- Page 17
- Partial proceedings of Conference of Governors, Commissioners and advisors of the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, on the Colorado River
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- 16 SEVEN STATES CONFERENCE every state comes into the Union on an equal footing with every other state; that the state of Mississippi's sovereignty over the waters of that state is equal to the sovereignty of the state of Delaware. When you want to see what the control of the federal government is, just look and see what authority the states delegated to the United States government for all authority is in the states. The only authority delegated to the United States government about or over the waters was the sole right to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. That is all. The supreme court of the United States has interpreted that clause, and in such interpretations has declared that the United States government has the right to regulate the flow of rivers for such purpose but for no other purpose whatsoever. Is that what Mr. Work now conceives his power to be? Is that what Mr. Hoover conceives his power to be? Of course not. They conceive that the United States' right and power over navigation incidentally constitutes an appropriation of all of the waters for any and every other purpose and that from that time on the states cannot use any of such waters for any purpose, not even for drinking water, without the permission of the United States government. If their theory is right, the United States government will do what it pleases with the waters of the several states. There cannot be two supreme powers with regard to the same subject. If the United States government has sovereignty over the waters of the state, then they can tie up the waters of the state. They can take the waters out of a stale if they have sovereign power over that water. Of course, the United States government does not have such sovereignty, as it was always in the states and never has been surrendered. If the question of the benefits of power as well as the benefits of irrigation and the benefits of domestic use are all involved, we may not be able to agree at this time on the details of a decision, but in attempting to agree on any controversy you will make great headway if you can agree on the principles that underlie these negotiations. Now we come to the question of hydro-electric power created by the construction of a dam. If the dam is built, even on the theory that it is for the purpose of improving navigation, we know that it is inevitable that it will create a very large amount of hydroelectric energy. And in that event, would you imagine that the only value of the water was for navigation, or irrigation or drinking? Let us divide the water first it is urged—for what purpose— for navigation or irrigation or drinking? If you control something, you can use it for whatever purpose you see fit.
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