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our coal, for example, may be expected to become practically exhausted cannot be set within a hundred years, for we cannot gauge the stock in veins out of sight, nor foresce the rate at which the use of coal will be accelerated. But it would seem sufficient to know that, at the present rate of extraction (the amount mined in 1906, as the figures show, excelled all previous records, and yet the increase in 1907 over 1906 was more than the total annual supply 10 years earlier), no finite quantity could indefinitely survive; hence more attention must be paid to avoiding the present lavish waste in mining, as well as applying water-power and wind-power wherever adapted to do the work now done by burning coal. These economies should be introduced now from choice, not left till the disappearance of our fuel-supply drives us to them by force. It is a wretched business to allow our boast that “The country's coal supply is good for many hundreds of years yet” to uphold us in the reckless waste we now make of it. But I attempted to cover the whole field of Conservation in an address at our first Congress, and will not repeat but, in conclusion, will touch upon that form of Conservation which all will concede to be of supreme importance—the Conservation of the most precious asset of the State: its men, women, and children. If the life and health of citizens is sacrificed, by vicious measures or by simple neglect, no saving of any other of our possessions will at all avail us. The importance of efforts, on a National scale, for the maintenance of public health has been proved by ample experience, and we should see to the continuance, and especially to the proper organization, of such efforts. An important step in that direction is the proposed formation of a Department of Health under the Federal Government, as contemplated in the bill so ably championed by Senator Owen at the last session of Congress. Our race is a prey to epidemics which extend far beyond State boundaries, arising from causes that often require long-continued and expensive investigations for their determination and their counteraction; and it is obvious that any effectual work against them must be under charge of the General Government. The clear and cogent reasons for this view have again and again been given by sanitary experts, and it is needless to repeat them. The matter is of sufficient importance to call for action from our Congress, and a resolution favoring a Department of Health, at the National Capital ought surely to meet with no opposition. I would propose the following resolutions: Resolved, That this Congress declares its hearty approval of the opinion made public last week by our honored Chief Executive, President Taft, that his party and his Administration are pledged “to make better provisions for securing the health of the Nation. The most tangible and useful form that this can take would be the establishment of a National Bureau of Health, to include all the health agencies of the Government now distributed in different departments.” Resolved, That we accept, in principle, the “Health Department” bill of Senator Owen now pending, and strongly recommend that that measure, suitably amended where necessary, be enacted into law. Resolved, That our Secretary be directed . to communicate a resolution advocating a Department of Health to the members of the National Senate and House of Representatives, and that our own membership be urged to use all their individual influence to aid the passage of the measure hereby recommended.
REPORT FROM ARKANSAS
Progress has been made in the Conservation movement in Arkansas through the recent organization of the Arkansas Conservation Commission. Up to this time we have had no legislation along Conservation lines, and our Conservation Commission is one whose members serve without compensation. The Commission was appointed by our present Governor, and its officers are George W. Donaghey, Chairman, and Sid B. Redding, Secretary. The Commission has effected a permäment organization, and its membership includes some of the leading business and professional men of our State. The Arkansas Legislature will convene in January, 1911, and at that time Governor Donaghey will perhaps recommend legislation covering a fixed Conservation policy for our State.
REPORT FROM COLORADO
The Colorado Conservation Commission is composed of thirty-six members appointed by the Governor of the State February 17, 1909, with Mr Frank C. Goudy designated as Chairman. The Commission met on call to organize March 11, 1909, at which time Mr Goudy, the Chairman, was elected President of the Commission for the ensuing year, and the following subjects were fixed upon as embracing the general scope of Conservation in Colorado, viz: Lands, Waters, Minerals, Forestry, and Natural History. Standing Committees were appointed and put in charge of these five divisions of labor. The organization is composed of men holding all shades of opinion concerning Conservation. Some think the Federal Government should turn over to the State all the public domain within its borders, together with its natural resources of every kind; that the State should own and control the public land and all it contains. Others hold that these transfers from the Federal Government to the State should be made, but that they should be subject to conditions to be named in the grant, providing, adequate protection against monopoly and other objectionable control. Still others believe there should be cooperation with the General Government, at least until such laws are enacted as will assist in the work of Conservation and until the State is better prepared, financially, to meet the expense necessarily attending such a work. There are many others who believe in the continued Federal control of the public domain and its resources. Including the first meeting, five sessions have been held, each occupying two days. In connection with the several sessions already held, considerable labor has been performed. Many papers have been read, numerous addresses have been delivered, and the Standing Committees have made sundry carefully prepared reports. Of the papers read, more than half have been given by persons not members of the Commission, not for lack of readiness on the part of our own people, but to divide this feature of the work with the public at large. It has never been difficult to secure speakers either inside or outside of the Commission. The Commission itself is composed of a body of more than ordinary intelligence. The Annual Meeting was marked with a banquet to emphasize the passing of the year. The last meeting, April 18-19, 1910, was devoted entirely to the subject of the water-power resources of the State. Numerous letters from men prominent at Washington were received and read, and five papers were given by persons interested in the subject. All phases of the question were presented, and the most mature thought of the present time was elicited. One of the duties of the Secretary of the Commission is to take notice of any unlawful waste or destruction of natural resources and report the same to the proper authorities. This work has been sufficiently pursued to disclose a field calling for special attention—one that calls for legislative recognition, authority, and assistance. It may be of interest to the Congress to know something of the resolutions that have been adopted by this Commission. A brief abstract of the elements of a few will suffice to show how the body stands on the subject of Conservation. 1—A hearty endorsement of the general policy of the Government in control and conservation of the resources of the Nation. 2–Hearty cooperation between the State and Nation in Conservation. 3–That all plans of Conservation should safeguard against monopoly. 4–That in disposing of water-power sites, all franchises should be limited to a reasonable period to prevent monopoly and regulate charges. 5–That in taxing forested lands, no account should be taken of the timber until it is cut and sold. 6–That all afforested lands over one acre and not over ten acres on a tract of 160 acres should be exempt from taxation for a period of ten years. 7–That the State, by proper laws and reasonable appropriations, should cooperate with the General Government in the protection of the forests within the State from fire and lawless depredations of every kind. Among other things, a committee has been appointed to prepare and submit to the next meeting a brief and clear statement, for general circulation, as to what Conservation is and what it is not ; what it stands for, and what it seeks to do. The purpose is to clear away the haze of misunderstanding and misapprehension in the public mind concerning it. The Commission is about to publish a full report of its proceedings, covering the five sessions already held.
In closing this statement, it may not be out of place to say that nature has been lavish of resources in our State—they are many and abundant, but in a certain measure undeveloped, and, so far, we have had no leisure to take up matters not directly and specifically local to Colorado, except in cases where they are necessarily general. f
REPORT FROM FLORIDA
The spirit of Conservation prevaileth everywhere in these modern times, and for the reason that during the past several years vicious attacks have been made upon the National resources throughout the length and breadth of our land, and to such a marvelous extent that our whole people have awakened to the fact that something must be done and at once if we wish to preserve our general resources sufficiently to care for those we expect to come after us, and who are dependent on our country for an honest and successful living. We have been greedy and selfish in the past, and now is the time for us to curb this vicious appetite and think of those who are to come hereafter. Modern times have come to stay, but the spirit of Conservation will grow until we have accomplished the grand results of providing proper protection to our forests, mineral wealth, lands, water-power and waterways, and last but not the least our various climates that God Almighty has given us to conserve the health of our people.
Much is said as to the methods to be adopted and what necessary legislation should take place to obtain actual results of Conservation. The idea of giving absolute control over the forests, the inland waterways, and the public lands confined within the States to the National Government is repugnant to me and I believe to all of the people of my State. It has too much the tinge of centralization of power in the Federal Government, and we have had enough of this already. The notion that giving the States power and control is in favor of the special interests is ridiculous when we look back and know what has already been done by the Federal Government giving away some of its most valuable resources to the trust-monopoly corporations of the country, and we view in comparison what the States have done where they have controlled many of these resources. I have but to call your attention to what we are doing in Florida and have done the past several years in the way of Conservation. We realized some years ago that our public lands were fast being absorbed by the railways operating in our State, and that the time would soon be at hand when our people would be unable to secure homesteads, and immigration to our great State would be unable to place that energy with the soil of our State and bring about the development of resources we were entitled to through the natural course of developments. We had within our borders a vast empire of land, over 4,000,000 acres of fertile land known as the Everglades, all of which was looked upon by the land-grabbers as not worth 15 cents an acre; but greatly to his credit, to Governor Napoleon B. Broward, now our nominee for United States Senator, is due the reclamation of this property and a saving to the State of lands now valued at over $35,000,000. Against great political odds and vigorous contests, the policies of Governor Broward were endorsed; and after much litigation through the State and Federal courts we have been able to conserve this vast area of land by drainage under State supervision and at the expense of the State. The policy was greatly doubted, but it has proven a grand success in that the State, securing title to these lands, successfully sold half of the same at a price sufficient to build the necessary dredges and pay for the work of the draining of the entire tract of property by carrying the surplus waters from Lake Okeechobee through the trunk canals to the waters of the Gulf and to Atlantic Ocean. The work that is now going on has accomplished over 100 miles of main canals with locks to preserve sufficient water for the purpose of irrigation in dry spells. When the work is completed, which will be inside of three years, the State will have provided over 275 miles of canals with the lateral canals approaching the properties of the various owners, all of which will not only result in giving the necessary drainage and irrigation but will also furnish water transportation to the Gulf and to the inland water route from Key West to Jacksonville (a distance of about 500 miles), as well as deep-sea connections at the various ports along this route. By this State Conservation we are giving to the people one of the richest bodies of fertile lands in the United States, a territory greater than the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined, every inch of which will grow either sugar-cane or truck of all kinds through winter and summer. These lands will produce at least three crops a year, and to the industrious citizen who desires to live in a country that will give renewed youth and a climate unexcelled and a living independent of the world, I know of none that can be found better located to give the results than this vast empire known as the Everglades, so promptly conserved by our State Government and our people. We are also interested in another line of Conservation, and that is the preservation of our pine forests and the prohibiting of the destruction of our sapling trees which have been attacked by those who are greedy for wealth and have no regard for the future. Much will be accomplished in this direction, as our people are absolutely opposed to the complete destruction of the forests, as it will provide no future for our timber markets; and destruction of our pine forests would undoubtedly affect our climate, which by all means should be conserved as well as the timber for the building of our homes of the future. It may be as well for me to call your special attention to the fact that, in addition to this great work of Conservation I have related in reference to the saving of public land and our efforts in the direction of saving the forests, our State has for several years aided in a public way in the building of the great inland waterway along the Atlantic coast within the State of Florida. These canals have been made during the past 15 years, until now we have a thorough water route from Saint John's River southward connecting streams and inlets until there has been dug over 300 miles of canal, giving this great waterway and enabling the people along the eastern coast sections a cheap means of transportation to the railway center of the State at Jacksonville. I think that we have done our part toward Conservation, and all under the jurisdiction and authority of our State. There has been no effort at graft, but al. have worked in harmony in the interests of the public welfare, thus demonstrating (so far as Florida is concerned) that she is able to control her own affairs; and all she asks of the National Government is its aid and assistance.
REPORT FROM IDAHO
We believe that, in the interest of the United States and the State of Idaho, the agricultural land within the forest reserves of Idaho should be opened to settlement and made available for home building ; and that the decision as to whether land is good agricultural land or not should be referred to those who are primarily agriculturists, rather than to those who are primarily arboriculturists, and to those who are familiar with farming in Idaho rather than to those who are familiar only with farming in general. We believe that the protection of the forests of Idaho and the safety of life and property in Idaho require that good roads be built along the lines of streams leading into the heart of the forest reserves; and that the land along these roads, whether valuable for agriculture, timber, or mineral, should be open to entry, with such provisions in relation to habitation and improvement as will secure the presence between the months of June and September, of a local fire-fighting force, consisting of men who know the country, have a financial interest in the locality, and are skilled in the use of the axe and in methods of fighting a forest fire. We believe in the separate classification of coal lands, oil lands, phosphate and mineral lands; and we believe in the administration of those lands in such a way as to prevent waste, promote safety in mining, and defeat monopoly. We do not believe in a policy for revenue in relation to these lands. The revenues to be derived should be incidental, and belong of right to the State of Idaho. We believe in the cooperation of the State and the National Government in the conservation and utilization of the water-power within the State of Idaho. We will recommend that the Governor of Idaho call a convention or congress to consider questions relating to home Conservation in Idaho, and to recommend policies and legislation and a system of administration for all forms of public wealth that lie within the borders of the State.
REPORT FROM INDIANA
The Indiana Conservation Commission was appointed by former Governor Frank P. Hawley shortly before he left the gubernatorial chair. The Commission as appointed by Governor Thomas R. Marshall, his successor, consists of nine members with Mr Henry Riesenberg as chairman. The Commission, through its chairman, made an effort to get a bill through the Legislature, making an appropriation for the use of the Commission, but it failed to pass. Governor Marshall was repeatedly urged to set aside a small sum out of the contingent fund so that an investigation could be made and published, but this the Governor has repeatedly declined to do, and it is thought he is not very favorably disposed toward the cause of Conservation. Having no means the Commission could do absolutely nothing, and hence may be said to be in a state of “innocuous desuetude.”
Mr Riesenberg, the chairman, has, however, lectured on the subject throughout the State, visiting many points, giving his time freely and defraying the expenses out of his own pocket. He has also written innumerable articles for the papers of Indiana, and these, together with his lectures, have served to keep the subject alive; and Indianians are probably as well informed and as fully alive to the subject as people in any other State.
REPORT FROM IOWA A. C. MILLER Chairman Iowa State Drainage, Waterways and Conservation Commission
- I have been asked to prepare for your consideration and information a history of the Conservation movement in Iowa, reviewing briefly the work done by thc State Drainage Waterways and Conservation Commission. The sentiment toward the Conservation of our natural resources has been developing gradually for a number of years, keeping pace with the development that has been aroused throughout the country. So far as Iowa is concerned, it was augmented greatly through the efforts of the commercial bodies throughout the State, and especially of those of the city of Des Moines, when during the year 1907 they inaugurated a movement which had for its object the securing of an appropriation by Congress to be used in surveying three of our principal streams in order that we might determine whether or not they were subject to improvement for navigation, and for the further purpose of ascertaining the value of the water-power which might be developed if the rivers were improved for navigation. Great interest was manifested by our people, and we were finally successful in securing an appropriation by Congress for a survey of the larger of the three rivers, the. Des Moines; and the United States Government has at this time a corps of some 30 engineers at work. They expect to finish their work early in 1911. The Thirty-third General Assembly of Iowa convened in December, 1908, and remained in session until the following spring. The sentiment had been aroused to such an extent at this time that there seemed to be a general demand for the creation of some kind of a Commission to take these matters up and work them out intelligently for the good of our people and report with recommendations to the next General Assembly. It seemed hard, however, for all to unite on a general plan. Portions of our State demanded a Commission for dealing with the question of drainage only, leaving it to other Commissions to handle the question of water transportations, forestry, and water-power. A compromise was finally made, and this Commission was created. It is composed of seven members appointed by the Governor : A.C. Miller, Chairman, L. W. Anderson, E. A. Burgess, A. F. Frudden, I. W. Keerl, Thomas H. McBride, and W. H. Stevenson.
First—To investigate the present condition of public drainage in Iowa and the benefits which can be derived from the best drainage engineering practice. the most economical administration of drainage projects, and a more economical best method of procedure to bring about the development of the water-power of those benefits may be secured. Second—To investigate the present condition of all overflow of flood-plain lands of Iowa, showing losses due to floods in the destruction of farm crops, the losses due to the destruction of property in the cities and towns and built-up districts, the losses due to the withdrawal from crop cultivation of such flooded lands, and recommending the proper methods of preventing such flood conditions. Third—To investigate and survey at least one representative Iowa river to ascertain the available dam sites and the potential water-power and report the best method of procedure to bring about the development of the water-powers of the State, at the same time retaining the ultimate control of the water supply as a property of the State. Fourth—To cooperate with the United States survey provided by act of Congress and investigate the possibilities of navigation upon the rivers or upon adjoin