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- Mr. BARBOUR. And the supply is inexhaustible? Professor DURAND. And the supply is inexhaustible. That brings me to another point, and I am glad you emphasized it in that way, because I had it especially in mind to point out this fact: That when we are using oil we are using a deposit which was made by nature--by the sun primarily--thousands or millions of years ago, and so far as we know, nature is not engaged in the program of making oil at the present time. Here is a bank deposit which lay untouched through geologic ages until a few years ago, when we found out how to use it. We are now using up our principal, and when anyone constantly draws on his bank principal, and there is no interest accruing, there is only one end to the program. If instead, however, we utilize present day sun power--which, of course, water power is--we are drawing on and living on an interest account, and there is going to be just as much next year as there was last year, and so on through an indefinite period of years. It, therefore, seems of the most fundamental and serious importance that we should do our utmost to conserve the use of fuel oil wherever possible by substituting therefor this interest-bearing account represented by water power. Mr. RAKER. Not to be facetious, but really for information, when did old nature cease to produce this oil? Professor DURAND. Petroleum oils have apparently been formed in all geologic ages from the Devonian through the Carboniferous down to the Pleocene and Pleistocene, but presumably not in significant quantities since the latter period. Mr. RAKER. That was before my time, so I do not care to go into it. Professor DURAND. There is one further point in this connection to which, I think, attention should be drawn. Mr. SMITH of Idaho. It seems to me the facts you are stating should be the basis of a very good argument in favor of this legislation, because it would save the consumption of fuel oils. Professor DURAND. Quite so, and I feel that it is a very important argument. And there is a further point, which relates to the same fundamental question. Petroleum furnishes a wide range of products; thus the lighter products, such as gasoline, kerosene, engine distillate, etc., then heavier fuel oils, and again that most important series of products, the lubricating oils. Indeed it is not too much to say that industrially the entire world is lubricated by these special petroleum products. Mr. SWING. I will ask that Professor Durand be permitted to file later a written statement amplifying the remarks he has made to-day. Mr. SINNOTT. Without objection, that may be done. Professor DURAND. In that connection let me add that water power represents a practicable and effective substitute for fuel oil used for power purposes. This is not true for the lighter petroleum products, and especially for the lubricating oils. It is thus clear that there are certain products which we derive from petroleum and which are fundamentally necessary in our modern civilization and which can, so far as we can see, be derived from no other source. This serves to further emphasize the serious import of this entire question of the use of our petroleum oil and points to the absolute importance of substituting waiter power for oil fuel power wherever humanly possible to do so, thus conserving our petroleum reserves as far as possible for those uses for which no substitute is available. Mr. RAKER. IS it your view that the construction of the Boulder Canyon Dam would be justified for the generation of power alone? Professor DURAND. Yes, sir. Mr. RAKER. What is your view as to whether or not the Government should undertake the enterprise or private individuals or corporations undertake it?Professor DURAND. Are you speaking of the dam? Mr. RAKER. The Boulder Canyon Dam and all this development.Mr. SWING. YOU mean from a power point of view? Mr. RAKER. I am speaking about power. He said it would justify its construction for power. I am asking for the professor's point of view as a man of great experience, as to the relative advantage of having the Government construct it, or having it constructed by private enterprise. Professor DURAND. As I see it, Mr. Raker, the only agent which could adequately proceed with the construction of such engineering work is the National Government, having in view particularly the interrelation of the problems of irrigation, flood control, and the settlement of the various questions in controversy among the several States that will arise not only in connection with the construction of the work, but later on in connection with the operation of the reservoir. I believe that the Federal Government is the only agent which could undertake this proposition, especially having in view this particular aspect of the situation.
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