STATEMENT OF WILLIAM CLIFFORD SMITH
ON HIS NOMINATION TO BE MEMBER OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
UNITED STATES SENATE
OCTOBER 7, 1998
WASHINGTON, D.C.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the committee: I am honored to appear before you as the nominee for member of the Mississippi River Commission.

Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a brief statement about the Mississippi River Commission, the Mississippi River and Tributaries (MR&T) project, and my qualifications for the position for which I have been nominated.

The Mississippi River Commission, established by Act of Congress on June 28, 1879, consists of seven members, all of whom are appointed by the President of the United States subject to confirmation by the Senate. Three members are Corps of Engineers officers, one of whom serves as president; one member is from the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and three members are from the civilian sector, two of whom must be civil engineers.

From its inception in 1879, the Commission has been charged with the vital task of planning and implementing a program of flood damage reduction projects and navigation improvements on the Mississippi River. More recently, project purposes have been expanded to include environmental restoration. This task continues to be conducted in concert with the myriad of political institutions, individuals, and public entities which have major interests in seeing that the water resources needs and opportunities of the Mississippi Valley are evaluated, planned, designed, constructed, and maintained.

As established in 1879, the commissioners were to serve as advisors in planning and implementing water resource projects and programs on the Mississippi River between the Head of Passes below New Orleans to its headwaters. Since 1928, the Commission has focused on the Mississippi River and Tributaries project, authorized by the Flood Control Act of May 15, 1928, to be implemented under oversight of the Commission. The MR&T project extends generally from the confluence of the Ohio River to the Head of Passes below New Orleans and covers portions of seven states. It receives water from all of part of 31 states and part of two Canadian provinces, or roughly 41 percent of the contiguous United States. Effective planning, design, construction, and operation of the widespread and complex MR&T project have been assisted greatly by the Commission's active consultation with the public, particularly on its semiannual lower Mississippi River inspection trips, and by the high degree of professionalism that has been developed in its staff.

The MR&T project is truly of national significance. For example, a major flood on the lower Mississippi River would have catastrophic effects on the inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley and the economy of the nation were it not for the protection provided by the levees and other flood control works throughout the project area. Many have noted that the comprehensive project on the lower river provided for passage of major floods in 1973, 1983, 1997, and other years without the extensive damage suffered in the upper river area during the 1993 and 1995 flood events.

In addition, the navigation features of the project are essential to maintaining the river for shipping import and export commodities between inland ports and world markets. In short, the navigation features of the MR&T project are essential in peace time and vital to our national defense in times of emergency.

Reorganization of the Corps of Engineers in April 1997 has placed the entire length of the Mississippi River within one Division of the Corps of Engineers. The Commander of this Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps also serves as President of the Mississippi River Commission. The reorganization of the Corps will allow management of the Mississippi River as a single and unified system and will allow the Commissioners to more effectively serve as advisors to the Division Commander and the Chief of Engineers as authorized in the enabling legislation in 1879.

The Commission has been active as advisor to the Corps on the Upper Mississippi River since the reorganization. The Commission conducted inspection trips on the Upper Mississippi River in August 1997 and August 1998, holding a series of public meetings in the St. Paul, Rock Island, and St. Louis Districts each year, in addition to the semiannual inspection trips and public meetings in the Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans Districts.

In regards to my personal qualifications, I am a 1958 graduate of Louisiana State University with a Bachelor's Degree

in Civil engineering. I then became a partner in my father's firm, and the name of the firm was changed to T. Baker Smith & Son. Following my father's death in 1962, I have operated the company as president and sole owner and am directly responsible for the general management of the firm and overall supervision and administration of all company affairs.

During my 40 years of professional experience, I have been involved with numerous significant public works and private industry projects requiring civil engineering, land surveying, and environmental services.

I have been a registered civil engineer and land surveyor in Louisiana since 1958 and a registered civil engineer in Mississippi since 1985 and am involved in several professional organizations in the engineering field.

I feel that with my diversified experience in my company's engineering field, I have the expertise to serve as a civil engineer member of the Mississippi River Commission.

If confirmed to the position, Mr. Chairman, I would look forward to playing a key role in the continual improvement of the Mississippi River system and the MR&T project and applying the best of modern practices in water resources engineering. I would also look forward to being a member of a Commission that focuses not only on the traditional roles of safely passing the Mississippi River Basin floodwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, plus providing a safe and dependable navigable waterway, but also recognizes the nation's environmental awareness and incorporates environmental restoration.

Mr. Chairman, for your information, I have attached a complete biography on myself and a current list of members of the Mississippi River Commission.

Mr. Chairman, that completes my prepared statement, and I would be pleased to respond to any questions.


WILLIAM CLIFFORD SMITH (Member Designee)

Mr. William Clifford President and Chief Operating Officer of T. Baker Smith & Son, Inc, in Houma, Louisiana. T. Baker Smith & Son, Inc., is a totally integrated professional consulting civil engineering, land survey, and environmental service firm. It was established by T. Baker Smith Sr. in 1913 end has been successfully providing professional services to a diverse clientele of public end private industry since that date. It presently has a staff of 95 qualified professionals and support personnel.

During Mr. Smith's 39 years of professional experience; he has been involved with numerous significant public works and private, industry projects requiring civil engineering, land surveying, and environmental services.

Mr. Smith attended the public school system in Terrebonne Parish and received his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Louisiana State University in 1958. Since he had grown up his fathers footsteps in the civil engineering field, he immediately became a partner in his father firm, and the named was changed to T. Baker Smug 7E Son, to illustrate his formal entrance into the profession.

Following his father's death in 1962, he reorganized and operated the company as president and sole owner. Today, he is the directly responsible for the general management of the firm and over all supervision and administration of all company affairs.

He has been a registered civil engineer and land surveyor in Louisiana since 1958 and a registered civil engineer in Mississippi since 1985. His professional organizations in the engineering field are the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, American Society of Civil Engineering, National Society of Professional Engineers, Louisiana Engineering Society, Louisiana Society of Professional Surveyors, and National Society of Military Engineers.

The social, civic, and business organizations of which he is a member includes the Houma-Terrebonne Chamber of Commerce, Terrebonne Historical and Culture Society, and Board of Directors of Entergy Corporation.

A native of New Orleans, Mr. Smith is married to the former Jo- Anne Toups from Schriever, Louisiana. They have seven children.