B-126154, JAN. 12, 1956

B-126154: Jan 12, 1956

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IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE BUREAU OF MINES HAS BEEN ADVISED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH THAT CERTAIN ENGINEERING STUDIES WILL BE NECESSARY BEFORE THEY WILL BE IN A POSITION TO SUBMIT SPECIFIC PROJECTS UNDER THE WATER CONTROL AND DRAINAGE PROGRAM. THESE STUDIES WILL CONSIST OF EXAMINATION OF PROJECT PROPOSALS AS TO FEASIBILITY. IT NOW DEVELOPS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF MINES OF PENNSYLVANIA PROBABLY WILL INITIATE SOME PROJECTS. INDICATE THAT UNDER THE STATE LAW IT IS THE ONLY LEGAL MEANS BY WHICH THEY CAN FINANCE THE WORK. IS TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTROL AND DRAINAGE OF WATER IN THE ANTHRACITE COAL FORMATIONS. SECTION 2 OF THE ACT PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT: "THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED.

B-126154, JAN. 12, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

IN LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1955, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR ADVICE AS TO WHETHER FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE BY THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1956, 69 STAT. 450, MAY BE EXPENDED BY THE BUREAU OF MINES WITH EQUALLY MATCHED FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR CONDUCTING ENGINEERING STUDIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ANTHRACITE MINE DRAINAGE PROGRAM AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1955, 69 STAT. 352.

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE BUREAU OF MINES HAS BEEN ADVISED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COMMONWEALTH THAT CERTAIN ENGINEERING STUDIES WILL BE NECESSARY BEFORE THEY WILL BE IN A POSITION TO SUBMIT SPECIFIC PROJECTS UNDER THE WATER CONTROL AND DRAINAGE PROGRAM. THESE STUDIES WILL CONSIST OF EXAMINATION OF PROJECT PROPOSALS AS TO FEASIBILITY, COSTS, AND CONFORMITY WITH STANDARDS PRESCRIBED BY LEGISLATION, AND THE PREPARATION OF PROPOSED PROJECT CONTRACTS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AS TO ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS UNDER THE CITED STATUTE. IN ADDITION TO PROJECTS INITIATED BY MINE OPERATORS, IT NOW DEVELOPS THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF MINES OF PENNSYLVANIA PROBABLY WILL INITIATE SOME PROJECTS. NO SEPARATE APPROPRIATION HAS BEEN MADE BY THE COMMONWEALTH, APART FROM FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE FOR MATCHING FEDERAL FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE ANTHRACITE PROGRAM, WHICH COULD BE USED FOR SUCH ENGINEERING STUDIES. THE COMMONWEALTH REPRESENTATIVES NOT ONLY DESIRE TO UTILIZE A PART OF THE FEDERAL-STATE MATCHING FUNDS FOR THESE ENGINEERING STUDIES BY EMPLOYING ENGINEERS AND PAYING THEIR SALARIES AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES FROM SUCH FUNDS, BUT INDICATE THAT UNDER THE STATE LAW IT IS THE ONLY LEGAL MEANS BY WHICH THEY CAN FINANCE THE WORK.

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1955, IS TO PROVIDE FOR THE CONTROL AND DRAINAGE OF WATER IN THE ANTHRACITE COAL FORMATIONS. SECTION 2 OF THE ACT PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT:

"THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS AUTHORIZED, IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE ABOVE-MENTIONED PURPOSES, TO MAKE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE BASIS OF PROGRAMS OR PROJECTS APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY, TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA (HEREINAFTER DESIGNATED AS THE "COMMONWEALTH") FOR CONTROL AND DRAINAGE OF WATER WHICH, IF NOT SO CONTROLLED OR DRAINED, WILL CAUSE THE FLOODING OF ANTHRACITE COAL FORMATIONS, SAID CONTRIBUTIONS TO BE APPLIED TO THE COST OF DRAINAGE WORKS, PUMPING PLANTS, AND RELATED FACILITIES * * *.'

SINCE THE ACT DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR CONDUCTING ENGINEERING STUDIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROGRAM IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO REFER TO THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF ITS ENACTMENT TO DETERMINE THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT.

IT IS STATED IN THE REPORT OF THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS, HELD MARCH 7, 1955, ON H.R. 38 AND OTHER COMPANION BILLS CONCERNING THE FLOOD CONTROL AND ANTHRACITE MINE DRAINAGE PROGRAM, THAT THE ENGINEERING WORK HAD BEEN DONE. ALSO, IN THE HEARINGS (PAGES 854, 855) BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS ON H.R. 7278 WHICH LATER BECAME THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1956, IT WAS STATED AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * ALTHOUGH THE STATE PUTS UP THE $8 1/2 MILLION, THE OWNERS OF THE MINES HAVE ALREADY, IN COOPERATION WITH THE DRAINAGE COMMISSION, DRAWN UP THE PLANS. THE MINING COMPANIES HAVE FURNISHED ALL OF THE ENGINEERING SERVICES FOR THE DRAWING UP OF THE PLANS IN COOPERATION WITH THE STATE. THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED A GREAT AMOUNT OF MONEY IN FORMULATING THE ENGINEERING DATA FOR ALL OF THE APPROXIMATELY 400 PROJECTS INVOLVED IN THIS STUDY.'

"WHILE THERE ARE NO DIRECT CASH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MINE OWNERS FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THIS PROGRAM THERE HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIAL FINANCIAL OUTLAYS BY THE MINING COMPANIES, ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT $1 MILLION, FOR ENGINEERING SERVICES, SURVEYS, AND PILOT PROJECTS, INCLUDING APPROXIMATELY 400 MAJOR AND MINOR PROJECTS PERTAINING TO PUMP INSTALLATIONS; DITCHES; FLUMES; VOLUME OF WATER FLOW; SIZE, ELEVATION, AND DIRECTION OF TUNNELS; AND OTHER RELATED PROBLEMS OF MINE DRAINAGE.'

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE REFERRED-TO ACTS THAT THE CONGRESS WAS ADVISED THAT ALL OF THE ENGINEERING WORK HAD BEEN DONE AND THAT THE APPROPRIATION WAS NEEDED FOR THE DIRECT COSTS OF "DRAINAGE WORKS, PUMPING PLANTS, AND RELATED FACILITIES.' THIS VIEW IS FURTHER SUPPORTED BY THE FACT THAT THE CONGRESS MADE A SEPARATE APPROPRIATION TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF ADMINISTERING THE PROGRAM, INCLUDING ENGINEERING REVIEW AND APPRAISAL BY THE BUREAU OF MINES OF PROJECTS SUBMITTED BY THE COMMONWEALTH. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THIS APPROPRIATION WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY IF THE CONGRESS HAD INTENDED THAT THE FUNDS COULD BE USED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AND ENGINEERING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PREPARATION AND APPROVAL OF THE PROPOSED PROJECTS. IT ALSO APPEARS THAT THE CONGRESS IN USING THE TERM "TO MAKE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS ON THE BASIS OF PROGRAMS OR PROJECTS APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY" INTENDED THAT THE CONTRIBUTIONS FOR THE COST OF THE PROGRAM WOULD BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF ENGINEERING STUDIES, INCLUDING DETAILED PLANS, SPECIFICATIONS AND SUPPORTING DATA, WHICH HAD BEEN COMPLETED BY THE COMMONWEALTH PRIOR TO SUBMISSION OF THE PROPOSED PROJECTS TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR HIS APPROVAL AND ALLOCATION OF FUNDS TO THE PROJECTS.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT, UNLESS MODIFYING LEGISLATION IS ENACTED, FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE BY THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1956, MAY NOT BE EXPENDED BY THE BUREAU OF MINES WITH EQUALLY MATCHED FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA FOR CONDUCTING ENGINEERING STUDIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE ANTHRACITE MINE DRAINAGE PROGRAM.