Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President Upon Signing the River and Harbor Act and the Flood Control Act of 1954.

September 03, 1954

BECAUSE its enactment strengthens our control and use of our water resources, I am very happy to approve this bill, H.R. 9859, which authorizes 179 projects for navigation, beach erosion prevention, flood control, and related purposes.

These projects are new or are modifications of projects previously authorized. Their cost to the Federal Government will approximate $1,126,553,814, of which the Act authorizes $1,072,351,814 to be appropriated.

In the development of the nation's water resources, I believe that the Federal role should be cooperative, not preemptive--that the cost of such development should be shared by the Federal Government with the States, local governments and private interests. I believe also that--to the greatest possible extent--those directly benefiting from resource development should be responsible for it and pay for it.

That some of these projects will have inadequate local and State participation is, therefore, very unfortunate, as also is the fact that some flood control reservoirs protecting specific, well-defined localities will have no local participation as now authorized.

It is heartening, however, that local participation is prescribed for several flood control reservoirs and that local contributions for such benefits are required in many other projects for navigation and flood protection. My requests for appropriations authorized by this Act will give precedence to projects in whose costs local interests are required appropriately to share.

Section 202 of the Act declares it to ,be the policy of the Congress that:

"No project or any modification not authorized, of a project for flood control or rivers and harbors, shall be authorized by the Congress unless a report for such project or modification has been previously submitted by the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, in conformity with existing law."

Despite this section, directly conflicting provisions of the same Act authorize eight projects costing $21,331,900. Until reports on these projects have been completed and data essential to their evaluation is available, I will not request appropriations to start their construction.

Aside from these specific deficiencies, most projects authorized by this Act are basically sound, and I am glad to give this important legislation my approval.

Note: The River and Harbor Act of 1954 is title I of Public Law 780, 83d Congress (68 Stat. 1248). The Flood Control Act of 1954 is title II of the same public law.

The statement was released at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver, Colo.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Upon Signing the River and Harbor Act and the Flood Control Act of 1954. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232577

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