The Council found that our project rehabilitation and maintenance
analyses were reasonable, but recommended that we reassess the
contingencies that we assign to our construction cost estimates.
What We Are Doing
First and foremost I take the issues surrounding the Army Corps of
Engineers and the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Study seriously. I
must ensure the integrity of the Corps of Engineers and its study
process. In this regard there are several actions underway:
While the National Academy of Sciences has completed a general
review of the Corps studies process and found it to be a sound process,
I am evaluating our review process for feasibility studies to determine
whether improvements, including its recommendation for independent
review, are needed.
I fully support the National Academy of Science study directed by
the Congress in the Water Resources Development Act of 2000 of the
practicality and efficiency of independent peer review of feasibility
studies and methods for project analysis.
I am restructuring the management of the Upper Mississippi and
Illinois Navigation Study.
I am placing renewed emphasis on my Environmental Advisory Board to
insure that I receive independent environmental advice.
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and I, on
November 28, 2000, submitted a joint memorandum to the Secretary of the
Army on Civil Works Management and Communication Clarifications. In
this memorandum, Dr. Westphal and I agreed upon the responsibilities of
both parties and committed to sharing information, communicating
effectively, and cooperating fully on all Civil Works matters. The
Secretary of the Army provided copies of this memorandum to the
Chairman and Ranking Member of this committee in his final update
regarding enhancement of the management procedures of the Civil Works
I am rewriting the vision statement of the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to focus on service to the Army and the Nation.
I have conducted extensive outreach sessions with a broad variety
of interests, including meeting with a substantial number of Members of
the House and Senate.
There are many interested parties and many points of view in the
Upper Mississippi and Illinois study area. The Corps team members have
worked diligently to give all an equal opportunity to be heard.
At any one time we have many feasibility studies underway. The
attached map illustrates where cost shared feasibility studies have
been or are being conducted with non-Federal partners since 1986. In
any study, our challenge is to balance competing values and interests,
develop alternative solutions that solve recognized problems and
establish a broad consensus for the best solution. I'm proud of our
record on the many studies depicted on this map. We are especially
proud that many of these studies are resulting in projects that go
beyond simply avoiding or mitigating environmental impacts and make
positive contributions to restoring the Nation's environmental
resources. We strongly believe our leadership, engineering and water
resources skills and disciplined planning are central to solving real
problems and serving the American people. We've served the Nation well
and will continue to do so.
Throughout my career I have been privileged to work with the
outstanding men and women who make up the Army Corps of Engineers. They
fostered in me a desire to be a consensus builder, someone who does not
necessarily compromise but who seeks alternatives which uniquely
combine individuals' input into a solution which is genuinely better
than the sum of the parts. I view our current situation as an
opportunity. This is an opportunity for us to see ourselves anew and
rededicate ourselves to our principles.
I take the issues surrounding the Army Corps of Engineers
seriously, and I am making the changes necessary to insure the
continued integrity of the Civil Works planning process, so that the
Corps of Engineers can continue to fulfill its role in addressing the
many water resource needs of this great country. Mr. Chairman, this
completes my statement. I am prepared to answer your questions as well
as those of other members of the committee.
Responses by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers to Additional Questions from
Question 1. In your written testimony, you state that the ``goal of
our study process is to produce the best economics and scientific
analysis available.'' You also indicate that you are reevaluating the
review process for feasibility studies to determine if any improvements
In their report on the Upper Miss Feasibility Study, the National
Academy of Sciences recommended that the Principles and Guidelines,
which were written in 1983, be updated to reflect changes in social
values, as well as advances in analytical techniques and technologies.
With that said, do you think it is necessary to revise the
Principles and Guidelines, which have not been updated to reflect
policy changes, such as the inclusion of environmental restoration as a
Response. We believe that the existing Principles and Guidelines
provide enough flexibility to fairly evaluate environmental values and
to incorporate these considerations into the Corps planning process.
Indeed, the Corps has already expanded and revised its methods for
evaluating environmental values during the formulation of its projects.
Further, the Corps has numerous initiatives underway which are looking
at better defining and evaluating environmental benefits and
incorporating environmental sustainability into Corps projects. We
believe these efforts are not constrained by the existing Principles
In addition, there are the two National Academy of Sciences studies
directed by Congress in WRDA 2000 that need to be completed as well as
the Corps own internal review. When these efforts are complete, I will
work closely with Congress to address any legislative changes that are
Question 2. Your written testimony reads that ``the state of the
Corps is sound.'' How do you reconcile this with both the IG's report
and the National Academy of Sciences' report, both of which conclude
that there are serious flaws in the processes of the Corps?
Response. I believe the state of the Corps is sound. Both reports
focussed on a single, very complex study that has yet to complete the
normal planning analysis and review process. They also assessed a draft
document that had not yet been subjected to the initial public review
step in the planning process. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences
completed a comprehensive review of the Corps of Engineers planning
process, and determined that the complete process and its procedures
were just about right.
The scope and efforts involved in accomplishing this study
recognized its complexities and the potential conflicting demands from
the numerous constituencies involved. Some of the negative findings
concerned new methodologies and models that were developed specifically
to enhance the analysis of the very complex issues associated with the
potential project, specifically the economic and environmental models,
that had not been fully reviewed within the Corps internal processes.
And some of the findings were based on the need for additional
environmental data, even though nearly $25 million has been spent on
development of such data. We are not going to use those models for
completion of the study but will utilize the valid data and information
collected, and develop additional data where needed to provide
decisionmakers a series of assessments that reflect the uncertainties
associated with this project and its alternative solutions.
The existing soundness of the Corps provides the basis for us to
move forward with this study as well as the hundreds of other studies
and projects that are currently underway.
Question 3. Do you intend to incorporate recommendations made by
the NRC on the Upper Mississippi feasibility study as you prepare the
draft for public review?
Response. We are following the NRC recommendations concerning the
models and assumptions used by not utilizing those models and
developing a set of alternatives scenarios and options with risk and
uncertainty analyses of each that will allow decisionmakers to examine
the full range of options and impacts. In addition I have formed a
national Level principals group to provide me advice and guidance as we
move forward on this study. The Corps planning process has an extensive
review element within it as well as multiple opportunities for public
and impacted interests to review alternatives and recommendations and
I would not hesitate to utilize independent peer review of complex
studies such as the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway
study. I am recommending the establishment of an independent review
panel for large, complex or controversial studies. We are still working
on the details of this initiative, but it will be a mixed group of
Corps senior leaders and outside independent experts to provide me a
separate assessment before I forward my report to the Assistant
Secretary. This proposal would be an interim step while we await
results from the WRDA 2000 mandated NAS review.
Question 4. I applaud the resolution that you and Dr. Westphal came
to, culminating in the memorandum you and he signed in November of last
year. Do you anticipate that this agreement will carry over once the
new Assistant Secretary of Army for Civil Works is confirmed?
Response. Yes I do. The purpose of the memorandum was to establish
clarity of the responsibilities of both the Chief of Engineers, and the
ASA(CW), and to improve communications on all Civil Works matters. I
signed that memorandum with Dr. Westphal in November of last year, with
every intention of carrying it out, not: only with him, but also with
Responses by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers to Additional Questions from
Question. Recently, I asked MG Hans Van Winkle to ``let me know
what can be done with, and without, legislation this year to advance''
the cause of further reliance on the private sector in the provisions
of hopper dredging services. Could you please check on this matter and
get back to me as soon as possible?
Response. We are currently seeking opportunities for increasing the
workload of the existing fleet of industry hopper dredges. We have
considered placing an additional Corps hopper dredge, the MCFARLAND, in
ready reserve and evaluate the ability of the industry to perform the
work normally scheduled for this dredge. However, we are concerned that
the McFarland may not be able to sustain its ability to rapidly respond
to unforeseen time-sensitive or emergency work due to the condition of
its operating machinery and engines. The hopper dredge was launched in
1967, and is in need of rehabilitation and modernization. We are
concerned that peak workload demands may require all available hopper
dredge capability, including the McFarland, and without the needed
modernization, the ability to ensure that our deep-draft ports are
maintained may not be possible. We have proposed that, subsequent to
the launching of the industry hopper dredge Liberty Island, currently
under construction, the McFarland would undergo rehabilitation and
modernization, and placed in ready reserve.
To ensure the needs of our ports and waterways are met under any
dredging scenario, we must be able to evaluate the capability of the
industry dredges to respond during unforeseen peak workload events.
Withdrawal of existing capability, realized by the current Corps hopper
dredges, prior to consistent demonstration of the industry capability
to respond could be detrimental to our nation's ports and waterways.
Question 1. In your written testimony you state that the Corps is
proud of projects that ``go beyond simply avoiding or mitigating
environmental impact and make positive contributions to restoring the
Nation's environmental resources.'' Yet at a May 16, 2000 Subcommittee
hearing on the Corps Mission, we heard testimony that in some cases the
Corps has failed to mitigate for the environmental impacts of levees
and dams, or mitigation has not produced expected benefits. As an
example the witness cited, the Vicksburg District of the Corps backlog
of more than 30,000 acres of promised mitigation which h. Would you care to comment on this and what is the Corps
doing to ensure that your method of calculating cost/benefits
accurately reflects the benefits to the Nation as a whole.
Response. We continue to refine our benefit evaluation
methodologies to keep up with advances in economic evaluation and
environmental science. We have placed particular emphasis in our
research program in looking at ways to measure and value environmental
outputs. We have refined our planning processes to achieve better
synergy between economic and environmental values. For example in April
of last year we improved our planning guidance to clarify our ability
to develop projects for environmental restoration.
Question. What role, if any, do political considerations play in
your decisionmaking process?
Response. Political considerations have no role in my
decisionmaking process. The decisionmaking process for my
recommendations is spelled out in the ``Economic and Environmental
Principles for Water and Related Land Resources Implementation
Studies.'' Under these principles I evaluate and surface the plan with
the greatest net economic benefit consistent with protecting the
nation's environment. There can be overriding concerns such as health,
safety, economies of scale, or equity which might cause me to recommend
some other alternative but, by and large, the NED plan is recommended.
Political considerations do not enter into the decisionmaking. Final
exceptions and changes to such recommendations can be made only by the
elected and appointed officials above me.
CIVILIAN AND MILITARY LEADERSHIP
Question. What role does the civilian leadership (Assistant
Secretary of the Army for Civil Works) have in Corps decisionmaking and
how does that differ from the role of the military leadership?
Response. The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works
(ASA(CW)) supervises the civil works functions of the Department of the
Army and I as Chief of Engineers report directly to the ASA(CW) on all
civil works functions. The ASA(CW) establishes the Army position on any
policy, programmatic, legislative, budgetary or major organizational
change involving or affecting the Army's civil works functions. The
Corps provides necessary support for the ASA(CW) to arrive at such
INLAND WATERWAY SYSTEM
Question. The inland waterway system has been described as
``fragmented national network of channelized rivers and deepened ports,
cobbled together by log-rolling and deal cutting by individual
lawmakers, instead of comprehensive planning by Federal officials.'' Is
that a fair description and if not, why not? (9/110/00, Michael
Grunwald ``An Agency of Unchecked Clout; Water Projects Roll Post
Economic, Environmental Concerns'', Washington Post)
Response. It is true that the components of the inland waterway
system have been incrementally authorized and funded by Congress for
development, with different segments constructed at intervals over the
past century and half. But just as the rail, highway and even telephone
networks were built in pieces, once connected they evolved into
national systems. With the obvious exceptions of the Atlantic
Intracoastal Waterway and the Columbia-Snake System, which due to
geography are physically separate and unique, other inland waterways
have, over time, developed into a truly national system of commerce.
Today America has an integrated national system of inland and
intracoastal waterways linking the industrial corridors of the Ohio
Valley and the breadbasket of the Upper Midwest to deep draft ports on
the Gulf Coast, and thus to the world market. Because of the low cost
of inland waterway transportation, U.S. agriculture exports are more
competitive. This is why more than 65 percent of U.S. grain exports
move on the inland waterways--and why other nations are spending
billions of dollars to improve their own inland navigation systems.
The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System is an example
of a recently improved waterway now integrated into the national
It was opened for inland waterway commerce in 1970. By 1975,
traffic had grown to over 5 million tons. Today about 11 million tons
of commodities a year ply the waterway, including coal, grain,
petroleum products, chemicals, iron, steel and more. Billions of
dollars have been invested in counties along the waterway and more than
50,000 jobs have been created'' The waterway is highly integrated into
the national system: More than 2.2 million tons in commerce is shipped
or received at Tulsa, Port of Catoosa, at the head of navigation, 445
miles upriver from the confluence with the Mississippi. Tulsa is now
competitive in world markets, and ships nearly half a million tons of
wheat for export through deepwater ports on the Lower Mississippi
River. In all, Oklahoma now trades with 17 other States via the inland
waterways, including such distant States as Pennsylvania, West
Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Oklahoma farmers, manufacturers and consumers save an estimated $75
million annually in lower transportation costs by using the inland
Inland waterways may be constructed for a variety of purposes,
including navigation, hydropower, flood protection; water supply and
recreation. The Corps of Engineers planning process assesses and
ensures that a new waterway will be integrated into the national system
through the calculation of National. Economic Development (NED)
benefits. The aggregate NED benefits of all project purposes must
exceed the project cost in order to justify authorization and
construction. So while individual inland waterways were authorized and
constructed in segments over time, each nevertheless demonstrated
economic benefits that are national in scope. Navigation clearly
integrates these waterways into a national system. In fact, today
nearly 98 percent of the ton-miles of inland waterway traffic on the
tributaries originates or terminates on another waterway. America's
inland waterways have evolved into a single, unified network that is a
vital component of the nation's Marine Transportation System.
Responses by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers to Additional Questions from
COORDINATION WITH WESTERN AREA POWER ADMINISTRATION REGARDING MASTER
Question. As I'm sure you know, the Corps is in the process of
revising its Missouri River master manual. It is likely that any
revision of the master manual will change the way water is released
from Missouri River mainstem dams, including Fort Peck in Montana.
These dams generate affordable electricity sold through the Western
Area Power Administration to customers throughout eastern Montana and
Given the dependence of these residents on Federal power, it is
important for the Corps to evaluate fully the impact that proposed
changes in dam operations will have on public power.
I understand that steps are being taken to do this. However, will
you make sure the officials involved to open the lines of communication
with WAPA and concerned residents, so that this issue is fully
Response. By letter of 14 March 2001 the Regional Director of the
Upper Great Plains Region of the Western Area Power Administration
(WAPA) requested that WAPA be formally designated as a cooperating
agency under the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act
for the Missouri River Master Manual Review and Update Process.
Concurrent with the request from WAPA, in correspondence of 16 March
2001 five upstream Senators (including Senator Baucus) requested that
the Corps more fully evaluate impacts of alternative flow management
plans to WAPA firm power users. Also concurrently, the Midwest
Electrical Consumers Association requested that the Corps review it's
earlier hydropower analyses in light of deregulation. Last week the NWD
Commander granted formal cooperating agency status to the WAPA. NWD and
WAPA staffs have agreed that an expanded hydropower analyses will be
Rate Impacts for representative WAPA firm power
Regional power supply risk analysis; and
Review of existing hydropower National Economic
Development NED) analysis
Review of existing thermal generation economic analysis.
MONTANA RESTORATION PROJECTS
Question. General Flowers, last year I worked very hard to secure
authorization through section 502 of the Water Resources and
Development bill for $5 million for the Corps to clean up three Montana
watersheds, including Soda Butte Creek near Yellowstone National Park.
The McLaren Tailings, which sit at the head of Soda Butte Creek, have
been and continue to be an ongoing source of pollution in that
The tailings sit behind an impoundment near the Creek and are
vulnerable to flooding or other catastrophic events. The forest service
has begun the process of cleaning up historic mine waste in the larger
area around this site. However, the McLaren tailings have not been
included in the larger cleanup operation, which is why I pursued a
different avenue by securing a funding authorization for the Corps for
I understand that, although authorized, this funding has not been
appropriated specifically for this project. I would like to know how
you stand on working with me to ensure that the spirit of the WRDA bill
is carried out and that these mine tailings, which sit so close to one
of our national treasures, are cleaned up.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue, including
any creative suggestions you may have. This site is a top priority for
Response. As you stated, there were no funds appropriated for Sec.
502; however, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 provided
appropriations for Sec. 560 of WRDA 1999. Sec. 560 was entitled
``Abandoned and Inactive Non-coal Mine Restoration Program'' and allows
for planning and design activities to address problems associated with
abandoned mines. We have been working with the Montana Department of
Environmental Quality (DEQ) concerning sites in Montana and they have
indicated that they are willing to cost share with us to address
problems caused by mining in the State. Soda Butte Creek is among the
potential sites being considered for studies.
Our intention is to show that the Corps can work effectively with
our State and Federal partners to execute this type of program in an
efficient and timely fashion. This will allow the stakeholders to gain
confidence that we can execute as promised and then work through the
appropriate congressional channels to provide us with the restoration
authority that was intended in Sec 560.
PROPOSED RELEASES FROM FT. PECK RESERVOIR
Question. As you may be aware General Flowers, the Corps has
proposed to institute a spring rise, or artificial spring flooding,
from the Fort Peck reservoir. I supported the Corps' decision on this
However, due to low water levels, it is my understanding that the
Corps does not plan to test the effects of a spring rise this year.
Still, many residents along the Missouri, including the Assiniboine
and Sioux tribes, are concerned about the damage a spring rise could
They would like to see the Corps do some studies about the impacts
on downstream users, such as possible damage to irrigation pumps and
water treatment facilities.
They would like to see plans in place for mitigation activities and
funding for repair or replacement of damaged equipment and eroded
There has been some talk that the Corps may release some funds for
site assessment work on the Missouri. Could look into this situation
for me and report back to me on what the Corps has done, or plans to
do, about this issue? Would you support efforts to study and mitigate
the effects of a spring rise on Montana residents?
Response. The Omaha District is currently in the process of
developing a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Corps and
possibly a Conservation District (CD). This MOA would fund a portion,
approximately $10,000; of the cost of the irrigation pumps site
assessment work. This site assessment plan was developed from efforts
of local interest groups and is anticipated to be accomplished by CD
employees. The State Natural Resources Conservation Department, several
CDs, local U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Corp of
Engineers are sharing conceptual plans for the assessment and fully
support it. The Corps will meet with these groups in Montana the week
of 30 April 2001 to work on the final details of the site assessment
Regarding the effects of a spring rise on Montana residents, the
Corps will assess each situation, on a case-by-case basis.
POWER TRANSMISSION FROM FT. PECK
Question. Fort Peck sits on an East-West energy tie. I understand
that the transmission system out there could possibly be upgraded to
push some more power into the West. This could be very important for
the West, where we are experiencing an energy shortage in many places.
I would appreciate your assistance in this matter. Could you look into
this and get back to me?
Response. This is a question that may be better answered by Western
Area Power Administration. The Corps of Engineers and the Western Area
Power Administration are reviewing the feasibility of reconfiguring the
Fort Peck switchyard to allow Units 4 and 5 to generate on the western
interconnection. This would allow 80 MW of electricity to be generated
on the West system if needed.
The Fort Peck Power Plants serve load on both the western and
eastern power grids. Units 1, 2, and 3 can generate to either the East
or West grid. Unit's 4 & 5 have their only connection to a 230kV Line
serving the East Grid.
The primary power line to move energy west is the Richardson-Coulee
line. This 161kw line runs through Havre to Great Falls. Because of the
total length of the line there are stability limits to the amount of
energy that can be transmitted.
The first portion of the Richardson-Coulee line is operated by
Western Area Power Administration and runs 28 miles from the Fort Peck
switchyard to Montana Powers Richardson Coulee substation. Western has
rebuilt this line allowing it to be operated at 230kV and eliminating
the stability limit. To realize this Montana Power must agree to
upgrade their equipment.
MISSOURI RIVER SYSTEM FISH AND WILDLIFE IMPACTS
Question. I am interested in the Corps' scientific data on how the
current management of the Missouri river is affecting fish and
Could you look into this and provide me with any information you
have on this issue?
Response. A significant amount of data exists concerning the
impacts of the current operation of the Missouri River Mainstem Dam and
Reservoir System and Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project on fish
and wildlife resources. There are several technical appendices to the
Missouri River Master Manual Review and Update Environmental Impact
statement that we would be glad to provide to Senator Baucus.
Additionally, in conjunction with the recently completed Section 7
Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife
on current operations, a tremendous amount of scientific data relative
to the listed birds and fish was amassed. That information is also
available. The NWD and US Environmental Protection agency are currently
funding a study of the Missouri River by the National Academy of
Sciences, Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB). The Board has been
specifically tasked to identify gaps in the biological science
regarding the Missouri River. They were also requested to develop
adaptive management strategies for the Missouri River, which would
allow for changes in river management as better scientific information
becomes available. The WSTB Report is due in September 2001.
land transfer, mccone county, montana
Question. How is the land transfer proceeding with regards to
section 22 land in McCone County, Montana? (Section 22 contains a T-Rex
Response. A meeting was held in Fort Peck, Montana, on April 4,
2001, with representatives from the Corps of Engineers and State,
Regional, and National offices of the Department of Agriculture to
discuss the status of the Section 22 land in McCone County, Montana.
The Department of Agriculture is securing, from an adjacent property
owner, a permanent easement to guarantee access to the land proposed
Once easement is secured, USDA will transfer land to the Corps of
Engineers. It was indicated the transfer of lands could be completed
within 6 months. However, the Omaha district must still do a Real
Estate Design Memorandum on the project in order to get authority from
HQ for ``acquisition by transfer''. This action will take anywhere from
2 weeks to 2 months to accomplish. The Walton family no longer has a
legitimate Claim to the land.
Responses by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers to Additional Questions from
UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND ILLINOIS RIVER NAVIGATION STUDY
Question 1. Is the objective of the Upper Mississippi River and
Illinois River Navigation study to forecast economic activity 50 years
into the future?
Response. The objective of the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois
River Navigation study is to address the problem of waterway congestion
and to identify the most appropriate solution. We use a 50-year period
of analysis to compare the economic costs and benefits of the various
alternatives. As prescribed by Principles and Guidelines for all
Federal water resource studies, we use forecasts of future economic
activity to characterize the most likely conditions that are expected
to exist in the future with and without the various alternative plans
in place. The estimated impacts of the alternatives under these
expected future conditions provide the basis far formulating,
evaluating and comparing the alternatives.
Question 2. What is the freight traffic history on the mainstem
Mississippi River in 5-year increments over the last 50 years? It is my
understanding that freight traffic has increased from 59.3 million
short tons in 1949 to 512.3 million short tons in 1999. Is that
Response. Freight traffic on the Mississippi River mainstem,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Mouth of Passes, has increased from 59.3
million short tons in 1949 to 512.3 million short tons in 1999. These
figures represent all traffic, both domestic and foreign.
Mississippi River, Minneapolis, Minnesota, To Mouth of Passes
Freight Traffic (thousands of short tons)
Question 3. When were locks 20-25 constructed and for what
functional life expectancy?
Response. These projects were constructed between 1933 and 1940. It
is difficult to accurately estimate the life expectancy of the
structures. Based on experience, we expect that the longer projects
remain in service, the greater will be the expenditures required for
maintenance and rehabilitation to reliably extend their service lives.
The preliminary findings of the Navigation Study indicate that these
lock and dam structures could operate effectively and efficiently for
an additional 50 years if they are rehabilitated in conjunction with
the construction of lock extensions.
Question 4. What are the principal commodities moved by water on
the upper Mississippi and Illinois waterways?
Response. Collectively, farm products (corn, soybeans, wheat, and
prepared animal feed) represent the largest commodity group totaling
almost 50 percent of all traffic on the upper Mississippi and
approximately 40 percent of all traffic on the Illinois Waterway. On
the upper Mississippi, other commodity groups, in order of
significance, are coal and coke, petroleum products, construction
materials, iron and steel, industrial chemicals, and fertilizers. On
the Illinois Waterway, other commodity groups, in order of
significance, are petroleum products, iron and steel, construction
materials, industrial chemicals, coal and coke, and petroleum products.
Question 5. Roughly how many trucks does it take to haul the
equivalent amount of grain as a medium-sized 15-barge tow?
Response. One 15-barge tow carries approximately 22,500 tons or
787,500 bushels of grain. This is equivalent to 2.25 100-car unit
trains or 870 large semi-trucks.
Question 6. What is the relative fuel efficiency per unit hauled by
water, rail and truck?
Response. Generally, barge transportation is more fuel-efficient
than rail and truck. Information from the Institute for Water Resources
indicates that, on average, a gallon of fuel allows one ton of cargo to
be shipped 59 miles by truck, 202 miles by rail, and 514 miles by
In the upper Mississippi River regions involved in this study, the
efficiency advantage enjoyed by barges is probably somewhat less than
the average, because gains in fuel efficiency for waterborne commerce
have been limited in part due to the congestion and lock size
constraints. It is currently estimated that 11 percent of the fuel
consumed on the Upper Mississippi River is used during lock delays and
Question 7. What are the relative clean air values of water, rail
and truck-born transportation?
Response. Historical data indicates that barge transportation
produces fewer emissions due to its fuel-efficiency advantage.
Question 8. Under current law, would the Federal Government pay the
entire cost of construction necessary to increase lock capacity?
Response. The Inland Waterways Trust Fund was; established by the
Inland Waterways Revenue Act of 1978, Public Law 95-502, as modified by
Section 1405, Water Resources Development Act of 1986, Public Law 99-
662, for cost sharing for rehabilitations of the existing system, and
construction of new projects. Revenue for the Trust Fund comes from a
fuel tax imposed on the purchase of marine fuel by barge operators, and
is administered by the Federal Government as part of the fiscal year
appropriations process. Section 102 of the Water Resources Development
Act of 1986 established a 50 percent cost share for inland waterway
construction to be provided by the Inland Waterways Trust Fund.
Projects resulting from the Navigation Study would be cost shared 50
percent from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund and 50 percent from the
General Fund of the Treasury.
Question 9. I know the locks are old and need maintenance. If we do
not extend locks, rehabilitation of the existing locks will be
necessary. Is there an estimation of the Federal cost to rehabilitate
the existing locks absent new construction, extensions or other
Response. Preliminary study findings indicate that the locks should
be rehabilitated on an approximately 25-to-30-year cycle. For each lock
site, rehabilitation was estimated to cost approximately $25-30 million
per cycle. For example, Lock 22 is estimated to need rehabilitation in
2015 and 2045 at a cost of $25-30 million for each rehabilitation
cycle. This issue will be reviewed and refined further as the study
Question 10. During the hearing I raised the issue about the value
of water transportation in terms of being an insurance policy against
higher-than-necessary railroad rates due to the competition water
transport provides. Does the Mississippi Valley Division, for example,
have any data or can they site any examples whereby rail rates
fluctuate when navigation is unavailable due to maintenance, weather,
Response. Specific data is not available. However, anecdotal and
empirical evidence suggests that the economic: impacts of upper
Mississippi River navigation extend beyond those groups who directly
provide or purchase barge transportation. The continued availability of
water transportation appears to have a significant impact on the
pricing behavior of other surface modes--at least when these modes are
reasonably close to the river. In particular there is a large body of
economic literature, which suggests that available barge transportation
effectively constrains railroad pricing. Intuitively, the existence of
competition produces lower shipping rates that benefit the consumer.
There is no available data that correlates fluctuations of rail rates
with closure of the navigation system.
Question 11. There has been some discussion about environmental
impacts of lock extensions. It is my understanding that most habitat
modification affected by the navigation infrastructure has been a
result of the dams and their operation, not the locks. If locks are
extended from 600 feet to 1,200 feet, will that expansion, in and of
itself, require a modification of the dams or their operation or will
the dam; and operation remain essentially the same?
Response. Your understanding that most habitat modification
affected by the existing navigation infrastructure has been a result of
the dams and their operation is correct. The dams and their operations
will remain essentially the same with the proposed improvements. There
will be no modification of the dams or their operations as a result of
the proposed improvements.
Question 12. Is the purpose of the study to discern the
environmental impacts resulting from the existing system and/or is it
to distinguish marginal environmental impacts resulting from an
Response. To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, the
navigation study will assess the environmental impacts of various
alternative plans by comparing the conditions that are expected to
exist in the future with and without the respective improvement plans.
An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared which will give
appropriate consideration to past and present conditions but will
primarily focus on the effects of alternative plans to relieve lock
congestion as compared to the no-action alternative.
Question 13. Was there empirical data used by the study team to
support the selection of N=1.5 or N=2?
Response. No empirical data was gathered during the feasibility
study to support the selection of N=1.5 or 2.0 for grain. These
specific values were based on theory and subjective assessment
including input from Corps economists, Corps contractors, navigation
users and shippers, and academic researchers. The review by the
National Research Council found that empirical data collection is
recommended to better support ``N'' values for grain.
Question 14. It was reported (River Transport 3/5/01) that,
``Sweeney, rather than refine the model further or wait for the
completion of the technical review, inexplicably presented the results
of these preliminary runs at a public meeting in early February 1998,
before he had even briefed the Corps leadership.'' Were preliminary
model results released prior to technical review without briefing Corps
Response. Preliminary results were presented at the Modeling
Integration and Simulation Team meeting held on 3-4 February 1998,
prior to final technical approval and briefing of Corps leadership. The
Modeling Integration and Simulation Team is a working group for
environmental analysis consisting of the Corps and Fish and Wildlife
Service. Non-governmental organizations also attended this meeting. To
maximize public and agency input, study team members regularly share
work-in-progress with the understanding that such information is
preliminary or merely illustrative of ongoing modeling efforts. At the
1998 meeting, the preliminary nature of the model was put in this
context so that all parties would clearly understand that the analysis
would be subject to continued refinement and agency technical and
policy review. Apparently some participants misinterpreted these
results as final study findings, which was unfortunate since the model
was still a work-in-progress.
Question 15. Who developed the model that the National Academy of
Science's National Research Council suggested should be abandoned?
Response. The Essence model was developed by Dr. Sweeney. The
National Research Council review committee recommended the Essence
model be revised to correct flawed assumptions and data.
Question 16. Did the NAS suggest the appropriate ``N value?''
Response. The National Academy of Science did not suggest an
appropriate ``N value'' for grain; however, they did suggest that data
collection was required to provide an empirical rather than a
theoretical basis for selection of demand elasticity values for grain.
Question 17. Will the Corps endeavor to indicate in its final
report estimates on the cost of being wrong? Asked in another way,
while you can estimate the cost of construction, which would roughly
approximate the cost of needless modernization, can you and will you
estimate the cost that failing to modernize may impose if capacity is
insufficient, transportation costs are higher, and markets are lost?
Response. The costs associated with not modernizing the system
would be reflected by the failure to realize transportation savings
associated with each proposed alternative. For example, the No-action
alternative will result in some future cost to the Nation. Alternatives
are evaluated against the No-action plan. The transportation savings
from the alternative are the benefits of that alternative. If the No-
action alternative is selected, the cost of being wrong are the
foregone transportation savings or benefits associated with each
When the future is uncertain and a project involves significant
complexity, there is difficulty in deciding what is the best course of
action. In order to derive the best course of action, the Corps of
Engineers has established a Federal Principals Task Force that will
coordinate the development of consistent policies, strategies, plans,
programs, and priorities for future economic development of the region
and the Nation in terms of Agricultural and Trade. The Task Force will
provide input into establishing parameters for additional assessment of
risk and uncertainty.
Question 18. Has the Corps pursued any formal or informal analysis
of water infrastructure initiatives undertaken by foreign competitors
and, if so, what are the summary findings?
Response. The Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway
Navigation Study does not contain an explicit analysis of water
infrastructure initiatives being undertaken by foreign countries. The
revised forecasts of demand for United States grain exports were made
with knowledge of foreign initiatives.
Responses by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers to Additional Questions from
CORPS OF ENGINEERS REFORM
Question 1. Of the many recommendations in the various reports and
studies critical of Corps projections and methodologies and disregard
for the environment, which are you most willing to implement?
Response. While I do not agree with the general characterizations
of the Corps processes, methodologies and leadership expressed in some
of the reports, I take specific allegations and recommendations
seriously. The generalizations are based not on a review of the Corps
overall processes, procedures and methodologies, but on a draft report
on a very complex and controversial potential project that had not been
through the initial formal review called for in our process. In 1999,
the National Academy of Sciences completed a formal review of our
overall process and determined it to be just about right.
As recommended, we are not going to use the economics and
environmental models that were found to be flawed. We will develop a
series of options with analyses of the uncertainties in each to reflect
the suggestions raised in the National Research Council report. We will
also collect additional data and undertake analyses determined
necessary for leadership to make informed decisions. I have formed a
national level principals group with representation from other affected
and interested Federal agencies to provide me advice and insight on
issues rind recommendations. There have been many and will be more
opportunities for public and interest groups to review, comment and
provide input as we move forward with this study.
Question 2. Which do you intend to reject, and why?
Response. I reject any generalizations about the Corps processes,
methodologies and biases. We have ongoing programs to enhance and
improve our processes and procedures, particularly in the evaluation
and formulation of environmental projects. Over 20 percent of the
current Civil Works funding is dedicated to environmental programs, and
there are more new studies for environmental restoration projects than
for navigation and flood control projects. However, I do not reject any
specific recommendations that will ensure that this study moves forward
to a final decision in a timely manner.
I would not support any changes to the Principles and Guidelines at
this time. I believe they have proven to be flexible and allow changes
in our specific procedures that reflect society's priorities. In
addition, Congress has directed and we are pursuing two studies with
the National' Academy of Sciences (``Independent Peer Review of
Projects'' and ``Review of Methods for Project Analysis'') that need to
be completed before any changes are proposed. In addition, we are
working with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Army for Civil
Works to develop implementation guidance for WRDA 2000 provisions
concerning ``Enhance Public Participation'' in the planning process and
``Monitoring'' of selected projects to verify economic and
environmental results of projects. Any changes without the results of
these efforts would be premature.
Question 3. In your prepared statement, the end of the last
Paragraph under the ``Water Resources Planning and the National
Interest'' heading discusses the competing forces that pressure the
Corps on the one hand to conduct thorough planning and, on the other,
to expedite projects. The last two sentences read ``As a result, our
planners are often caught between the forces seeking comprehensive
planning at one end of the spectrum and those who voice concerns for
addressing needs on an expedited basis and early screening of
alternatives that have little chance of being implemented. We are
pledged to this service.'' Please clarify what you mean by the last
sentence-you are committing to what service?
Response. My pledge is to address National, regional and local
needs in the study process in a comprehensive basin or watershed manner
t:o the extent possible. This focus can be difficult when viewed from
the non-Federal sponsor's perspective. They are required to provide
one-half of the costs and outside interests, who are not paying any of
the costs, are demanding that issues broader than their specific needs
be addressed. One way we tried to address this problem was a proposal
for WRDA 2000 to enhance our ability to do comprehensive watershed
planning by increasing the authorized funding and providing for a
higher Federal share of such studies.
Question. I understand that the Corps of Engineers has not made any
progress since last October on removing FUSRAP waste from the
unlicensed Safety-Kleen facility at Buttonwillow, California, and that
no further studies are being conducted. I am deeply disappointed by
this continued inaction, and that waste continues to sit in an
unlicensed California dump when other licensed facilities in other
States express willingness to accept it. Will you commit to working
with me to remove that waste from my State?
Response. I am aware of your concerns regarding our use of the
Safety-Kleen facility at Buttonwillow, California, for the disposal of
FUSRAP materials. The Buttonwillow facility is permitted by California
to accept radioactive materials with low specific activity, including
radioactive materials of the kind that the Corps shipped to Safety-
Kleen: The Army Audit Agency (AAA) has investigated Corps use of the
Safety-Kleen facility in California and has determined that ``the Corps
and its supporting contractors took appropriate actions . . . to fully
protect human health, safety and the environment.'' This finding is
consistent with the' conclusions of an earlier study by California
Environmental Protection Agency and the California Health and Human
Services Agency. As stated in an August 25, 1999 letter to California
State Assemblyman Dean Floret, both agencies agreed that ``there is no
known safety or health risk to the community.'' AAA also determined
that ``Removal of the waste from Buttonwillow may result in unnecessary
risks to workers from potential construction accidents and risks to the
facility's protective liners. More importantly, any removal action
would have no effect on the overall waste contamination levels at the
facility because it also stores wastes with similar levels of
radioactivity that aren't related to the Corps' disposal.''
The Corps has already taken steps to improve its communications
with the regulators of disposal facilities it utilizes by requesting
written concurrence that disposal of the specifics FUSRAP materials is
consistent with the facility's license or permit prior to shipment of
those materials. I will be happy to work with you to further improve
communications between the Corps and the States where possible FUSRAP
material disposal. sites are located.
DEER CREEK DEBRIS BASIN
Question. Independent review of the Corps' work is of critical
importance to the local residents living below the Deer Creek Debris
Basin and the Deer Creek levee. The Corps has studied and recommended
the removal of the Deer Creek levee. The Corps says removal of the
levee will not decrease the community's flood protection, The community
funded their own study which raised substantial questions about the
Corps analysis of the debris basin's integrity and the wisdom of
removing the levee. I believe that independent review in this case
would ensure that mistakes are not made that endanger the health and
safety of the people or that lead to flood damage. Will you work with
me by committing to subjecting the Corps' study in this case to an
Response. First, let me clarify that the Corps of Engineers has not
recommended the removal of the Deer Creek Levee, which is also called
the Deer Creek Reception Levee. We have informed local residents that
we do not have jurisdiction over that levee, and that it is a local
decision to remove or retain the levee. If the levee is removed
however, a storm drainage system meeting city and county requirements
would be put into place to intercept flood runoff formerly handled by
the levee. We have conducted a reanalysis of the Federal project
features--the Deer Creek Debris Basin, and Channel, and concluded that
these project features still provide a high degree of protection. At
the request of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the
Corps obtained an independent technical review in August 2000 by an
well qualified engineering firm specializing in flood and sedimentation
problems. The result of this review was concurrence with the Corps'
technical evaluation of the Deer Creek Project that it affords
protection equal to or greater that the FEMA Base Flood (one-percent
annual. chance of occurrence). Currently the Corps is actively
participating in a follow up engineering review of the project with the
State of California, Federal Emergency Management Agency, city of
Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino County Flood Control District, and
concerned local citizens. We believe these technical review efforts
fully address the flood control concern: that led to your request for
an ``independent review''.
DEER CREEK BASIN
Question. What procedures are appropriate when the public and its
elected representatives raise questions about the efficacy of a project
previously completed by the Corps of Engineers, such as what occurred
with regard to the Deer Creek Debris Basin in San Bernardino,
California? Under what circumstances is it appropriate to have these
matters reviewed by an independent party such as the National Academy
of Sciences, and has the Corps considered creating an Ombudsman program
such as what occurs in other Federal agencies to deal with the publics
questions and concerns?
Response. For completed projects, the Corps has a process by which
projects are reviewed for changed conditions under the Review of
Completed projects authority. In such a procedure a study is initiated
either through the Operations and Maintenance or General Investigations
account to review the situation and report recommendations. If a
feasible Federal interest is found in pursuing solution through such a
cursory review, a detailed study is then pursued. The Corps has a very
detailed review procedure that applies to its planning program with
multiple levels of review by its field offices, the Headquarters,
Administration and Congress. Sponsors participate throughout the
process as well as the States and other Federal agencies. While we are
not considering an Ombudsman program as you mentions=d, we are looking
into some form of Independent Review as suggested in the Water
Resources Development Act of 2000 through a contract with the National
Academy of Sciences.
SNAKE RIVER DAMS
Question 1. Do you plan to complete studies regarding the
engineering necessities, economic mitigation, and energy replacement
possibilities for the potential removal of the four lower Snake River
dams? If so, when will those studies be completed and are you planning
to have those studies peer reviewed?
Response. The 2000 NMFS Biological Opinion (BiOp) does not require
dam breaching to avoid jeopardy. However, it indicates that breaching
should be kept as a future option, and establishes a schedule and
triggers for determining whether to pursue this option. The BiOp
recognizes that breaching is a major action requiring NEPA compliance
and congressional authorizations. In addition, the BiOp lays out an
expedited schedule to allow for the quick implementation of breaching
or other more aggressive actions if necessary. It does not require
advanced engineering analysis to meet this objective. The Corps is
still. in the process of completing the Final Feasibility Report and
Environmental Impact Statement (FR/EIS), which will make
recommendations for future actions on the lower Snake River dams and
reservoirs. The FR/EIS will assess the engineering and construction
requirements to determine if it is implementable or technically
feasible, but it will not address the advanced engineering required to
actually implement breaching. No recommendation on advanced engineering
requirements for breaching will be made until the FR/EIS is completed.
We have assessed economic costs and benefits associated with d