Secretary of the Interior Fisher submitted to the House committee on public lands last week a proposal to lease government coal lands to cities which will operate coal mines under regulations making it possible for consumers to enjoy the use of fuel at reasonable prices. The cities of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Montana, and other states west of the Missouri river, would be most vitally benefited by the measure. The secretary believes that any such patent should be safeguarded by the provision that the title of the land patented shall revert to the government if any city or town to which coal land shall be patented shall at any time fail to perform any of the conditions of the patent. Secretary Fisher maintains that the aim of the federal conservation policy with respect to government owned coal lands is to insure for the public an abundant supply at prices which will yield a fair return and no more upon the capital invested in mining and handling the coal. This is impossible when a fee simple patent is granted to private persons or corporations for the commercial exploitation of the coal deposits.

The American Geographical Society has perfected plans for a transcontinental tour of a quota of its members and of European geographers. The tour will be in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the society's founding, and of the completion of its new building at Broadway and 156th street, New York city. Fifty representatives of geographical societies of Europe have enrolled as delegates to take part in the tour, which starts on Aug. 22. The party will cover approximately ten thousand miles, and will be gone from New York two months. A complete itinerary of the route calls for visits in order to Chicago, St. Paul, Yellowstone national park, Seattle, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, Grand canyon, Phoenix, St. Louis, Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Washington.

The secretary of the Massachusetts Homestead Commission says: "It is starting to know that within the limits of the city of Boston there, are seven thousand three hundred and sixty-eight acres of land classified as vacant. Allowing to each family five thousand feet, over fifty thousand families could be accommodated within the boundaries of Boston with a separate dwelling and land enough for each family to produce most of the vegetables, poultry, eggs, and much of the fruit which it could consume. Such use of the vacant areas would enormously reduce the cost of living and also the population of the slums. It would give work to thousands and opportunity for open-air play and pleasurable and profitable employment to tens of thousands of children who now are defrauded of a fair star in life. It would promote the general health, intelligence, happiness, and morality."

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August 24, 1912

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