Items of Interest

Joint international action by the United States and Canada for the preservation of the scenic beauties of Niagara Falls, says the Scientific American, is an assured fact. A proposition is before Congress for diplomatic action with Great Britain which, in the event of favorable action, will give the Secretary of War authority to grant revocable permits for diversion of water from Niagara River "only to individuals, companies, or corporations which are now actually producing power from said water, and to them only the amount now actually in use by such individuals, companies, or corporations." On the other hand, the Canadian Minister of Public Works has announced at the Canadian capital a federal policy to preserve Niagara Falls. Under this policy the right to export electric energy into the United States will be granted under the understanding that it can be revoked at short notice, and that there shall be no claim against the Government arising out of such revocation, and, moreover, that the companies shall be subject to such regulations as the Government may impose.

For a week or more the Committee on Rivers and Harbors has conducted hearings on the bill for the preservation of Niagara Falls, both sides of the question having been thoroughly presented. The representatives of the power companies do not openly oppose the project of preserving the beauty of the Falls, but merely contend for what they claim as their rights. The opinion prevails in the Committee that only a certain amount of water should be taken. Until this limit is reached competition would be possible. The question is how to frame a bill that will prevent ultimate consolidation of the companies and the exaction through monopoly of unwarranted prices for power furnished.

The Doubter
May 5, 1906

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