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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Washita River Basin Reclamation Project, Oklahoma.

February 25, 1956

I HAVE TODAY APPROVED S. 180, "To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to construct, operate, and maintain the Washita River Basin reclamation project, Oklahoma."

This bill authorizes a water conservation and development project on the Washita River in Oklahoma. The physical features and general arrangement of the project have been approved by Federal agencies and State and local interests. S. 180, however, includes specific technical directions as to how the costs are to be allocated for the various purposes for which the project is to be built. Specifically, the non-reimbursable costs allocated to flood control would be computed by capitalizing the estimate of annual benefits for flood control over a period of 100 years. In this respect, the bill departs from the usual Congressional practice in such cases. It also departs from a fundamental principle of multiple-purpose projects, namely, that each purpose bear its own share of the costs and share equitably in the savings resulting from the incorporation of several purposes in a single project. To this extent, the bill could establish an undesirable precedent for similar handling of other projects without regard to the excess costs to the Federal Government which result from such a method of cost allocation. I shall not consider approval of this bill as such a precedent, but rather as a recognition of special circumstances and acceptance of the result of the extensive negotiations between the Federal agencies and local interests which were conducted in the development of the project.

In approving the measure, I wish once again to call attention to the water policy report which I transmitted to the Congress on January 17, 1956. A major contribution of that report is its statement of the sound principles on which costs of multiple-purpose projects should be allocated. I believe that those principles are in the best, long-run interest of all the people.

Note: As enacted, S. 180 is Public Law 419, 84th Congress (70 Stat. 28).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Authorizing Washita River Basin Reclamation Project, Oklahoma. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232979

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