JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.
We must decide whether in the circumstances of this case the Secretary of the Interior has exceeded the authority Congress delegated to him by the Flood Control Act of 1944.
The dispute centers on Lake Oahe, an enormous reservoir located on the Missouri River in South Dakota, with a capacity of more than 23 million acre-feet of water. In 1982, ETSI
The District Court ruled for the plaintiffs. Missouri v. Andrews, 586 F.Supp. 1268 (Neb. 1984). It concluded that the Oahe Dam was not a reclamation or power development that was undertaken by the Interior Secretary, pursuant to clear statutory authority. Instead, the dam was built by the Corps of Engineers, now part of the Department of the Army (formerly the Department of War, but renamed by Act of July 26, 1947, 61 Stat. 495), which has always maintained and operated the reservoir. No block of water in Lake Oahe has been specifically set aside for use by the Interior Department, and the Interior Secretary has not constructed any works at Lake Oahe. On these facts, the District Court held
The Court of Appeals affirmed, with one judge dissenting. Missouri v. Andrews, 787 F.2d 270 (CA8 1986). It upheld the District Court's conclusion that Lake Oahe is not a reclamation development undertaken by the Interior Secretary, primarily because the Army built the reservoir and controls its operation. Accordingly, the Interior Secretary cannot contract on his own to withdraw water from the reservoir for industrial use. Neither the language nor the legislative history of the Act was thought to support the claim that the Interior Secretary was ceded broad authority over water in this reservoir, even water that it claims has been designated as available for future irrigation purposes. Indeed, the language of the Act and its legislative history were found to be convincing enough on this point that the Court of Appeals refused to defer to the Interior Secretary's contrary interpretation.
The Court of Appeals denied a petition for rehearing en banc by an equally divided vote of the judges. We granted certiorari, 480 U.S. 905 (1987), and we now affirm.
The Missouri River Basin is a watershed that covers a vast area in the midwestern United States. The topography of this area, however, reveals two distinct regions that experience very different water problems. The upper part of the Basin, which includes large sections of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota, is mostly arid or semiarid; there, the Missouri River and its tributaries are important because they represent a major resource for developing the agricultural and industrial potential of the area. The lower part of the Basin, which includes territory in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri, is more humid, and there the rivers are used chiefly for navigation, though the critical problem in
At the behest of Congress, the Army Corps of Engineers prepared a report that described a comprehensive plan to develop the entire Basin, known as the Pick Plan for its author, a colonel in the Corps. The Pick Plan proposed the construction of 12 multiple-purpose reservoirs and related works, including 5 reservoirs on the main stem of the Missouri River, at an approximate initial cost of $480 million, though it was estimated that to carry out the entire proposal might cost close to $1 billion. The Pick Plan stressed flood control as its primary objective, but noted that its comprehensive list of projects "would also provide for the most efficient utilization of the waters of the Missouri River Basin for all purposes, including irrigation, navigation, power, domestic and sanitary purposes, wildlife, and recreation," as well as other intangible benefits. H. R. Doc. No. 475, 78th Cong., 2d Sess., 29 (1944) (H. R. Doc.). The report estimated the gross storage capacity of the Oahe Reservoir at about 6 million acre-feet of water.
At almost the same time, the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation independently completed its own plan to develop the Basin, which it had begun earlier, known as the Sloan Plan after the Montana engineer who prepared much of its analysis. The Sloan Plan proposed a total of 90 reservoirs, many of them on the smaller tributary streams, and included 3 reservoirs on the main stem of the Missouri River, at a projected cost of $1.2 billion, with much of that figure to be repayable. The Sloan Plan was also a comprehensive proposal, though it emphasized use of the water for irrigating land, especially in the upper part of the Basin. It estimated that the Oahe Reservoir would hold 19,600,000 acre-feet of
The Pick and Sloan Plans differed with one another not only in their primary objectives, but also in several other important respects, such as the amount of expenditures and the number of projects. The engineering features of the two plans also were dissimilar. On the main stem of the Missouri River, the two plans called for different numbers of reservoirs of divergent sizes, and thus for inconsistent amounts of total water storage. Even where the two plans agreed on the need for a particular reservoir at a particular location, which they did at Oahe and at Fort Randall, they envisioned those projects very differently; as noted above, for example, the Sloan Plan proposed that Lake Oahe would hold more than three times as much water as called for in the Pick Plan, at an additional cost of more than $20 million.
Obviously Congress could not proceed with both plans at once. In order to arrive at a single set of projects for development of the Basin, a Committee composed of two representatives each from the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation was appointed to review the engineering features of the two plans. This Committee essentially combined the determinations made by the Corps about the projects that would be needed for flood control and navigation and the determinations made by the Bureau about the additional projects that would be needed for irrigation. After meeting for two days, the Committee produced an engineering report that recommended most of the specific
In the Act, Congress accomplished three distinct tasks. First, it authorized certain specific projects to be undertaken by approving the "general comprehensive plans set forth in [the Pick and Sloan Plans] as revised and coordinated by Senate Document 247." § 9(a), 58 Stat. 891. It directed that "the initial stages recommended are hereby authorized and shall be prosecuted by the War Department and the Department of the Interior as speedily as may be consistent with budgetary requirements." Ibid. Second, Congress appropriated funds to pay for the initial work done on those projects. Two separate allotments were authorized: $200 million "for the partial accomplishment of the works to be undertaken under said expanded plan by the Corps of Engineers," § 9(d), and another $200 million "for the partial accomplishment of the works to be undertaken under said plans by the Secretary of the Interior." § 9(e).
Third, Congress adopted an administrative framework within which these projects were to go forward. This task involved several areas of potential controversy. The Act
Finally, and most directly relevant to this case, the Act required Congress to deal with the administrative jurisdictions of several agencies of the Federal Government. Among the interested agencies were not only the Departments of War and Interior, but also the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Power Commission, both of whom joined the Interior Department in submitting comments on the Pick Plan, and both of whose interests were also touched on by the Act. H. R. Doc., at 1-3, 10-13; Act, §§ 2, 5, 11-15, 58 Stat. 889, 890, 903-907. The crucial provisions here, however, were the sections that set forth the specific authority allotted to War and Interior, the two key Departments affected by the Act. In relevant part, those five central sections of the Act state as follows:
(1) "The Chief of Engineers, under the supervision of the Secretary of War, is authorized to construct, maintain, and
(2) "Electric power and energy generated at reservoir projects under the control of the War Department and in the opinion of the Secretary of War not required in the operation of such projects shall be delivered to the Secretary of the Interior, who shall transmit and dispose of such power and energy." § 5, 16 U. S. C. § 825s (1946 ed.).
(3) "That the Secretary of War is authorized to make contracts with States, municipalities, private concerns, or individuals, at such prices and on such terms as he may deem reasonable, for domestic and industrial uses for surplus water that may be available at any reservoir under the control of the War Department." § 6, 33 U. S. C. § 708 (1946 ed.).
(4) "Hereafter, it shall be the duty of the Secretary of War to prescribe regulations for the use of storage allocated for flood control or navigation at all reservoirs constructed wholly or in part with Federal funds provided on the basis of such purposes, and the operation of any such project shall be in accordance with such regulations." § 7. See 33 U. S. C. § 709 (1946 ed.).
(5) "Hereafter, whenever the Secretary of War determines, upon recommendation by the Secretary of the Interior that any dam or reservoir project operated under the direction of the Secretary of War may be utilized for irrigation purposes, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to construct, operate, and maintain, under the provisions of [the Federal reclamation laws,] . . . such additional works in connection therewith as he may deem necessary for irrigation purposes. . . . Dams and reservoirs operated under the direction of the Secretary of War may be utilized hereafter for
In light of these specific provisions, as well as the general background to the Act, it is beyond question that the Interior Secretary does not possess the authority that is claimed in this case: to execute a contract to provide water from an Army reservoir for industrial uses without obtaining the approval of the Secretary of the Army. Nobody has disputed that Lake Oahe, one of the six main-stem reservoirs on the Missouri River, was constructed by, and has been operated and maintained by, the Army Secretary, and the District Court found this to be true as a matter of fact. 586 F. Supp., at 1273-1274. The Act says explicitly that such reservoirs are "under the control of" or "under the direction of" the Army Secretary. §§ 4-6, 8. Only two provisions of the Act provide for the Interior Secretary to exercise any authority is whatsoever at Army reservoirs, and in both instances the Act clearly states that the Interior Secretary's authority is subordinate to that of the Army Secretary, who does after all "control" those reservoirs. The Interior Secretary is authorized to "transmit and dispose of" electric power and energy generated at Army reservoirs, but only when that energy is "in the opinion of the Secretary of [the Army] not required in the operation of such projects." § 5. The Interior Secretary is also authorized to recommend to the Army Secretary that an Army reservoir "be utilized for irrigation purposes," and to "construct, operate, and maintain . . . such additional works in connection therewith as he may deem necessary for irrigation purposes." § 8. But this authority only comes into play if the Army Secretary "determines" that "any dam or reservoir project operated under [the Secretary's] direction" may be used for such purposes. Ibid. The language of the Act is plain in every respect, and the conclusion
The precise authority claimed by the Interior Secretary in this case is to enter into a contract, without the approval of the Army, to remove from Lake Oahe water that is claimed to be available for irrigation, and to allow that water to be devoted to industrial use. Nowhere does the Act provide any support for this claimed authority, and in fact it is directly inconsistent with §§ 6 and 8 of the Act, which show that only the Army Secretary has that independent authority in this instance. Section 6 gives the Army Secretary the authority "to make contracts with States, municipalities, private concerns, or individuals . . . for domestic and industrial uses for surplus water that may be available at any reservoir" under the Secretary's control, "Provided, That no contracts for such water shall adversely affect then existing lawful uses of such water." The language of the Act is plain enough: "surplus water" is all water that can be made available from the reservoir without adversely affecting other lawful uses of the water. As long as ample water remains in Lake Oahe for the purposes embodied in the Act, and absent any allocation for irrigation pursuant to § 8, the Army Secretary has exclusive authority to contract to remove water for industrial uses. In this light, two of the District Court's factual findings take on special significance. First, the District Court found no evidence "which would show that specific storage space in Oahe Reservoir was assigned to irrigation," and "there is no evidence that separate allocations were made at Oahe." 586 F. Supp., at 1277. Second, "there is no evidence that any Oahe water ever has been used for irrigation or will be in the near future." Id., at 1274. In light of these facts, and the plain provisions of § 8, the Interior Secretary had no authority to dispose of Lake Oahe water. The Army Secretary might have but has not done so.
The petitioners seek to avert this conclusion by pointing to §§ 9(a) and (c) of the Act. Section 9(a) approves the "general comprehensive plans" set out in the Pick Plan and the Sloan Plan, as revised and coordinated by the final Senate Document, and authorizes the initial stages of those projects to be "prosecuted by the War Department and the Department of the Interior as speedily as may be consistent with budgetary requirements." The petitioners contend that this statement represents congressional approval of various aspects of the functional division of authority between the Army and Interior Departments that had been suggested in those plans; in particular, the petitioners suggest that this provision allows the Interior Secretary unilaterally to remove water from Army reservoirs for irrigation purposes and for other related uses.
This contention is both wide of the mark and grounded on a misuse of the legislative history. To begin with, it would be surprising if Congress had followed up the five sections of the Act in which it explicitly established the jurisdiction of Army and Interior over specific uses of Army reservoirs, the last section of which established jurisdiction over the use of those reservoirs for irrigation, with a provision in which it indirectly
If there were any room for believing that § 9(a) implicitly modified the jurisdictional provisions that were plainly set forth in the preceding sections of the Act, or for doubting that it instead approved a different division of authority from that suggested in the Pick Plan and the Sloan Plan, one item in the legislative history puts this supposition entirely to rest. The original House version of the Act included language almost identical to the suggestions made in the two plans, see infra, at 511-512, which obliged the Interior Secretary "to prescribe regulations" for the use of water stored in Army reservoirs for irrigation. Hearings on H. R. 4485 before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Commerce, 78th Cong., 2d Sess., 2 (1944). Secretary Ickes testified at the Senate Hearings on the proposed bill that this approach did not relate very well to the reclamation laws because it "disregards the problem of allocating costs for multiple-purpose facilities serving other uses in addition to irrigation." Id., at 458. He proposed replacing that approach instead with the language currently contained in § 8 of the Act, which was eventually enacted by Congress. Id., at 313. As noted
Moreover, even if § 9(a) had been intended to adopt every aspect of the functional division of authority between the two Departments that had been proposed in the Pick and Sloan Plans, this section would not provide Interior with the authority to withdraw water unilaterally from Lake Oahe for irrigation and other uses in flat contradiction of § 8 of the Act. Contrary to the petitioners' argument in this case, nothing in those two plans indicates that control over individual reservoirs was to be divided among various departments of the Federal Government. The Pick Plan, for example, emphasized that although the Department of War was willing to coordinate its activities with Interior in order to serve "the broad and important interests and responsibilities" of both agencies, "[i]t is essential, however, that the main-stem projects be built, operated, and maintained by the Corps of Engineers." H. R. Doc., at 3-4. The War Department noted that although it would retain control of those reservoir projects, it accepted that "utilization of storage reserved for irrigation" in those reservoirs "should be in accordance with [Interior] regulations." Id., at 4.
The petitioners also point to § 9(c) of the Act as lending support to its argument. That section states that "the reclamation and power developments to be undertaken by the
Not only do the language, structure, and legislative history of the Act fail to support the petitioners in this case, but the substance of their position is also difficult to fathom. The
The petitioners finally contend that this Court should defer to the Interior Secretary's interpretation of the authority granted to him under the Act, which the Army apparently
It is unnecessary to consider the petitioners' contention that deference to the Interior Secretary is appropriate in this case and their related arguments about the history of relations between Army and Interior under the Act, for even if Interior's interpretation of the Act would be entitled to any
The decision of the Court of Appeals is therefore affirmed.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE KENNEDY took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.