Franklin D. Roosevelt

Letter on Interstate Compacts for Controlling Floods on the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers.

August 26, 1937

My dear Mr. Citron:

I have your letter of August eighteenth, concerning the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers flood control compacts.

Knowing of your active efforts to obtain flood control for the New England States, I am sure that you share my regret that the projects authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 for the Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers Basins have not yet reached the construction stage. However, the insistence of some upon having the proposed Connecticut and Merrimack Rivers flood control compacts consented to by Congress in the form in which they were submitted nullified every effort which I made to bring about a satisfactory adjustment of the differences between the Federal Government and the States concerned. The provisions of these compacts which require title to project lands to vest and remain in the States where the projects are located and which embody reservations to such States with respect to power development are not only in conflict with the requirements of the Flood Control Act of 1936, but contravene existing Federal statutes and policy relating to the development of the water resources of streams subject to Federal jurisdiction.

The failure of Congress to consent to the compacts does not mean that the projects must wait until Congress again meets and takes further action. The Flood Control Act of 1936 gives advance consent to compacts which provide only for the manner of making the contribution required by Section 3 of that Act and the proportion of such contribution to be made by each State. I am strongly of the opinion that flood control in these Basins is of sufficient importance to the States of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut to warrant the calling of a special session of their legislatures to approve a compact following strictly the provisions of Section 4 of the Flood Control Act of 1936, which gives advance consent of Congress to such a compact. As soon as such a compact is agreed to by the signatory States, the Secretary of War would be able promptly to commence construction of the projects.

Very sincerely yours,

Honorable William M. Citron,

House of Representatives,

Washington, D. C.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Interstate Compacts for Controlling Floods on the Merrimack and Connecticut Rivers. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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