« PreviousContinue »
importance that we keep the railroad industry intact and ready to function effectively in an emergency such as prevailed in World Wars I and II. This can be done only by allowing the railroads to continue to handle the various commodities made available for shipment, which they are now fully equipped to handle promptly and efficiently. However, if Federal funds are appropriated for the construction of nonessential transportation systems, such as the Big Sandy Canal project, which can only survive through the transfer of approximately 8,000,000 tons of coal from the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Norfolk & Western Railroads, it will be only a question of time until these railroads will be forced to abandon a portion, if not all, of their line of road in the territory involved. The same condition will prevail in other sections of the country where water transportation projects are constructed at the expense of the taxpayers, which will in no way create new tonnage sufficient to support the operation, so we again ask the question, who will profit through the construction of the Big Sandy Canal project.
In order to eliminate the possibility of a waste of additional Federal funds on a water project that will in no way prove to be for the public's interest and will result in the forcing of several thousand railway employees out of employment, who are now happily situated in their homes and who are taxpayers, both State and Federal, we most earnestly urge and respectfully request this committee to disapprove the construction of the Big Sandy Canal project.
Mr. Johnson. That is all right. Then you will also find in there some questions and answers that were propounded during the hearings.
I want to say, if I may, Mr. Chairman, that we are not opposing this project merely from the standpoint of the effect it may have on the railroads, but we are also opposing it as taxpayers, and I think you can check the records, and you will fail to find where the railroad brotherhoods have actively opposed any project that denotes progress, but we are opposed to projects of this kind, which no one has been able to show will be self-supporting.
Senator WITHERS. What about these other projects. They are all in this omnibus bill. Do you oppose any of the others?
Mr. Johnson. We actively opposed the St. Lawrence seaway project and this one here.
Senator WITHERS. It is not in there.
Mr. Johnson. You did have something on the Tombigbee. We did oppose that. Every time it has come up, just like we have been opposing this project for the last 20 years to my own certain knowledge.
Senator WITHERS. Do you oppose the Monongahela development?
Mr. Johnson. I was not here at that time. That has been a good many years ago. We did actively oppose the Ohio-Lake Erie Canal project, and I spent 3 days in Pittsburgh in hearings over bere in opposition to that, and we also appeared before the Board of Army Engineers here in Washington on several occasions.
Senator WITHERS. What was the last one you opposed which you named?
Mr. Johnson. Ohio River-Lake Erie Canal project.
Mr. JOHNSON. Yes, sir. That is another one of these projects for the benefit of one or two big coal companies.
Senator WITHERS. Where does that canal go?
Mr. Johnson. It is the Ohio River connecting with the Lake Erie Cunal. I want to say one thing more, Mr. Chairman, if I may.
We talked about transportation facilities. I do not think you can find in the record anywhere anything that will indicate that the railroads in any part of the country have failed to provide adequate mail transportation from any industry to main-line connections, when it is shown that the construction of additional tracks can be justified through production of that particular industry. That is their business. That is what they want to do, and they have always done it, and they will do it in this particular territory down there, if and when the time comes they need more rail transportation.
Senator HOLLAND. Do you have any further witnesses?
Senator HOLLAND. I appreciate the cooperation we have had on both sides and wish we could decide in favor of both of you, and we will do the best we can. Additional statements on the project will be included in the record at this point.
CoAL TRADE AssociATION OF INDIANA,
Terre Haute, Ind., July 11, 1949.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATORS: We are advised that you have scheduled a hearing before your committee on July 15 on the proposed canalization of the Big Sandy River and Tug and. Levisa Forks, Ky., W. Va., and Va.
Due to other commitments it will not be possible for us to be present at the hearing to present the views of the coal-mining companies of Indiana which are members of the Coal Trade Association of Indiana, and we therefore like to file with your committee this letter expressing the opposition of the Indiana coal industry to this project.
When this subject was considered by the Public Works Committee of the House of Representatives we filed objections to it in a letter dated April 25, 1949, addressed to the Hon. W. M. Whittington, chairman of the committee. We would like to present to your committee the same objections presented to the House committee, as our position has not changed since that date.
The Coal Trade Association of Indiana is a voluntary organization composed of cool-mining companies which own and operate bituminous coal mines in the State of Indiana. The members of the association mine in excess of 90 percent of the bituminous coal produced at rail mines in the State of Indiana.
The Indiana coal industry would be adversely affected and irreparably injured if the proposed Big Sandy River and its Tug and Levisa Forks waterway is constructed." The Indiana coal operators are opposed to the project because of the economic harm that would result to the State of Indiana, which would be brought about because of the large tonnage which it is stated will originate on or adjacent to the proposed waterway and will move principally to Midwestern States, which States are now markets for coal produced and shipped by the Indiana coal operators.
The Indiana coal operators sell their coals principally in the States of Indians, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, and to these markets is shipped more than 90 percent of the commercial coal produced in Indiana. In the year 1948 there were approximately 60 bituminous coal mines operating in the State of Indiana which produced approximately 23,000,000 tons of coal, these mines all being located on railroads and shipping their coal via those railroads. The Indiana coal-mining industry employed approximately 10,000 persons in the year 1948 and all of these employees were necessary to mine the 23,000,000 tons produced.
The Indiana coal which would be displaced by coal moving via the proposed waterway from mines adjacent to the Big Sandy and its tributaries would result in a lower production of coal in Indiana and such decline in production would neces. sarily result in the employment of fewer men in the Indiana mines.
It is, therefore, obvious that any possible economic benefits that might result from this proposed waterway would be offset by the resultant hardships placed upon the Indiana coal industry and its employees. The project is economicalls unsound and the taxpayers of this country, and those taxpayers include the people
of Indiana, both employees and employers, should not be called upon to spend many millions of dollars on a project which is economically unsound. Respectfully yours,
HAROLD V. Scott, Traffic Manager.
St. Paul, Minn., July 11, 1949. Hon. DENNIS CHAVEZ,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.: Representing the commercial coal dock companies operating at Duluth, Minn., and Superior and Ashland, Wis., I opposed the canalization of the Big Sandy and Tug and Levisa Forks Rivers before the Committee on Public Works of the House. I understand that committee has excluded the Big Sandy River project from the omnibus rivers and harbors bill which I recommended. We are informed that the Senate Committee on Public Works will be asked to include this project in the rivers and harbors bill which you have under consideration. Our position has not changed. We are still opposed to this project. As a practical matter we can see no compensating advantage accruing to the public from this large expenditure of money.
J. A. MAHER, Manager, Maher Coal Bureau.
TERRE HAUTE, IND., July 11, 1949. Hon. DENNIS CHAVEZ,
Chairman, Senate Public Works Committee, Senate Office Building: The Indiana coal-mining companies, members of Coal Trade Association of Indiana which companies mine in excess of 90 percent of the total coal produced in the State of Indiana, wish to register opposition to the proposed canalization of the Big Sandy River in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia, which is scheduled for hearing before your committee on July 15 because the Indiana coal industry would be adversely affected and because of the economic harm that would result to the State of Indiana. Letter giving detailed reasons for opposition being forwarded air mail to you today. Would greatly appreciate our objection being made part of record at hearing July 15.
HAROLD V. Scott, Traffic Manager, Coal Trade Association of Indiana.
ILLINOIS Coal Traffic BUREAU,
Chicago, II., July 13, 1949. Re Proposed canalization of Big Sandy River and Tug and Levisa Forks, Ky.,
W. Va., and Va.
Senale Office Building, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR Chavez: On May 9, 1949, a public hearing was held before the Honse of Representatives Public Works Committee, at Washington, on the proposal to include the Big Sandy canalization project in the omnibus rivers and harbors bill then under consideration.
We appeared at such hearing and presented testimony and arguments in opposition to the project on behalf of the Illinois Coal Traffic Bureau; Central Illinois District Coal Traffic Bureau; Belleville Fuels, Inc.; Fifth and Ninth Districts Coal Traffic Bureau; Northern Illinois Coal Trade Association; and Middle States Furis, Inc., which are associations of companies who own and operate the bitumiDous coal mines in the State of Illinois.
We understand that in the light of the evidence received by the House Public Works Committee, it excluded the Big Sandy River project from the omnibus rivers and harbors bill. I now understand that the proponents of this project are endeavoring to have the Senate Committee on Public Works incorporate it in the rivers and harbors bill which that committee has under consideration and that a subcommittee of the Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on this matter in Washington, on July 15, 1949.
At prior hearings on this proposed project before the Board of Army Engineers, the Rivers and Harbors Committee of the House, and the House Committee on Public Works, we appeared and presented detailed statements in opposition to this project on behalf of the parties above named. The sole purpose of this proposed project as evidenced by the testimony of the proponents is to afford the shippers of bituminous coal from the Big Sandy and the Elkhorn districts of eastern Kentucky, a substantial advantage in their freight rates at public expense, on such coal moving via barge to various destinations on the Ohio, Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers and via barge-rail or barge-truck routes to interior points in the States of Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Missouri, the natural market. ing area for coal produced in Illinois as compared with the rates on similar coal shipments from other eastern mining districts and from the mines in Illinois, Indiana, and western Kentucky.
The proponents of this proposal have stated to the Rivers and Harbors Committee of the House, and the United States Board of Army Engineers in its report state that if this project is completed it will enable the shippers of coal from the Big Sandy Basin to move additional coal to the extent of between 8,300,000 tons to 15,000,000 tons annually to the middle western markets. None of this coal will be to new markets, and all of it will displace coal now being supplied to the present markets by the mines located in Illinois, Indiana, and western Kentucky.
The producers of bituminous coal in the Big Sandy Basin now have adequate transportation facilities and are adequately served by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Co. and the Norfolk & Western Railway Co., two of the largest and most efficient railroads in the country, and these prosperous eastern coal fields already have almost unlimited markets for all of their coal. This project is one of the most impracticable, uneconomical, unsound, and unfair projects in the long history of inland navigation. The principal opposition to the canalization of the Big Sandy River and its tributaries comes from the citizens of the Big Sandy Valley, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Big Sandy-Elkhorn Coal Operators' Association, who are thoroughly familiar with the conditions prevailing in that territory and the unnecessary and wanton waste of Government funds which would result from the construction of this project, the use of which will not reduce but increase the cost of transportation in the United States as a whole. If the canal accomplishes what its advocates say it will, then it will have a permanent and far-reaching injurious effect upon the coal producers in Illinois, with substantial loss of business to them, consequent unemployment of railroad and mine employees, a large loss of traffic and revenue to the railroads serving the adversely affected areas, which in turn, will undoubtedly necessitate increases in freight rates on the traffic which such railroads continue to transport.
Because of the press of other matters, it will be impossible for us to appear at the hearing before the subcommittee on July 15. However, in view of the foregoing facts and the adverse effect
which the canalization of the Big Sandy and its tributaries, the Tug and Levisa Forks would inevitably have upon the interests whom we represent, we urgently request that the evidence already presented be given your careful consideration and that you use your good offices in an endeavor to have this project omitted from the Rivers and Harbors bill which your committee now has under consideration. Yours truly,
EDGAR O. ANDERSON.
Coal Traffic Bureau, Belleville Fuels, Inc., Fifth and Ninth Districts
JACKSON, Ky, July 23, 1949. SENATE COMMITTEE ON Public WORKS,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I am taking this means of entering protest against the project to canalize the Big Sandy River in Kentucky. In my opinion this would be a detriment rather than a benefit to that section. It would destroy a good deal of fertile land, require the relocation and rebuilding of highways, interfere with the free flow of traffic, and cause many other inconveniences and damage.
I am not an engineer, but do not believe there is sufficient water in this river, especially at dry seasons of the year, to furnish water transportation. Some years ago there was much agitation to lock and dam many of the small rivers in the county, with the idea of furnishing cheaper transportation for coal and other heavy freight; and in most instances this was money wasted, and instead of these locks being a help, they have prevented the free use of these rivers for ordinary purposes and are a continuous expense. I believe this is what would happen to the Big Sandy.
But conceding this to be a feasible proposition, it appears that it would be subsidizing, at great expense to the Government, one particular coal field; and it is conceivable that other coal fields in this State, as well as elsewhere, might be greatly injured, if not destroyed, by reason of the cheaper rates furnished this particular locality at Government expense. Yours very truly,
Pikeville, Ky., August 19, 1949.
. United States Senate, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: For some time we have been serving the trading area in and around Pikeville, Ky., as an automotive parts jobber. Many of our former customers were independent coal operators who have lost their market for coal due to high freight rates. During the time that these independent coal operators were able to sell their coal they employed thousands of local workers who have been out of work for months.
The canalizing of the Big Sandy, Levisa and Tug Forks would put this coal field in a competitive position with other local fields served by canalized rivers. Yours truly,
Cox Auto Parts Co.,
ANDREW Dixon. (Whereupon, at 5:45 p. m., the hearing was adjourned.)