"POWER BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE"
Almost a half century ago the New York legislature granted to the Aluminum Company of America title to the bed and waters of the St. Lawrence River for water power development. A few years later the charter was revoked by a Democraticcontrolled legislature, presumably because the State had surrendered valuable rights without just compensation, and because the Aluminum Company had done nothing with its special franchise. 1
For years thereafter, no efforts were made by utility corporations to develop the latent water power along the St. Lawrence. Eventually, those interested in the development of these power resources split into two groups. One maintained that development of electrical energy should be directed by private interests and private capital, while the other group contended that this great natural resource should never pass from State control.
Following Smith's election to the governorship in 1918, the Frontier Power Company applied for a legislative charter. However, not until after Smith's defeat in 1920 by Republican Nathan L. Miller could the utility company secure enactment of a water power bill which granted to a handful of legislators and State officials, and which was geared to insure Republican domination, the right to lease State power properties. 2 The final efforts of the Frontier Power Company to secure a lease of the St. Lawrence rights for fifty years were blocked at the last moment by Smith, now victorious in the 1922 gubernatorial race, not only on the technical ground that the lease actually
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Publication information: Book title: Franklin D. Roosevelt as Governor of New York. Contributors: Bernard Bellush - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1955. Page number: 208.
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