Items of interest

The Ferris bill, providing for the development of water-power and the use of public lands, has been passed by the House of Representatives and is before the committee on public lands of the Senate. In the bill the secretary of the interior is empowered to lease to citizens of the United States, or to associations or corporations, or to any state or county or irrigation district, public lands, including lands in public forests and other reservations, for the purpose of developing and utilizing hydro-electric power. It is stipulated that in the granting of leases the secretary of the interior may give preference to applications for leases for the development of electrical power for public purposes.

The bill provides that there shall be a dilligent and reasonable development and continuous operation of the water-power, and hot more than 50 per cent of the total output shall be sold to any one consumer without the written consent of the secretary of the interior. It is expressly provided that combinations of plants used to limit output or to fix, maintain, or increase prices are forbidden. The sale or delivery of power to a distributing company without permission is forbidden. This bill is favored by the conservation forces. They oppose the Shields bill, which it is claimed was drawn for the benefit of the water-power interests.

Worldly Philosophy
February 12, 1916

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