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ELECTRIC GENERATING SYSTEM, MOUNT RAINIER
JANUARY 15, 1932.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
state of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. BUTLER, from the Committee on the Public Lands, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 6657)
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 6657) to authorize the purchase of an electric generating transmission and distribution system in the Mount Rainier National Park, and for other purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon with the recommendation that it do pass without amendment.
The measure authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to purchase, on behalf of the United States in his administration of the National Park Service, at the appraised value to be agreed upon by him as fair and reasonable, an electric generating transmission and distribution system located at Longmire, Wash., within the Mount Rainier National Park, constructed and maintained therein by the Rainier National Park Co. in connection with its operation of public accommodations and facilities under contract with the United States, and the bill further authorizes an appropriation of not to exceed $85,000, of which amount not to exceed $5,000 shall be made available for improvement of said system, and provides that upon the acquisition of the same the United States shall maintain and operate it as a Government utility in the park.
The acquisition and operation of this utility in the park by the Government is in line with the long established policy of the Government, as the Government operates all the utilities in all of the national parks with one exception.
The plant in question is in need of some repairs and the purchase of the same by the Government will enable the concessionaires who own and operate it to improve and enlarge the facilities for caring for tourists at the said park with the money received from the sale. Furthermore, the operation of said plant will mean a saving from year to year to the Government.
The following letters from Hon. Ray Lyman Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior, and Hon. Horace M. Albright, Director of the National Park Service, are submitted as a part of this report:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, January 5, 1932. Hon. John M. EVANS, Chairman Public Lands Committee,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: In response to your request of December 31, for a ' report on H. R. 6657 entitled “A bill to authorize the purchase of an electric generating, transmission, and distribution system in the Mount Rainier National Park, and for other purposes," I transmit herewith a memorandum on the subject that has been submitted by the director of the National Park Service and in which full details regarding the purpose of this legislation are given.
The situation sought to be adjusted by this legislation is considered urgently necessary and I am advised by the director of the Bureau of the Budget that the expenditure contemplated by this legislation would not be in conflict with the financial program of the President.
I heartily concur in the memorandum report of the director of the National Park Service and urge that H. R. 6657 receive favorable consideration by Congress. Very truly yours,
RAY LYMAN WILBUR.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
Washington, January 2, 1932. Memorandum for the Secretary.
Reference is made to letter dated December 31, 1931, from the chairman Public Lands Committee, House of Representatives, inclosing copy of H. R. 6657, entitled “A bill to authorize the purchase of an electric generating, transmission, and distribution system in the Mount Rainier National Park, and for other purposes," with request for a report thereon.
This legislation would authorize the purchase for operation as a Government utility in the Mount Rainier National Park of an electric generating, transmission, and distribution system now maintained and owned by the Rainier National Park Co., which operates public accommodations and conveniences for visitors in the park under contract with the United States. Because of the increasing governmental operations in connection with the maintenance of public camping grounds, water systems, sewage collection and disposal, and the housing of its own personnel, it has become more and more the policy of the Government to own and operate the electric generation and transmission systems within the parks. These governmental operations have been uniformly successful and in every case electrical energy has been sold to the park operators at a substantial profit and the current used by the Government has been generated at a remarkably low cost. The needs of the Government for additional electricity in Mount Rainier National Park are also constantly increasing. In fact, the situation as to the quantity of electricity consumed is now the reverse of what it was when the company constructed its plant and original transmission lines in 1920, and the Government now requires the major quantity.
The Rainier National Park Co. was organized in 1915 for the exclusive purpose of providing accommodations for tourists visiting Mount Rainier National Park. Its organization was the result of an appeal by the Government to the civic pride of the citizens of the State of Washington to make possible the satisfactory operation and development of Mount Rainier National Park by furnishing satisfactory accommodations for visitors within the park. The stock is not an attractive proposition, as but few dividends have been paid. Due to a marked change in the type of accommodations demanded by the public, it has been necessary in the past two years to install considerable additional facilities for the accommodation of the public. To finance these improvements the credit of the company has been stretched to the utmost. Besides, in the past substantially all the profits of the company have been used in the acquirement of new assets. Now, for the past two seasons, due to the economic depression, although the attendance at the park has been constantly increasing, the gross revenue and net profits have been steadily decreasing, making it impossible for the company to meet its obligations on account of these new installations from the new profits resulting from operations.
The purchase by the Government of the power plant and distribution system as proposed to be authorized by this legislation would be desirable at this time for the following reasons: First, to provide uniformity in ownership, control and operation of the public utilities serving mainly the Government and the general public within the national parks, and second, to make it possible for the company to acquire and pay for facilities needed to meet the needs of visitors in the park by relieving it of this investment and thereby providing new capital.
I have to recommend that H. R. 6657 be given favorable consideration by the department and Congress.
HORACE M. ALBRIGHT, Director.
I am opposed to H. R. 6657, which has for its purpose the purchase of an electric plant for $85,000, plus improvements to be made upon the same.
This plant is not needed by the Government and does not furnish all the electric current needed and much is purchased from a near-by power company. This plant was erected 16 years ago at a cost of $150,000. Although it is appraised at $85,000, in my opinion it is not worth that money under present depressed conditions.
It isn't needed by the Government and the power is used for furnishing lights to concessions within the national park. The company that now owns this plant has a lease and operates concessions such as hotels, camp grounds, etc., within the national park.
The purchase of this plant means the Government is going into business and intends to sell its electric current to the very parties from whom it is making the purchase.
The argument in favor of the bill is that the company that installed the plant operates concessions and has not been paying any dividends at times and at other times it has only paid 3 per cent, and it would be a good idea to help them out by purchasing this plant, with the further thought that they might probably invest a portion of this purchase price in the erection of new buildings on their lease from which they could obtain additional rent and profit.
While it has the favorable approval of the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the National Park Service, as well as the approval of the Director of the Budget, I think it comes in poor grace to ask for this appropriation at a time when the administration is confronted with a $2,000,000,000 deficit and at a time when we are asked to be economical in our appropriations.
If we are to authorize and appropriate money for measures such as this, we might as well forget about economy and be resigned to the position that the administration is in favor of engaging in private business.
C. A. FULLER.
EXEMPTING BUILDING AND LOAN ASSOCIATIONS FROM
BEING ADJUDGED BANKRUPTS
JANUARY 15, 1932.- Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed
Mr. MICHENER, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 374)
The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill H. R. 374, after consideration reports the same favorably with an amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.
The committee amendment is as follows: Amend the title so as to read: Exempting building and loan associations from being adjudged bankrupts. The bill was reported unanimously by the committee in the last Congress but was not reached on the calendar in the closing days. The purpose of the bill is to exempt building and loan associations from the operation of the national bankruptcy law. When the national bankruptcy law was drafted it was thought wise to exempt from its operation municipal, railroad, insurance, and banking corporations. At that time building and loan associations were not as extensive and through oversight or otherwise these associations were not included in the exemption. Every reason which obtains for exempting the corporations above referred to obtains in so far as building and loan associations are concerned.
This legislation is sponsored by the United States Building and Loan League, and so far as the committee has been able to ascertain no one connected with building and loan associations opposes this legislation. However, it has been suggested that by reason of the fact that in two States in the Union no law exists controlling building and loan associations that this might be a reason for not exempting these associations from the operation of the bankruptcy law. It will be remembered that if the bankruptcy law is not invoked in connection with building and loan associations that this in no way interferes with the State equity laws and whether a State has supervisory control over building and loan associations or not those interested may at