Herbert Hoover photo

Statement on Signing a Proclamation on the Colorado River Compact and the Boulder Canyon Project.

June 25, 1929

AT THE press conference this morning, the President said:

"I signed this morning the Colorado River proclamation, making effective the compact between six of the seven States in the Colorado River Basin. I have a particular interest in its consummation not only because of its great intrinsic importance but because I was the chairman of the Colorado River Commission that formulated the compact. The compact itself relates entirely to the distribution of water rights between the seven States in the basin. It has nothing per se to do with the Boulder Canyon development except that it removes the barriers to such development. It has some points of very considerable interest.

"It is the final settlement of disputes that have extended over 25 years and which have estopped the development of the river. The difficulties over the respective water rights of the different States have served to prevent development in a large way for nearly a quarter of a century. And it has an interest also in that it is the most extensive action ever taken by a group of States under the provisions of the Constitution permitting compacts between States. The only instances hitherto were mostly minor compacts between two States on boundary questions [p.200] except the one case of the New York Port Authority, which was of first importance, but is [a] compact between two States. This compact is, however, an agreement between seven States, and represents the most important action ever taken in that fashion under the Constitution. It opens the avenue for some hope of the settlement of other regional questions as between the States rather than the imposition of these problems on the Federal Government.

"The compact was originally, signed 5 years ago by the seven States subject to ratification by their legislatures. It has a similarity to matters in international negotiation in the difficulties that it has to pursue in the path of ultimate consummation, but for the first time in history a compact involving so many interests has been made effective.

"There is only one point still left open, and that is the relation of Arizona to the compact. I am in hopes that Arizona and California may compose their mutual problems which have hitherto prevented Arizona from joining in the compact. With Arizona in the whole basin will have settled their major question of water rights for all time."

Herbert Hoover, Statement on Signing a Proclamation on the Colorado River Compact and the Boulder Canyon Project. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210423

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