President Taft has approved a plan for the leasing by the Government of water-power sites on public lands. The principal points of this plan are that legislative authority be sought for issuing term leases for periods not to exceed fifty years; that these leases should contain stipulations to protect the public against the limitation of output of power through delayed or partial development; a yearly rental charge to be based on the amount of power available. There is provision that violation of the contract condition or persistency in charging consumers a rate declared excessive by a state supreme court shall be ground for the cancellation of the lease. The necessity for the framing of such a policy arose from the fact that power sites in the West are largely on public lands which at present can neither be taken up by power companies nor occupied except under a revocable permit.

The amount we have expended in preparation for war during the last ten years, including the current fiscal year, says the Journal of Commerce, is almost within four hundred million dollars as much as was the bonded debt of the United States on the 15th of August, 1865, at the close of the Civil War. It is four times the aggregate loss to the people of the United States and Canada on account of all the great fires between 1820 and 1905, or during a period of eighty-five years. Further, the amount we have expended during the last ten years in preparation for war alone would build more than five Panama Canals, and equals four times the amount expended on account of the Spanish-American War. The sum total reaches the imposing figure of $2,192,036,580, of which $1,105,586,807 is accounted for by navel appropriations and $978,254,973 for the support of the army.

February 18, 1911

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