"The lower the rate charged to consumers by electric power companies, the lower will be the tax which such power companies must pay the government." Secretary Lane of the interior department announces this as "the heart of the policy adopted as to the disposition of water rights of the government," and names these conditions as standards in making governmental contracts: The greater the development of horse-power, the lower the charge per horse-power to be made on the part of government; the lower the rate to consumers, the lower the charge on the part of the government; no charge whatever for a period of five or ten years, during which the power company is finding its market; acceptance as a public utility of the state's jurisdiction over intrastate rates and service and federal jurisdiction over interstate rates and service; absolute prohibition of combination or monopoly, and the right of revocation on the part of the government in the event that it is established to the satisfaction of the secretary of the interior, or the courts, that such combination has been made, or that prices have been fixed by agreement with competing plants.

An elaborate plan of hydraulic "monitors" has been installed near Gold Hill, overhanging the famous Culebra cut in the Panama canal. A great supply of water has been obtained by damming up Obispo river, and the engineers will seek to sluice away the sides of the hill, so that the water-borne earth will be carried away from the cut and into the valley in the rear. It is hoped in this way to relieve the tremendous pressure which forces up into the bed of the canal the underlying strata, as well as to prevent the sliding of the earth at the sides of the cut in seeking an angle of repose.

The validity of two-cent passenger laws and maximum freight rates in Missouri, West Virginia, and Arkansas, were upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States last week, in another series of decisions in the noted state rate cases. No decision was announced in the Kentucky case, but in the Missouri case the great majority of rates contested by the railroads as confiscatory were held valid. State freight rates established in Oregon were also approved. All claims that the state laws attacked interfered with interstate commerce, were swept aside, following the precedent set in the Minnesota rate decision a week earlier.

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June 28, 1913

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