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regulation was issued requiring shippers of scarce Southern Appalachian coals to maintain three categories of shipping preferences. The shippers were ordered to fill first the needs for byproduct and special purpose coals, then to fulfill commitments on coal ordered for movement by water during the Great Lakes navigation season to dock operators. Third preference was given to orders from retail dealers.
That regulation also established three "consumer areas," in which priorities were given for shipping the scarce Southern Appalachian coals to retail dealers. Southeastern States which had no alternative source of solid fuels were given first priority. The second area embraced regions receiving their coal by Great Lakes vessels. Midwestern States which have alternative fuels comprised the third consumer area.
The shortage of high grade Appalachian bituminous coals became so acute by August 1944 that the Solid Fuels Administration for War, in order to protect wartime steel production, ordered the diversion of some 1,680,000 tons over a period of several months from industrial plants using it for generating steam to steel and coking plants.
Heavy inroads on Midwestern bituminous coal, coupled with production difficulties occasioned by bad weather, compelled action in December to restrict shipments of fresh-mined coal by producers to industrial consumers in proportion to their stock piles. Many industries which had comparatively large stocks on hand were obliged, therefore, to withdraw from those stocks for day-to-day burning needs to provide more new-mined coal for others whose stocks were being depleted too rapidly for safety.
In January 1945, extremely heavy snowfall hampered rail transportation in many eastern States, making temporary railroad embargoes necessary. Producers in Southern Appalachian mining districts were requested not to ship coal west of Pittsburgh and north of Central Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois during the embargoes because of car shortages. As an emergency measure, retail deliveries also were limited for a short time and diversions of coal in transit were made in order to supply dealers whose yards were nearly empty. The cooperation of local authorities in many cities and towns was obtained in assuring that every one had at least enough solid fuel to prevent acute suffering.
Equitable distribution of anthracite, the primary market for which is among household consumers in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic States, was carried out successfully in the past fiscal year despite the serious production deficit and numerous delivery handicaps
A critical emergency was created in fuel distribution by the series of heavy snowstorms which formed ice in many northeastern rail terminals, freezing cars to the rails and coal in the cars. For a time shipping and retail delivering in northern, central, and western New York State was completely disrupted.
At the start of the 1944–45 fuel year, distribution of hard coal from producers and wholesalers was planned on a basis of 90 percent of adjusted 1942–43 base period tonnages. The deficit of production under requirements, however, exceeded earlier estimates, and in August shipments by producers and wholesalers to retail dealers were cut to 87% percent. In February and March of the fuel year it was necessary to reduce this figure to 80 percent. Adhering to principles adopted at the beginning of anthracite distribution controls, the Solid Fuels Administration for War continued to make upward adjustments of dealer quotas wherever this was made necessary by population increases, conversions from other fuels and similar changes in requirements. The Solid Fuels Administration for War assisted the anthracite industry in disposing of some of the excess fine sizes of hard coal which were not suitable for home heating, through the development of new markets. Encouragement was given to manufacturers of processed fuel to use these small sizes and some were shipped abroad as a substitute for fuels normally used. In the distribution of anthracite in sizes suitable for heating, the Administration gave a preference to poultry brooders and hatcheries because of their essentiality as wartime food producers. Anthracite production during the 6 months preceding the end of the 1945–46 fuel year fell 19 percent below that of the comparable period of the previous year, and at this time the prospect is that the industry's output will be substantially short of requirements. Distribution of coke during the past fiscal year was a problem the solution of which lay chiefly in supplying coke plants with adequate tonnages of suitable coals. During the last 3 months of the fiscal year—from April 1 to July 1945—it was necessary to divert byproduct coke from the domestic market to meet the requirements of industrial users. This demand, however, tapered off in the latter part of June, releasing additional supplies for domestic consumption. Throughout the fiscal year the Solid Fuels Administration for War continuously urged persons using anthracite for heating purposes to accept deliveries of reclaimed coke to supplement short supplies of their customary fuel. Wherever this advice was followed, purchasers were able to stretch their heating fuels farther during the winter months. Special problems arising in connection with the distribution of solid fuels included providing adequate fuel supplies for regions which normally receive their winter's supplies of coal by water over the Great Lakes shipping routes. Slightly more than 58,000,000 tons of coal were forwarded from lower lake ports during the 1944 navigation season—an all-time record achieved under a regulation of the Solid Fuels Administration for War requiring uniform monthly shipments. Taking cognizance of the prospect that production during 1945 would continue to decrease, the Solid Fuels Administration for War directed Great Lakes dock operators to inform their suppliers by February 16 of the amounts, grades, and sizes they would require for a year from May 15, 1945. At the same time retail dealers were ordered to supply the dock operators with detailed information as to the needs of their industrial customers. This information formed the basis whereby producers could gauge their shipments during the season of navigation.
Industrial stockpiles were increased during the summer and fall of 1944 from a low of 50,513,000 tons on May 1, to a high of 65,074,000 tons on November 1, but mine manpower shortages and strikes made it impossible to build them up sufficiently to offset the additional winter consumption requirements. From November until the end of the fuel year on March 31, 1945, stockpiles declined again to 45,495,000 tons. This decline continued until May 1, 1945, when stockpiles reached their lowest point of the war-43,793,000 tops. During the remainder of the spring they began to rise again, reaching 47,718,000 tons by the end of the fiscal year.
DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM FOR 1945-46
Serious shortages of solid fuels in prospect early in 1945 compelled thorough revision of the Administration's distribution program. One of the regulations drafted for the 1945–46 fuel year laid the basis for allocations of special purpose coals, protecting them against uses which would tend to handicap the national war effort.
Other outstanding features of the 1945–46 distribution program included: (1) Limitation of dealer quotas for the scarce eastern solid fuels to 80 percent of the dealer's receipts in a base year period; (2) limitation of retail deliveries of anthracite, eastern-mined bituminous coal, coke, and packaged fuels to 80 percent of the consumer's normal annual requirements; (3) giving a third priority on soft coal to be moved to the Great Lakes and stipulating that the lake movement was to be completed by November 17, 1945; (4) continuation of tight controls on industrial coal distribution and stock piling;(5) requiring that "over-the-road” anthracite truckers secure SFAW licenses to assure a more equitable distribution by truck and by rail; and (6) encouraging spring and summer storage of solid fuels by as many consumers as possible under conditions of short supply.
To assure the widest possible spread of solid fuels during the 194546 fuel year, the new regulation required consumers using them for heat in all States east of the Mississippi and in certain areas west of that river to file “consumer declarations” with their retail dealers to show how many tons their premises normally required for a year.
A similar method of retail distribution already had been in use by anthracite consumers and had operated successfully in lieu of coupon rationing. Solid fuels consumers who filed the declaration were limited to 80 percent of their normal annual requirements of the scarcer kinds of fuel. Toward the end of the fiscal year this limitation was removed with respect to midwestern-mined soft coal.
Local advisory committees were continued in all States in which fuel was scarce to assist domestic consumers and retail dealers with respect to fuel problems. Provisions were made in regulations where by the so-called “orphan” consumers were helped to get coal. (These were consumers who were either new in a community or for some other reason had no regular retail supplier.)
WAGE AND PRICE STABILIZATION
Consistent with the responsibility of the Solid Fuels Administration for War to maintain production at the highest possible level within the established stabilization policy, the agency frequently recommended to the Office of Price Administration the establishment of prices for solid fuels that would encourage or protect coal output. In making such recommendations, the Administration reviewed in detail the cost and realization figures where the application for price adjustment affected a complete production district, a production subdistrict, or any considerable group of mines.
On general price revisions or on those affecting mines of large production, the Solid Fuels Administration for War made recommendations to the Director of Economic Stabilization which supplied him with information useful in passing upon recommendations of the Office of Price Administration. Also, in connection with wage stabilization, the Administration furnished data and advice to the War Labor Board.
CONSERVATION OF FUELS
Fuel conservation became an important wartime measure during the fuel year 1944-45. The reduction in supplies made it necessary for householders and industries alike to take vigorous steps to avert fuel waste. It was necessary to convince the public of the need to save fuel through programs of education in methods of accomplishing fuel savings.
Mass educational and promotional procedures were used to obtain the cooperation of the household consumers, while the industrial activities largely consisted of engineering advice, carried on through the National Fuel Efficiency program of the Bureau of Mines.
The part of the program pertaining to household consumers was carried on directly by the Solid Fuels Administration for War, with the help of State governments in areas where fuel was most critically short, and with the aid of the Office of War Information. The Governors of 25 States in the critical areas appointed State Fuel Conservation Directors who cooperated with the Federal Government in the issuance of information to promote fuel savings. Basic information, and a small amount of educational materials were supplied the states by the Solid Fuels Administration for War, which coordinated State and Federal activities in connection with this program. With the cooperation of the Office of War Information, the Solid Fuels Administration for War carried on a program of public education, employing such media as radio, press, motion pictures, posters, and circulars.
The funds appropriated for public informational activities were exceedingly inadequate as compared to the size and importance of the task, making it necessary for the Solid Fuels Administration for War to appeal to and depend largely upon the expenditures of business organizations and other interested groups. The radio industry and its advertisers devoted broadcasting time freely to fuel messages. Government advertising material was placed in the hands of private business organizations and associations which reproduced and distributed it, or sponsored and paid for its use as commercial advertising by the radio and press.
During the warm months, steps were taken to encourage the public to prepare for winter by ordering and storing whatever fuel was available, cleaning and repairing heating equipment, insulating and otherwise making homes and other buildings “heat tight.” During the heating season, more direct conservation measures such as delaying the starting of fires in the fall and extinguishing them early in the spring, preventing overheating, or inefficient furnace firing, were advocated.
COMPLIANCE WITH REGULATIONS
Considerable credit for the generally excellent compliance with wartime fuel regulations is due to the coal industry for its cooperation.
The job of distributing fuel fairly could not have been done, however, without the compliance activities of the Administration, important among which were the efforts taken to explain to the trade the regulations and directions by which solid fuels were distributed, their purposes and necessity.
Violations were relatively few, considering the many thousands of producers, distributors, dealers, truckers and consumers affected. In most cases, maldistribution resulting from detected violations was corrected by adjustment of shipping schedules, and in some instances, by the elimination of untrustworthy channels of distribution.