Yielding to the demands of conservationists that coal lands hereafter be leasted by the government to private concerns, instead of allotted or sold, the interior department has announced that the plan would be tried. As a result the assistant director of the bureau of mines has left for Lander, Wyo., where he will complete the details of leasing twenty-four hundred and eighty acres of government coal lands in Wyoming. The lease as approved by Secretary Fisher of the interior department gives the bureau of mines absolute control over the operation of the mine as to the methods of mining and the provisions for its safety. The lease proper is for ten years, the company to have preferential right of renewal for successive periods of five years each up to a total of thirty years on terms to be fixed by the secretary of the interior at or before the beginning of each five-year period. The company agrees to pay at the beginning of the lease and on July 1 of each succeeding year, twenty-four hundred and eighty dollars, or one dollar for each acre. It also agrees to pay on the production of all coal mined a royalty of six and a half cents a ton for the first five years and eight cents a ton for the next five years. The royalty thereafter is to be fixed by the secretary of the interior at the beginning of each period. The company must not assign the lease or any interest in the premises; it shall not permit traffic in intoxicating liquors on the property, and the secretary of the interior has the right to forfeit the lease for any violation.

The great American desert is vanishing and it no longer presents a formidable barrier to the growth and progress of the far West. Twelve million acres of this rainless country have been subdued by means of agriculture and irrigation and are producing bountiful and assured harvests every year. A quarter of a million families are residing on farms and as many more have found homes and occupations in the cities, towns, and villages which have sprung up in the midst of the agricultural areas. Great dams have been constructed to impound the floods and through seventy thousand miles of canals and ditches the water thus stored has been utilized in making the desert productive.

Four hundred wireless equipped American ships, nearly one hundred commerical wireless stations, many more stations connected with colleges, schools, and experimental laboratories, and several thousand amateur wireless stations are affected by regulations just promulgated by Acting Secretary Cable of the department of commerce and labor to enforce the radio-communication act beginning on Dec. 13. The act establishes a complete federal control system over radio communication and requires licensing of all wireless operators working across state lines or in communication with ships at sea.

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October 19, 1912

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