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As to the proposal involved in Mr. Engle's bill, I certainly will study that proposal. On the other hand, I must say the record is very clear as to the stockpiling position of chromium. We have more of it stockpiled now, according to information released by the Office of Defense Mobilization, than the priority level, and that goes for all grades and types of chromium.
I must say that I am concerned about perpetuating a system which precludes the very necessary ingredients that we discussed à moment ago with your colleague, and that is that, in order to survive over a long period of time, the chrome industry absolutely must set up and maintain some commercial relationships, you see.
What we are trying to do is to help them do that, make it easy for them to do that, so they get on a proper basis.
Mr. ULLMAN. I know that the Secretary is sincere in his effort, but the chrome miners in my area feel that under the present program it will be impossible because of the physical circumstances the fact you do have small mines, the contracts are far extended, the tremendous investment overseas in the chromium mines, and the fact that the consumers are so limited in this country.
Secretary SEATON. It is not a large industry, as the Congressman knows.
Mr. ULLMAN. Yes. They feel that the program offered has no chance whatsoever to establish this relationship.
Secretary SEATON. May I say this: I will repeat my pledge to you, Mr. Ullman. If we turn out to be wrong, and Î do not think we will, and I devoutly hope we will not—if we turn out to be wrong, we shall quite cheerfully and expeditiously come before this committee with some other type of proposal for chrome because we do not propose to see the chrome industry die on the vine.
Mr. ULLMAN. I am certainly happy to receive that expression.
There is just one other point I would like to bring out. You mentioned the stockpile program. This proposal does not increase the stockpile in any way, and in this bill there is a new approach. I recog. nize you have not had a chance to look at it, Mr. Secretary, but I know you will, and that is in title III, the stabilization stockpile concept.
We have had a defense stockpile concept. It seems to me it is a breakthrough in thinking that we might have a stabilization stockpile and in this instance it would be a stockpile of chromite and not chrome ores-whereby when there was a shortage in the market this stockpile could be sold at near-market prices into the market to maintain stabilization in the supplies of industry.
It seems to me it offers a great possibility, a new breakthrough altogether. In this particular bill the only mineral that is affected is chrome. Chrome is placed under title III. But it has a point in the other minerals also, because we do have a fluctuation in price, we do have a situation of shortage of supply, and then too much supply, and this actually would act as a stabilizing factor.
Would you care to comment on that concept?
Secretary SEATON. Mr. Ullman, the only comment I would have is that, of course, we would give that serious study. That launches into a broad field of economics, and I am sure there will be well-defined opinions on both sides of that proposal, not only in the Congress and the executive branch, but in the industry as well. It will not be confined to the chromite industry, either, sir.
Mr. ULLMAN. That is true, although this bill only affects that.
Secretary SEATON. I was speaking to your thought it might be expanded in other fields.
But certainly, sir, any bill introduced by the Congress deserves our consideration and attention, and in the case of the distinguished chairman of the full committee I think it is obvious it would.
Mr. ULLMAN. One more question.
Is your chromium proposal incorporated in any of these bills before us?
Secretary SEATON. I believe it is, sir. I cannot give you the reference number.
I am told that the reference is in the statement which I read here this morning. It is H. R. 13270, Mr. Ullman.
Mr. ULLMAN. H. R. 13270 ? Secretary SEATON. Yes. Mr. ULLMAN. We do not have that before us. I appreciate very much your patience, Mr. Secretary. The hour is late.
I want to also thank the chairman for his courtesy and consideration in conducting these hearings in such a fair and impartial manner, giving us all our day in court. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Secretary, I have several questions, but realizing the pressing time element involved, I want to sum it up, if I can, in one and ask you to give me a brief comment on it. I do not know whether you can be brief about it or not. I just want to get it into the record.
On the first page of your statement, in the third paragraph, you say:
Minerals and mineral fuels have become more vital elements than ever before in the security and economic welfare of the Nation. I wish to emphasize this point because in the opinion of the Department of the Interior the longrange problems of the Nation with reference to minerals are likely to be the problems of shortages and rising prices despite current surpluses, weak markets, and distress in some areas.
I concur, certainly, in that thinking, and my observation is this:
Realizing that especially in the solid minerals we do not have the storage problems that we have in agricultural situations, would it not be a good idea to expand the stockpile program to get over into the economic phase of this problem as well as the security phase of it?
Secretary SEATON. Mr. Chairman, as a general rule I would think not. In the first place, nature provides the most excellent and the least costly stockpile of all, by containing it.
The other thing is that it has been rather a remarkable economic fact that the establishment and the maintenance of the strategic and critical stockpiles of the already existent supplementary stockpiles, brought about by various actions of the Congress and the Executive jointly, and the agricultural barter program, have not created a weight of overhang on the market to a point where there is a discernible and consequent depressant of prices.
Now, if we were to—I am speaking now in general terms, Mr. Chairman, as you know if we were to establish further supplemental stockpiles of these minerals and follow the pattern which Mr. Ullman quite properly suggested of moving those minerals into the economic stream at certain times, I think then that the very least we could do would be to make a very careful and detailed study, and not only by the Department but by the Congress, because we then would be embarking in a very intricate and technical complex field of economics.
Mr. ROGERS. I realize tha there are very many facets to that problem, and I hope that the demand anticipated apparently by the Secretary for these minerals will increase.
I do hope that we are able to look far enough into the future to meet those requirements.
There are many other questions I would like to ask on that particular subject, but in the interest of time I will defer them at the present time and say to you, Mr. Secretary, and those who surround you as your staff, we are deeply appreciative of the fine presentation you have made on this very difficult problem, and we hope we can generate some speed now to try to get to the wire before adjournment.
Thank you very much for coming before us.
Mr. ROGERS. There is one other observation the Chair wants to make.
There is a Mr. Monroe Karasik here who wanted to testify or to submit a statement. Is he present?
Mr. KARASIK. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Without objection, you may file your statement immediately following the statements of Members of Congress. (See p. 30.)
Mr. KARASIK. Thank you, sir.
If there is no further business to come before the committee at this time, it will stand adjourned until the next regular meeting or the order of the Chair.
(Whereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.)
DOMESTIC MINERALS ACT OF 1958
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 1958
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON MINES AND MINING
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:05 a. m. in the committee room, New House Office Building, Hon. Walter Rogers, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Mr. ROGERS. The Subcommittee on Mines and Mining will come to order for the further consideration of H. R. 13280 and similar bills, including S. 4036 and several other bills by House Members.
The Chair will recognize the chairman of the full committee, the gentleman from California, Mr. Engle, for a brief statement.
Mr. ENGLE. Mr. Chairman, I have asked to make a brief preliminary statement because I will not be here tomorrow. I understand some witnesses are going to be called this morning who will take up the time this morning.
The first thing I would like to suggest is that, in view of this audience out_here, the best way not to get a mining bill is to talk it to death. I say that advisedly, because we have only a short time here, both in subcommittee and in the full committee. "If we do not move pretty fast, we are not going to have a mining bill.
So I urge the friends of western mining, most of whom I presume are here supporting this legislation in one way or the other, to bear that in mind with reference to their testimony, because we can go on listening to people around here for the next 2 weeks, and then there will not be any mining bill.
There are two things I want to suggest with reference to the omnibus bill which I have introduced.
I want to suggest, No. 1, that titles II and III, which refer to chromite and a stabilization stockpile, be taken out of the bill and that the incentive-price chrome program proposed by the administration be added to the measure. That takes out the two items that have not in some previous form been recommended by the Department.
I make that suggestion with reference to this legislation because I think that it will aid in getting this bill through. It will not give us all we want; but if the incentive-price chrome program is added to the bill, the chrome miners might find a way to stay in business.
This other item with reference to chrome is so novel and so complicated that I think it would get us into real difficulty, and, of course, the Secretary has raised those points in a communication which is before us at this time.
Now, the second point, Mr. Chairman, I want to suggest is that this bill be amended with reference to the borrowing authority so that it is perfectly plain that that matter is subject to the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee. The members of the Appropriations Committee have already told me they are going to make a point of order against that provision in the bill. I do not know whether that kind of a point of order would be sustained or not. There have been precedents, I think, for borrowing authority in legislation which were not ruled to be an appropriation on a legislative bill.
But whether it is or is not becomes immaterial if we get into a headlong collision with the Appropriations Committee on the floor of the House, and I have already suggested that appropriate language be drafted to make the fiscal aspects of this legislation subject to the appropriate action by the Appropriations Committee.
Those are the two things I suggest. One of them is with reference, Mr. Chairman, to the content of the bill as to chrome and as to the stabilizing stockpile, and the second is with reference to the fiscal features of the bill.
Last, and again I say, let's not talk this legislation to death.
you very much. Mr. Rogers. The matters with reference to the striking out of the sections, of course, will be in order when the bill is marked up. However, the statement of the chairman is welcome as to what his thinking is on the bill he introduced as an omnibus minerals bill.
In the interest of time and we have very little of it-I want to move along as fast as possible. I had originally scheduled all Members of Congress first for statements this morning. At this point I want to say that Congressman Edmondson, of Oklahoma, who is a member of this subcommittee but who has some very pressing business in Oklahoma at the present time, called me this morning and expressed his interest in this legislation and asked that he be granted leave to extend his remarks in the record at this point.
Without objection, he will be granted leave to extend his remarks in the record in connection with the other statements of other Congressmen. But, in the interest of expediting this situation, it is the opinion of the Chair that Assistant Secretary Royce Hardy, of the Department, should be allowed to speak first in the matter of supplementing actually the testimony of the Honorable Fred Seaton who appeared here a few days ago. Without objection, we will proceed in that order.
I would advise all witnesses that the more concise your statements are the quicker we will get to the point where we can mark up this legislation and move it along.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Hardy. STATEMENT OF ROYCE A. HARDY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE
INTERIOR FOR MINERAL RESOURCES; ACCOMPANIED BY JOSEPH C. MCCASKILL, ASSISTANT TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY Mr. HARDY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure again to appear before this committee. Several bills of importance to the programs of the Department are now before this committee.