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Page. Tonawanda (N. Y.) common council, resolution--
452 Treasury Department, reports on bills
33, 35 Union Barge Line Corporation, letter.
448 Vessels, tonnage tax collections from.
385 Warner, William B, Tetter---
436 Water power: Summary of undeveloped.
95 Major Federal projects.
100 (See also Hydroelectric plants.) Water problems and plans--
399 Weed, Joseph D., letter--
447 Welsh, A. C., telegram.
448 Whittington, Hon. William M., M. C. : Amendments proposed by
425 Statement of...
263 Wilson, Hon. M. L., Acting Secretary of Agriculture, report on S. 2555 from
29 Wing, Frederick K.
BILLS TO PROVIDE FOR THE REGIONAL CONSERVATION
AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 1937
COMMITTEE ON RIVERS AND HARBORS
· JOSEPH J. MANSFIELD, Texas, Chairman JOSEPH A. GAVAGAN, New York
GEORGE N. SEGER, New Jersey RENÉ L. DEROUEN, Louisiana
ALBERT E. CARTER, California LEX GREEN, Florida
FRANCIS D. CULKIN, New York CLAUDE V. PARSONS, Ilinois
GEORGE A. DONDERO, Michigan WILLIAM M. COLMER, Mississippi
DEWEY SHORT, Missouri CHARLES J. COLDEN, California
GEORGE J. BATES, Massachusetts ALFRED F. BEITER, New York MARTIN F. SMITH, Washington
ANTHONY J. DIMOND, Alaska WILLIAM T. SCHULTE, Indiana
SAMUEL W. KING, Hawaii
JOSEPH H. MCGANN, Clerk
,3 A5 19373
REGIONAL CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 1937
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10:30 a. m., Hon. Joseph J. Mansfield (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Chase, we will be glad to hear you at this time. Will you give your name and state your occupation or profession?
STATEMENT OF STUART CHASE, CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANT
AND ECONOMIST, NEW YORK, N. Y.
Mr. CHASE. Mr. Chairman, my name is Stuart Chase. I am a certified public accountant and an economist, although I hesitate to use that term, and an author.
I have been interested in the question of regional planning for a good many years. I remember that back in the early twenties we organized a little group in New York called the Regional Planning Association of America, who used to gather together to discuss ways and means of making our machine civilization function a little more orderly. Such men as Robert D. Kohn, a distinguished architect, Benton Mackay, late of the Forest Service; Clarence Stein and Fred Ackerman, architects who designed the town of Radbourne in New Jersey, which was built for the automobile age; Alexander Bing, one of the big real-estate men in New York, and Sir Patrick Geddes, from England, would join us sometimes. We discussed these matters from time to time theoretically and practically in the sense that we would help work out some of the actual developments that were made in and about New York.
Then, particularly in the past several years, I have been deeply interested in the natural resources of America, in the whole matter of the conservation of the natural resources. I have written a book called Rich Land, Poor Land, which was devoted to that study, and a number of magazine articles based on considerable research and extensive traveling and first-hand observation.
I have traveled back and forth across the country looking into the gullies of land and men; I have gone into the “dust bowl,” looked over the T. V. A., followed the work of the Soil Conservation Service, and tried as well as one man may, to acquaint myself with the physical situation with respect to our assets of minerals and soil and water,
Prior to the coming of the white man, the North American Continent had achieved a status of maximum vitality. Nature was in balance.
Three hundred years later we find the continent all but unrecognizable. The forest cover had been stripped and burned, the natural grass cover torn to ribbons by the plow and excessive grazing. The buffaloes are gone.
In uncounted streams fish lie poisoned by the sewage of cities and the refuse of mine and factory. The top soil throughout the continent has lost at least half of its original fertility. Muddy rivers carry 3,000,000,000 tons of it annually to the sea. It would take a train of freight cars 475,000 miles long, a train that could girdle the Equator 19 times, to carry away this stupendous amount of soil.
The "dust bowl” belches its clouds of silt. West of the Mississippi the water level of artesian basins drops steadily. Swamps and marshes have been drained sometimes needlessly. Natural reservoirs have been eliminated and angry floods rage down river valleys at one season to fall to a wretched trickle in another. The stripping of the natural cover has raised the flood crests and made droughts and dry periods more severe.
In the Central Valley of California farmers are approaching a des. perate situation where the underground water table is dropping, and where the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River come together, the salt water is coming in and poisoning the whole agricultural area, because this region has been drained.
I have no quarrel with the exploitation of natural resources. They are there for man to use. Trouble arises only when the natural balance is so upset that people begin to lose their resource base and have no medium of exchange-nothing left to exchange for other commodities.
Nature has recently given ominous warnings that we have exceeded a reasonable rate of exploitation. These warnings have taken the form of great super floods, terrible droughts, such as we had last year, in 1936, and in the drought of 1934; and the warning also comes in the form of dust storms and a declining water table.
To give you a concrete example, let us take, for instance, the city of Great Falls in Montana, which is almost wholly dependent on the refineries of the Anaconda Copper Co. The refineries depend on the electric power. The power depends on the flow of the Missouri River. The flow of the river depends on a terrain, which will release the water gradually.
That terrain, however, has been gashed and eroded from overgrazing, fire, lumbering, and overploughing.
Dust storms whirl around Great Falls. The river becomes increasingly unreliable as a power source. The refineries shut down; the town loses its main support, and the people of the town lose their purchasing power.
Observe how these resources are locked together-copper, power, stream flow, grass, forest, and soil. If one of them is thrown out of gear the whole equilibrium is threatened.
I think it is safe to say that one may dip his hand into the resources of any State in the Union, with the possible exception of Rhode