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Partial proceedings of Conference of Governors, Commissioners and advisors of the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, on the Colorado River
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6 SEVEN STATES CONFERENCE point. The Colorado river is a navigable stream in Utah. Thousands of tons of freight and hundreds of passengers have been transported on it by boat during the past two or three years, not to mention any other evidence of the fact of its navigability. In Utah therefore the bed of the Colorado river belongs to the state. If I have succeeded in establishing the points that are so clear and obvious to my mind, namely, that the states own the water of the Colorado river, and that, in Utah at least, the state owns the bed of the stream, then it is time to ask the question, "Who owns the Colorado river?" Congressman Taylor of Colorado eloquently answered that question in his speech in the house last February when he said: "When those several states came into the union the government of the United States by congressional acts, ceded to them the ownership of all the water of that river. The people of those states own that water. They owned it as a birthright when their states were born. For what purpose? They own it for any and all beneficial uses they can use that water for—for domestic use, for irrigation, for storage, for power, and other uses—because it is absolutely necessary in that arid region. It is our very life blood. When those states came into the union there was put into the enabling acts and into their constitutions, approved by congress, a. clause to the effect that the people in every one of those states have the sole and exclusive right to all the water within their borders for the necessary development of the country, for the utilization of its people." Up to this good hour all the water in the great stream does, and always has, belonged solely to the people of those states. They are the owners of it now. It is the most priceless possession they have. It is all held subject to approval by the people for any of those beneficial purposes. I agree with Mr. Taylor, This great resource belongs to the states. I want to keep it for the states. I don't want to give it to the United States or any one else. The Lord knows the states need it. If we own the river, then we own the power resources of the river. Those power resources are a potential source of revenue to the states. Everybody is complaining about high taxes. If a greater portion of the cost of our state and local government could be derived from some other source besides a tax on property, it would afford relief to every taxpayer. In my message to our last legislature I advocated that the state's power resources of navigable streams should be treated on a conservation basis and should not be given away or sold, but should be leased, so that the rentals or royalties might help relieve the tax burden on property. If we sleep on our rights and let the federal government grab the power resources, we shall forever close this

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