Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/434

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it possible to state the number of beds which are workable. Moreover, when it is recalled that gas is present in the coals, that the region is one of abundant rainfall, that the snowfall is heavy, that the coals are in many places friable, that many difficulties and large expenditures are connected with the problem of railroad construction and the providing of docking facilities, one begins to realize how necessary it is to give full weight to these facts in reaching a conclusion as to the value of the field.

The opening up of this field would be a great boon to Alaska and to the states of the Pacific coast. The government should do all in its power to hasten development. In cases where the evidence shows that the entrymen have conformed to the law, the patents should be issued without delay. Moreover, the Alaskan coal land laws should be speedily revised. The existing laws are unsatisfactory in that they do not tend to encourage but rather to discourage development. Not until large sums of money have been invested in this field will it be possible to mine and ship the coal on a commercial scale.