« PreviousContinue »
gress in connection with the project, and if it meant the difference between authorizing the project and not having it, ask them to consider it in that light and see what their response is, and if you care to communicate further with us, I am sure the committee will be glad to hear from you.
Mr. GIBSON. I will be glad to tell you, but I think if it came to that, they could choose to let it be passed up. That is my opinion.
Nr. FORD. Is the St. Marys Kraft Corp. a relatively new corporation in that area?
Mr. GIBSON. Yes, I will say 3 or 4 years old, but I expect they have been there 8 years now, anyway. I believe I have the date in here, but I will cover that.
Mr. LARCADE. Thank you very much, Congressman, we are very glad to have you appear before the committee.
Mr. GIBSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I would like to say, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Gibson has been here before this session and has left with the committee a brief in this matter. I am just wondering in this connection if
you have covered the matter as fully as you would have liked or if you would like to have that preliminary brief filed.
Mr. GIBSON. I ask permission, Mr. Whittington, to file a new brief.
Mr. WHIITTINGTON. You have covered the points you have previously made?
Mr. GIBSON. Not too well, because of the time, but I will do it. I am going to file a statement, which is herewith filed as a part of my statements.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And you are going to cover the local benefit with the ratios to justify the elimination of the local contribution?
Mr. GIBSON. Yes.
STATEMENT OF JOHN S. GIBSON, FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM THE EIGHTH
DISTRICT OF GEORGIA, Now ENGAGED IN THE ACTIVE PRACTICE OF LAW IN SAID DISTRICT, ON BEHALF OF AUTHORIZATION FOR THE COMPLETION OF PROJECT 827 (NORTH RIVER, GA., AND ST. MARYS RIVER, GA., AND FLA.)
I want to first express to this committee, made up largely of my former colleagues, with the addition of a few distinguished new members, my full thanks and ihe thanks of the people whom I represent in the section to be served and benefited by this project for your kindness and generosity in giving me as much time as you have before this committee.
In the fall of 1946 the district engineers' office in Savannah, Ga., recommended the following improvements:
That the Government provide a channel 28 feet deep and generally 200 feet wide in the St. Marys River and North River from deep water in Cumberland Sound to the wharf of the St. Marys Kraft Corp. mill, together with a suitable turning basin near that wharf, and cutting off a bend in North River; a channel S feet deep and nerally 50 feet wide from Crandall to Traders Hill, with certain straightening of the river bends in that vicinity, at an estimated cost of $921,000, with $18,000 for maintenance in addition to that now authorized. The report of the district engineers further provided that local interest furnish, free of cost to the Government, all lands required for the initial construction and further maintenance of the project. And, that local interest provide additional terminal facilities when needed, and agree to save the United States Government free from all claims for damage arising from the original construction or future maintenance of the project.
In the very beginning I want to state that local interest stand ready to meet all the requirements of said recommendation with regards to holding the Government free of damage claims, furnishing lands and every other requirement stipulated in said recommendation, and are willing that the committee approve said project subject to proper guaranty of all the specific protection to the Government.
The St. Marys Kraft Corp. mill began operations in 1941, and its capacity of pulpwood consumption when the recommendation for improvement was made was $5,000 cords per annum, and its capacity of production of wood pulp was 50,000 tons per annum. Its capacity of paper and board was 50,000 tons per annum.
The chemicals required to operate this mill, which must be shipped in either by rail, or water, which will be possible only if this project is approved, was annually, 11,000 tons of salt cake, 1,700 tons of lime, 1,600 tons of soda ash and 1,500 tons of alum. Other miscellaneous supplies consist of 600 tons of starch, 400 tons of rosin size, 625 tons of kerosene and 32,000 tons of fuel oil.
During the last few months the St. Marys Kraft Corp. has been doing considerable work for the expansion of the output of its mill which work will be completed within the next month or two and after which the consumption of raw material and the output of finished products will increase by 266 percent. The committee will please bear in mind that this increase will be reflected on every item coming into this mill or going out from it as finished products.
Pulpwood now comes by rail from a radius of 200 miles and a large proportion of this pulpwood will be shipped into the mill by water when bottoms are available. Receipts of pulpwood at present, by water, are negligible, because of lack of bottoms. Furthermore, if this project is approved and completed many thousands of pulpwood owned principally in small tracts by individuals which is now isolated up and down the eastern seaboard, will be made available to the mills. The chemicals used by this mill now come from California, Massachusetts, and New York, which furnish the salt cake; Alabama and Tennessee, which furnish the lime; Texas, which furnishes the soda ash; South Carolina, which furnishes the alum, and Georgia, which furnishes the rosin size. No chemicals are now received by water, but with the completion of this project much of it would come by water, with a great saving in transportation cost.
No wood pulp now moves by water, but with proper harbor facilities certain wood pulp moving to paper mills situated near the eastern seaboard would move by boat to New York, Boston, and Portland.
Scandinavian pulp is made from a northern wood and has certain qualities and characteristics valuable in producing certain papers required to meet specific tests. The Gilman Paper Co., parent company of the St. Marys Kraft Corp., has, over thhe past 25 years, imported and used approximately 50,000 tons of Scandinavian pulp per annum. This company will use Scandinavian pulp for blending with pulp of their own manufacture from southern wood in making certain papers of particular specifications.
The unloading of chemicals shipped in bulk at another port to be transferred to a barge and brought by that means to this mill would be impractical. The cost of this transfer of either pulp or chemicals would make it impractical. On the outward shipments of paper, this type of handling has, in the past, proven to be impossible, because of the damage inflicted to the paper rolls and bundles, because of the extra handling. It must also be protected against wheather.
Statistics compiled from the United States Bureau of Domestic Commerce show that unbleached sulfate pulp was imported into the United States during the year 1939 in the following amounts:
335, 550 Finland
121, 819 Norway
472, 914 This is exclusive of all other grades of pulp imported from Sweden. There is certainly no experimental venture involved in th use of Scandinavian pulp by the St. Marys Kraft Corp., as their companies have for over 25 years used this imported pulp for specific purposes.
At the time the survey and favorable report of the district engineers was made, the St. Marys Railroad Co. had acquired and owned outright the rightof-way for the extension of the railroad to the Charlton County line. Since the report of the district engineers' office, the St. Marys Railroad Co. has acquired and owns outright a right-of-way from the Charlton County line on in to Folkston, Ga., and will construct its track to Folkston where it will connect with the Atlantic Coast Line Railway, over which the Southern Railway oper
ates trains. Its railroad connects with the Seaboard at Kingsland, Ga. Therefore, when this extension is completed the St. Marys Railroad Co., which originates at St. Marys, Ga., and which would extend to the port when this project is completed, would have a direct connection with the Seaboard, Atlantic Coast Line, and Southern Railway. If this port is completed to take care of seagoing vessels, this railway connection would take imports to all territories served by the three railroads mentioned, taking in the territory of the great Middle West, and, of course, would likewise bring in from said territory cargo for export.
I would like to bring to the especial attention of this committee and its distinguished membership, some figures which disclose the increase in tonnage of water transportation in this district. The figures are as follows:
46, 716 1943_.
455, 264 And in 1944 the tonnage was still greater.
In 1939 the pulpwood tonnage moving by water was 21,000 tons, and in 1943 it had increased to about 41,000 tons. Since 1935 the total tonnage of all commodiities has increased from 131,891 tons to about a million tons. This tonnage, upon the completion of this project, will increase across the board many times.
Of course, it can be justly said that some of this increase has been on account of war years, but the reason for the greater portion of this increase has been the extended improvement of our waterways. I know of no better argument for this project than that the war did necessitate an increase in this class of transportation. It will behooves us at this time to develop our waterways and all classes of natural resources and transportation as a military safeguard.
It is believed and stated that St. Marys Harbor has physical advantages, which, if properly developed, would make it the best harbor on the coast of Georgia. In the year of 1945 when the effects of a tropical storm were felt in the St. Marys and Fernandina localities, on Sunday night, when the full force of the blow was experienced, there were 10 vessels of varying sizes sent from Fernandina to be tied up at the present wood dock at the St. Marys Kraft Corp. mill, because of the features which make this particular location a safe haven for ships in time of storm.
With the statistical and physical facts briefly set out herein above, will now undertake to disclose why we think that the Goverment cannot afford to decline to spend this small amount of money required for the work recommended.
Irrespective of the fact that the Board of Engineers on Rivers and Harbors in the War Department in Washington, D. C., has unqualifiedly recommended this project, the Bureau of the Budget, while stating that there is no objection to the submission of the report to Congress, does state that the project should not be considered to be in accord with the program of the President nless the local interest make an adequate cash contribution toward the initial cost of the work. Previous in the hearings before this distinguished committee the question of such contribution being made by the St. Marys Kraft Corp. has been discussed
In the very beginning I want to state that I fully realize that the public interest must be the determining factor in this or any other Federal project.
I must take a different view, however, as to the interest served by this development. There is no question that practically the entire benefits would go to the general public and not to a few individuals. Every section of the Nation has some natural resource, and even though each natural resource is limited to a comparable small area of the United States, its development and productivity inures to the benefit of every individual citizen in the United States and to the general economy and progress of the Commonwealth.
Let's first consider the case of St. Marys Kraft Corp. It is true that cheaper freight rates would be made available both for raw and finished material. The result of this would not be to the benefit necessarily of this corporation, but would be to the producers of the raw material and to the consumers of the finished product. It is but natural that this company, as all others, must buy their raw material and sell their finished products at a figure that will leave them operating cost and a fair return to their stockholders. So, it can be seen that the resulting benefits would be increased income to the producer of pulpwood and reduced cost to the consumer of the finished product. If the other view should be taken, and it was assumed that all this benefit would be taken advantage of by the mill, then it can safely be said that its income tax would so greatly increase that from this source alone the Federal Government would soon have back every dollar it spent on the project.
It is well known that the only natural resource enjoyed by this section of the Nation is its pine forest. Georgia alone produces approximately 60 percent of all naval stores commodities produced in the United States, and 30 percent of all produced in the world. The Federal Government is now spending millions of dollars on forestry research and in the operation of experimental and demonstration forests.
The development of this project will directly affect approximately 1,000,000 acres of pine forest in southeast Georgia and northeast Florida, much of which is at this time isolated, and will make billions of feet of lumber and millions of tons of naval stores products and pulpwood easily accessible to points of manufacture and consumption at a greatly reduced transportation cost. The St. Marys River winds its way for miles through some of the finest forests in Georgia, much of which is isolated, and the dredging of this river would turn the products of these vast forests directly into points of manufacture at practically no transportation cost, from which points the finished product could be taken by seagoing vessels to every port in the world. Again at a much reduced transportation cost under rail movements.
I was reared within 4 miles of Traders Hill, Ga., the extreme terminus of the proposed dredging, and am familiar in detail with all the physical facts connected with this work. If it were possible for this committee to know the facts as I know them I am sure there would be no hesitation in instant approval.
It is hoped by all that war clouds will never again darken the peaceful world which we visualize, but as I have said before, and will repeat, that the surest way to maintain the peace for which we all hope and pray, is to stand ready at all times for any eventuality. It is a well-known fact that our Nation very nearly became trapped in a timber shortage in the last World War. And if cruel fate destines that we must again, in the next few years, meet the horrors of war and be called upon to prepare for a national defense, we will need every advantage that wise thinking now, and smart preparing through the years, can give us. It is common knowledge that the Federal Government owns the great Okefenokee Swamp, a vast unoccupied territory of the best timber growing land in the United States, 35 miles wide and 70 miles long, with lands lying around its borders totaling thousands upon thousand of acres, which is by odds the greatest prospective reservoir of timber lying South of the Mason-Dixon line. This swamp naturally is in an isolated area. Traders Hill, the terminus point of this dredging, lies within 6 to 8 miles of the edge of this great swamp, and closer than that to lands owned by the Government. It is further true that a canal, many years ago, was cut into near the center of said swamp from which timber was brought in by water from said swamp and manufactured into lumber at what was then Camp Cornelius, which is about 8 miles from Traders Hill. Were it necessary to get this timber to shipyards and other construction plants on the various water fronts from the shores of Texas to the eastern seaboard as far up as New York City, this could easily be done by trucking it across to Traders Hill and carrying it down the St. Marys River to the St. Marys port, and from there have a quick outlet by sea-going vessels to every port of the United States and world. If it was deemed wise this canal could be extended across to the St. Marys River and from the heart of said swamp its timber could be carried exclusively by water from the swamp to every port in the world. In this regard reference is made to the first map or plat attached in Document No. 680 where the said swamp is shown and where the War Department has shown a proposed canal which would take the timber directly out of this great swamp through the St. Marys Harbor, and as stated before from the tree stump to every port in the world.
As is stated herein before, the extension of the St. Marys Railroad to Folkston, Ga., which is definitely going to be done, would open up a direct route to the West which would be the means of transporting large quantities of export material to a properly developed harbor at St. Marys, Ga, an Atlantic seaport. At the same time it would bring the East and West trunk lines reaching into the Middle West and beyond, directly into St. Marys.
It would be manifestly unjust to the small landowners, small-business men, and the many hundreds of pulpwood producers throughout this area who would benefit from this project to decline to spend the small amount of money required for this development. There is no one more interested in Government economy than I, if for no other reason, for the selfish reason that I am a taxpayer. I say, and the facts of this case substantiate, that it would be a brilliant stroke of economy to
make this expenditure and would certainly be against the common interest of the entire Nation to decline so to do. Not only in the construction, but from the expanded use of the forests and general expansion in trade and commerce that would result directly from the improvement, thousands of people would be furnished gainful occupation that would otherwise be idle. Looking selfishly from the Government's standpoint in this case, the difference in income tax paid by the producers of timber products in this area, and those given employment as the result of this great forest expansion and its resulting industrial expansion in the area affected would pay the entire cost of the project within at least 5 to 10 years.
Looking toward a conclusion of my remarks I cannot impress too strongly on this committee that the inhabitants of this approximately a million acres of United States soil look principally for their entire income to the forests of that
It is peculiarly adapted to the rapid growth of pine timber. It is further true that the owners of these small tracts of land comprising this great area have advanced rapidly in their studies of proper growth and protection of the forest.
It might be of interest to you gentlemen to know that under present conditions our forests in the warm climate we have will grow a tree to pulp wood in 8 years and to turpentine in 12. Instead of assuming that the forest would soon be cut out this committee should know as a matter of truth and fact that in 10 years from now this vast forest area will be producing many times more lumber, cross ties, veneer blocks, naval stores, and pulp wood than at this time. With the care that the inhabitants of the area are giving their forests at this time and with the improved means of getting to isolated areas by the completion of this project the income of the citizenry of that section would be enhanced per capita at least four or five times within 10 years from this date.
What little benefit that might flow to the St. Marys Kraft Corp., is lost so quickly when the impoverished thousands who depend upon this timber for a living is considered in the light of the increased standards of living that will be brought to their homes and families. It is true that the St. Marys Kraft Corp. so far has meant a great deal to these people who have lived for many years in this area and lived off this timber, but in this connection it should be remembered that the St. Marys Kraft Corp. operates the only pulp and paper mill on either the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean that does not have water shipping facilities.
This vast territory supplies in great quantity from its forests sawmill timber for the production of lumber, blocks for the production of veneer, trees for the production of cross ties and naval stores products. It is conservative to say that these extra products would constitute more than one-half of the tonnage cut from said forests. The production of pulpwood being less than 50 percent of the production of this forest area. The St. Marys Kraft Corp., is not interested directly or indirectly in either sawmill timber for the production of lumber, blocks for the production of veneer, trees for the production of cross ties nor naval stores products in any form. Therefore, the corporations manufacturing lumber, cross ties, veneer and naval stores would receive more benefits from this dredging project than would the St. Marys Kraft Corp. It is further true that other pulp and paper mills, namely, Rayonier, Inc., of Fernandina, Fla.; International Containers Corp. of America, Jacksonville, Fla.; Brunswick Pulp & Paper Co., Brunswick, Ga.; Union Bag & Paper Co., Savannah, Ga.; West Virginia Puly & Paper Co., Charleston, S. C., and International Paper Co., of Georgetown, S. C., will receive pulpwood down the St. Marys River channel which will come through the St. Marys Harbor and be loaded at its docks on seagoing vessels to be taken to the mills fo the above-entitled companies. Some of said corporations own lands in the area served by said dredging project. It is further true that the Georgia Plywood Co. of Brunswick, Ga., will receive timber through the St. Marys Channel and the proposed St. Marys Harbor.
Finally, and at last, before this project is a complete unit docks must be constructed and must be considered a part of the entire project, for without the docks then the dredging of North River would be of nought. As the port now stands it is just as serviceable as it would be without the docks after the dredging. An estimated cost of the construction of these docks is a quarter million dollars, but no engineer's report has been had as yet on this cost. However, I am in position to commit the St. Marys Kraft Corp. to build sufficient docks to take care of all incoming and outgoing cargo, both for its own use and for the use of the general public at its own expense, and to construct from time to time at their own expense docks sufficient at all times to accommodate the incoming and outgoing cargo, both for themselves and the public. It commits itself further not only to build these docks at its own expense, but to maintain the