The New York Times/1925/12/14/Coal Inquiry Asked by Congress Group
New York Democrats in House Call on Coolidge to Name Investigating Board.
WANT REPORT BY FEBRUARY
League for Industrial Democracy Demands Nationalization—Assails State Commission.
The twenty-two Democratic Representatives from New York State have called upon President Coolidge to appoint a joint Congressional commission to inquire into the anthracite controversy and report by Feb. 1, 1926, it was announced yesterday. A resolution to this effect was adopted in Washington on Saturday, when the entire delegation, it was said, met at the office of Representative John F. Carew. A committee was appointed to draft a resolution to be introduced in the House today. The resolution read:
"Whereas in the City and State of New York and assured supply of coal throughout the year is necessary for life and industry and from the middle of October to the middle of May is an essential to the maintenance of life itself; and
"Whereas the operators and owners of the anthracite coal mines and the miners have up to this date not solved their differences and have brought about a condition threatening this Winter's supply in the City and State of New York; and
"Whereas a steady and assured supply of coal as one of the prime necessities of life should be guaranteed to our people by governmental action if need be; therefore be it
"Resolved by the Democratic Representatives in Congress of the State of New York that the President of the United States be requested by resolution of the House of Representatives of the Congress to appoint a commission compromising members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives and other citizens to make a public inquiry which will reveal all the facts in the present controversy; and further be it
"Resolved, That this commission be instructed by the President to make recommendations to the Congress not later than Feb. 1, 1926, which will insure adequate deliveries of coal to all consumers in all the States at all times; and it was further
"Resolved, That a committee be appointed to draft a suitable resolution for the specific purpose of introduction to the House of Representatives on Monday morning."
Nationalizing of the coal industry of the country was called for in an open letter to Congress which the League for Industrial Democracy, 70 Fifth Avenue, made public yesterday. The State Coal Commission here was described as "Impotent to do more than give advice." President Coolidge with his "regional consolidation" plan would make a bad situation worse, and Governor Pinchot's peace terms would gain a "truce" but not a "solution," according to the letter, which alleged that anthracite operators in the last decade had "levied against the public the sum of $200,000,000 in inflated valuations which are charged up against the cost of every ton of coal mined."
"Moreover, they are evidently planning to inflate the industry another $400,000,000 as soon as they can," the letter said.
The letter was signed for the League for Industrial Democracy by its President, Robert Morse Lovett, formerly of the University of Chicago, and its executive directors, Harry W. Laidler and Norman Thomas, Socialist Candidate for Mayor at the last election.
The letter added:
"The situation in New York City is typical of that in the whole area dependent of anthracite coal. Our present State Coal Commission, like the State Fuel Administration in 1922 and 1923, is impotent to do more than give advice. In spite of it, the price of anthracite has risen from $14 to $25 and $30 a ton. Coke has gone from $3 to $18, and soft coal from $6 to $16. Of this outrageous profiteering the middlemen, even more than the producers, have been the beneficiaries. In this situation there has been an almost total bankruptcy of effective public leadership."