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Michigan (Mr. Dondero) there is enough gas going to waste in the Panhandle of Texas now to generate electricity to supply five States the size of Texas, absolutely going into thin air, and if this program is put into effect we can use that gas that is now going to waste, use it to generate power to supply the people in that area.
The CHAIRMAN. I will state that in my district there are more than 250 gas wells burning now all the time. Why that is I do not know. I am not able to understand it.
Mr. Rankin. Now you can understand why our distinguished Chairman is so deeply interested in this proposition. He realizes the burden. Here it is:
According to the T. V. A. rates the people of the State of Texas last year were overcharged $31.726,000. According to the Tacoma rates they were overcharged $32,451,000. According to the Ontario rates they were overcharged $37,845,000. With the greatest gas field in the world—not only one, not just one gas field in Texas, but numbers of the richest gas fields in the world, with enough gas going to waste to generate power to almost supply all the people of the United States.
That will answer you as to Texas. You asked about North Dakota. Mr. DONDERO. I was speaking of all of the Prairie States.
Mr. RANKIN. Of course, you understand this map does not show all the rivers (indicating). For instance, the Platte River is in here (indicating). Fort Peck is in that area. There is a lot of water power on these streams here running through Nebraska.
The CHAIRMAN. The Red River of the North is a large river up there.
Mr. RANKIN. The Red River of the North runs north into Manitoba, I believe, and I am not sure if Winnipeg does not develop her power on the Red River of the North that flows from the United States.
Again let me call attention to another thing that the gentleman from Michigan
Mr. SEGER (interposing). Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask this question
Mr. RANKIN (interposing). Let me finish this one statement on North Dakota. I am told by the representatives from North Dakota that they have untold millions of tons of low-grade coal in that area, almost on top of the ground, that could be used for the generation of power to supply that entire area-and, by the way, Fort Peck, the power project that they høve there, together with the influence of the T. V. A., has brought those rates down to some extent, but of course not sufficiently to enable those people to use power as they should.
Mr. SEGER. Is there anything in this bill which would permit the administrator to generate power with this waste gas in Texas, and the coal that you speak of as going to waste?
Mr. RANKIN. I think so. Both bills refer to mineral resources. The CHAIRMAN. Both the bills are confined to hydroelectric power.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, it provides for an investigation of these other resources, but if the bill does not provide for that, it could be amended, either now or later, to take in those phases.
Mr. Short. These other resources of gas and coal, however, are privately owned, are they not?
Mr. RANKIN. Not all of them.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, I am not sure about that. Even if they are privately owned, if you had the proper control you could force the
reduction of rates, or if necessary you could take it by eminent domain and say what it is worth and use it for that purpose.
Mr. SHORT. Now, I think that is a debatable question.
Mr. MOSIER. You mean to say that the men who have been in the power service business all their lives and made exhaustive studies of the subject have overlooked this coal situation?
Mr. RANKIN. Oh, no; they have been devoting most of their time to squeezing the neck of the bottle and forcing up rates and wringing from the present consumers of electricity all the traffic would bear. They have not overlooked anything.
Mr. MOSIER. But they have overlooked the coal situation?
Mr. RANKIN. They have got you just where they want you, if they can prevent legislation of this kind.
Mr. MOSIER. But they have overlooked the coal right on top of the ground?
Mr. Rankin. No; they are using coal in a great many places. They are using coal and they are using oil, they are using gas in a great many places. I have told you they are burning coal in the District of Columbia.
Now, let us turn to the question of transmission, if the gentleman will pardon me for a moment. They will come back and say, “Oh, well, that is true; but you must remember you have to transmit it." Now, let us see what it costs, according to this report, to transmit this power that short distance, 100 miles. They make a difference of about one-third of a mill a kilowatt-hour. Tupelo is 100 miles from the Muscle Shoals dam, and instead of paying what they say we should pay, 2.77 mills, I believe, last month Tupelo paid 5 mills per kilowatt-hour. That is her municipal light department did. Tupelo floated her own bonds and built the system. They have their own distribution system, and yet they are serving power to the people of that country, of that city, at the rates I have mentioned. They brought down industrial rates, and especially commercial rates, to where last year—now remember this, if the people in the city of Tupelo, a town of less than 8,000 people, had paid the same rate last year that they paid in 1933, or that were paid in that area in 1933, they would have paid $349,000 more.
Mr. CARTER. That is all directly attributable to the T. V. A., is it not?
Mr. RANKIN. Absolutely.
Mr. CARTER. I think you are correct on that, but I thought a while ago you were taking in a little too much territory.
Mr. RANKIN. Well, Mr. Carter, suppose we could have brought these rates down all over the country, we would have saved $1,500,000,000.
Mr. GREEN. In 1 year?
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, in 1 year. Tupelo sells that power at a maximum of 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, and if any of these gentlemen want to know the rates in your town, I have them here and I can tell you in a minute.
Mr. McSWEENEY. Is the Tacoma-operated plant coal driven or water driven?
Mr. Rankin. It is water power, but they have a stand-by plant to be used in case of emergency.
Mr. McSWEENEY. If what you say with regard to production by the coal method or by the water power method is correct, that the expense is about equal, then if water power is put into general operation you are confiscating by unfair competition the other business, are you not?
Mr. Rankin. Certainly not. Over a long period of years I think water power has the advantage, but I will tell you what you can do, Mr. McSweeney, you can generate power by coal in the State of Ohio and lay it down in every home in Ohio at the rates we are paying in the homes in Tupelo, and pay out your investment in a reasonable length of time. You can generate power in Pennsylvania and distribute it all over that State at the same rate, generate it with their own coal and lay it down at the same rate that we are distributing it throughout the T. V. A. area.
Mr. SHORT. Does not the gentleman feel, however, that the people of Pennsylvania and Ohio and even down in Galena, Mo., are contributing to the cheap production for the people in the Tennessee Valley?
Mr. RANKIN. Of course, that is exactly the reason I am trying to save you from yourselves. I am trying to help you to get the benefit of your own money. This is not a selfish proposition.
Mr. Short. How are you going to help the people in Galena, Mo.?
Mr. Rankin. I am going to help the people of Missouri in bringing these rates down and wipe out $32,000,000 overcharges you are paying each year. If I were selfish about this; if this were merely a matter of political patronage, political spoils, I would quit and go home. My town is getting T. V. A. power now. We are getting the benefits of a T. V. A. contract for 20 years. Six of the counties in my end of the district are supplied with T. V. A. power. The farmers in the remote rural sections pay a maximum of 4 cents a kilowatt hour. I am sitting pretty. But this is a national policy with me, and it means more, in my opinion, to the children that are to come than any other measure that has been presented to Congress since I have been a member of the House, and probably within the last 50 or 100 years.
(Following a discussion in regard to postponing these hearings until January, the committee proceeded as follows:)
The CHAIRMAN. We will have to adjourn now, and we will meet at 10 o'clock tomorrow and let Mr. Rankin finish at that time.
Mr. RANKIN. That will be all right, Mr. Chairman.
(Whereupon, at 12:15 p. m., the committee adjourned until 10 a. m., Friday, July 16, 1937.)
REGIONAL CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE
TUESDAY, JULY 20, 1937
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., Hon. Joseph J. Mansfield (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. We will continue this morning the hearings on H. R. 7863 and H. R. 7365.
Mr. Rankin, are you ready to proceed?
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN E. RANKIN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI-Continued
Mr. RANKIN. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, wbile, as I said, we are considering one of the greatest issues of modern times, in regard to securing the benefits of our natural resources to the masses of the American people, I think it is not amiss to call attention at this time to the fact that on last night there passed away in the city of Rome, Italy, one of the greatest scientists of this age, whose name will go down along with that of Edison as one of the greatest benefactors of mankind. I refer to Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless telegraphy, from which we derive our present radio system.
I sometimes wonder if we do not go too far in paying homage to the men of this world whose lives have been largely dedicated to political or military affairs, and neglect those great men who stand out like mountain peaks above the underlying mass of humanity, and who render such inestimable benefits to the human race.
I hope that Congress will take appropriate notice of the passing of this great man. His name will live as long as our civilization shall last.
Now, Mr. Chairman, when we closed the hearings on last Thursday, I believe it was, the gentleman from California, Mr. Colden, had asked me to explain briefly the main differences between the Rankin bill, H. R. 7863, and the Mansfield bill, H. R. 7365, which are now before this committee for consideration. I am prepared to do that at this time. I will take up this proposition first, and then I want to answer other questions.
The essential differences between the so-called Rankin bill, H. R. 7863, and the Mansfield bill, H. R. 7365, are these:
First, under the Rankin bill the Authorities are given full power to undertake the projects within the policy laid down by the bill and carry them through. In other words, they need no supplemental