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in the fiscal year 1945, set out to make a realistic appraisal of the job ahead.
A brief analysis of the Administration's war loads indicates that possibly as much as 600,000 kilowatts, or approximately half of the Administration's total production, may become available for remarketing. In order that this power may be marketed as quickly as possible and to prevent, insofar as is possible, any loss of the Pacific Northwest's wartime industrial gains, the Administration is devoting considerable effort to an extensive program of market and system development. The marketing program is directed toward the development of new power outlets for industries that will directly or indirectly provide jobs for returning service men and displaced war workers.
Cooperative research programs have been established with major educational institutions in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho to study and develop the potentialities of farm electrification, of electric home heating, or electric generation of processed steam and of other projects that, if developed, would require electricity.
Bonneville's own research staff is gathering data on railroad electrification, on the application of power in the development of the plastic industry in the region, on electric space heating, on urban and rural power utilization and on other potential uses for Columbia River power.
A program of system development, which was formulated by the Branch of Engineering and Operations, contemplates the early investment of approximately $164,000,000 in new transmission facilities designed to bring low-cost power from existing and proposed Columbia Basin projects to farms, homes and industry throughout the region. The new facilities will enable the Bonneville Power Administration to bring power into power-deficient areas, and will make Columbia River power available to any point in the Northwest at the Bonneville standard wholesale rate of $17.50 per kilowatt-year.
This postwar construction program will provide approximately 46 million man-hours of work at the construction sites and a great number of jobs in the manufacture and transportation of the equipment and materials that would be required.
Initially, the function of the Bonneville Power Administration is regional development; its final objectives are social and economic progress. The mechanism by which these ends are to be achieved is the marketing of an inexhaustible natural resource-Columbia River hydroelectric power. Unlike many Federal development agencies whose programs, in varying degrees, have been arrested in the course of the war, the activities of the Bonneville Power Administration have shown marked acceleration, to a large extent due to war necessity.
During the fiscal year 1945, Congress passed the omnibus rivers and harbors bill which authorized the construction of four dams on the Snake River in Idaho and the McNary Dam on the Columbia near Umatilla, Oreg. The Flood Control Act was passed, authorizing appropriations for the development of the Willamette Basin project, including the Detroit, Lookout Point, and Quartz Creek Dams. In both bills Congress authorized the Secretary of the Interior to market surplus electric energy from the proposed projects. With these projects authorized for early postwar construction, the Bonneville Power Administration began to develop an extensive program of construction and of market development to encourage the utilization of the Pacific Northwest's water resources for the benefit of the region. Operations during the fiscal year have been eminently successful. In addition to having made a contribution of incalculable value toward winning the war through service to war industries, military establishments and agriculture, the Administration has progressed in its construction and power marketing programs. The financial position of the project is sound and may be expected to remain so despite temporary setbacks that were caused by the changeover from full wartime to partial peacetime activities. The transmission system that is serving all of the major load centers, particularly those which have been engaged in war goods manufacture, and also much of the outlying region, will be ready for further expansion according to already completed plans as rapidly as manpower and materials become available.
The Southwestern Power Administration
During the past fiscal year the Southwestern Power Administration continued to operate the Grand River Dam project, marketing the power that was generated there, and at the Norfolk and Denison Dam projects, which are operated by the War Department.
The Grand River Dam project, which is owned by the Grand River Dam authority, an agency of the State of Oklahoma, was under Federal control for the duration of the war. The Government completed the transmission system and made contracts to dispose of the power output to war industries, chief among which are Camp Gruber, an Army camp near Muskogee, Okla.; Oklahoma Ordnance Works, near Prior, Okla.; The Cardox Corporation at Claremore, Okla., and the Jones Mills Aluminum Reduction Plant at Lake Catherine, Ark. During the past 2 years, the Southwestern Power Administration has worked to secure desirable industrial loads for the project, which would continue after the war. As a result of this work, service was begun to The B. F. Goodrich Co. plant at Miami, Okla., in December 1944, under a permanent contract.
The Norfolk and Denison Dam projects are each equipped with one 35,000-kilowatt generating unit. They have no transmission systems. It was, therefore, impossible to sell the electric production of these two projects directly to wholesale users. Contracts were negotiated with the neighboring private companies, under which the companies purchased all of the power output for their own use. The private companies in return, have made substantial rate reductions to Government-owned facilities and to other consumers, by specific provision of the contracts. These two projects have been in full commmercial operation since March 1945.
The Administrator of the Southwestern Power Administration has made and published a general study coyering all of the constructed, authorized and proposed War Department dams in the Southwest. We intend to initiate the program of development during the next fiscal year. *
Bureau of Mines
The continuation of the many varied scientific and technologic activities of the Bureau of Mines provided assistance to the producers and manufacturers of war materials and to the armed forces, and also resulted in the addition of a wealth of technical information which is expected to benefit the Nation in the readjustments of the postwar years. These services to industry and to the Nation obviously are worth many times what it cost the Bureau to render them. Many of the advances made in the laboratories and pilot plants that are operated by the Bureau were achieved under the pressure of a national emergency, but they will help the mineral industries to adjust themselves to a new peacetime economy. This is especially true in the field of mineral exploration and development; that is, in the search for critical and essential ores and in experiments to find the best and quickest methods of converting these ores into usable metals and other mineral commodities. During the war years, the Bureau performed a great deal of this kind of work, because of the need for speedy action to meet changing requirements. Equally important technological results were obtained in many other widely diversified fields in these years, including research in coal and coal products, explosives, ventilation, petroleum, synthetic fuels from coal and oil shale, air and dust analyses, and fuel efficiency. The Bureau's specialists strove to answer questions that would solve urgent wartime problems, and they answered many of them. Not all of the Bureau's experiments were successful, but that is not expected in any kind of scientific research, and enough of them yielded results to cause other war agencies to depend more and more on the Bureau in certain fields. Many of the techniques and processes that were developed by the Bureau during the war already have been adapted by private industry and in Government-operated plants, and others are being considered in long-range post-war planning.
The Bureau's staff also provided valuable aid in consultation with Government and industry in fuel efficiency, in the conservation of manpower through safety training and accident prevention, and in promoting a more efficient utilization of all resources. Furthermore, the factual information that was supplied by the Bureau about the production, distribution, and consumption of scores of mineral commodities was important to the war planning of many agencies and is essential in peacetime to industry. Most of the technical information accumulated by the Bureau in 1939–45 has been compiled and published.
Without waiting until the end of the war, the Bureau of Mines began to plan for the postwar era, with the hope that the Bureau and the Department might be helpful in formulating a future mineral policy for the Nation. I have already discussed our depleted mineral resources, and I have recommended some remedial measures. I here recommend further that we do all that can be done to insure the health and safety of workers in mines and smelters and plants, both to conserve manpower and to make additional reserves available by the removing of hazards. The Bureau of Mines has had more than three decades of experience in this field, and gave the advantage of this to Government and industry during the war. Accident rates declined and the production of coal mounted despite manpower shortages, loss of skilled workers to the armed forces, and the inability to replace worn machinery. Innumerable safety improvements were made as the result of the Bureau's inspection of 3,400 coal mines last year. Thousands were trained in first aid, mine rescue, and accident prevention, and Bureau engineers saved lives by assisting at major mine fires and explosions.
Without a detailed knowledge of the economic conditions in the minerals industries, no program of exploration and investigations could be expected to succeed. I think that the Bureau of Mines should be authorized to expand its economic and statistical services to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on the production, distribution, and consumption of all of our minerals and fuels.
The mineral legislation under which the Bureau of Mines operates now, with one or two exceptions, is permissive in nature. The Bureau in general is an advisory agency, and is in no position to exercise any authority over the use of mineral resources. New legislation designed to cope with postwar problems should be more positive, requiring specific things to be done, and having the effect of defining a national mineral policy. A good example of the type of legislation needed is the Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act, which sets forth a specific 5-year program of research in the production of gasoline and oil from coal and oil
shales, defines clearly what should be accomplished, and appropriates funds for the purpose. Another is the Federal Coal Mine Inspection Act, authorizing the inspection of coal mines in the interest of safety and efficiency.
With its pilot plants and laboratories, its engineers, chemists, metallurgists, geophysicists, and other trained personnel, the Bureau of Mines is ready to put into effect a Nation-wide program of mineral conservation and development which it believes will be in the interest of future security and national welfare. Many of its recommendations have been submitted to Congress, others are in advanced stages of development.
The Geological Survey Geology is becoming increasingly important to the Nation's social and economic welfare. During the war our geologists located new mineral deposits by applying geologic principles. They also predicted for the military intelligence the terrain conditions in those areas in which combat operations had to be conducted. While their military activity was perhaps the more spectacular and won numerous military commendations for directly assisting the armed forces, the Survey's information about our mineral deposits, and its program of searching for new ones, contributed materially to solving the country's supply problem.
Turning from the past to the future, the Survey recommends a considerably extended program of aerial geological mapping so as to provide the necessary geological basis for sound planning in the development of our resources. The Survey also recommends continuation and extension of the scientific investigations that, during the war, were conducted cooperatively with geologists representing our allies. These international projects not only bring mutual scientific benefits but they can become a strong contributing force towards better international understanding.
During the year the Alaskan Branch continued its investigations of mineral deposits in Alaska, performed geologic services for the War and Navy Departments, and compiled aeronautical pilotage maps and charts for the Army Air Forces. The investigation of mineral deposits contributed to a more adequate inventory of Alaska's mineral resources, particularly in regard to deposits of mineral materials other than the precious metals. The Branch's geologic service to the armed forces was principally in regard to phenomena associated with permanently frozen ground. An understanding of these phenomena is necessary for carrying on construction activities in frozen-ground areas. The compiling of aeronautical pilotage maps was a continuation of the high-priority mapping from aerial photographs that has been carried on for several years by the Alaskan Branch for the Army Air Forces.