Government Organization in War Time and After: A Survey of the Federal Civil Agencies Created for the Prosecution of the War

By William Franklin Willoughby | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
THE MOBILIZATION OF FUEL

Analysis of the fuel problem -- First attempts to meet the situation by the Committee on Coal Production of the Council of National Defense -- Repudiation of its price agreement by the Secretary of War -- Powers of control derived from Congress -- The Food and Fuel Control Act -- Creation of the United States Fuel Administration under Harry A. Garfield -- Its functions and activities -- In the stimulation of production -- In the adjustment of labor disputes -- In the fixing of prices through State Fuel Administrators and local coal committees -- In the control of distribution and apportionment through zoning, priorities, and licensing -- In the promotion of economy and efficiency in consumption -- Control of fuel oil, gasoline, and other fuels -- Removal of restrictions after the armistice.

The necessity for the immediate assumption by the Government of control over the production, distribution, and consumption of coal and other fuel was, if anything, even more imperative than in the case of food. Coal, on account of its bulk and its deterioration when exposed to the air, is a commodity that cannot be stored to advantage. Practically all industrial plants are dependent upon the steady receipt of coal for their current needs; only to a slight extent can they stock up for the future. The same is true to an almost equal degree of domestic consumers. Consequently the greater part of the coal as mined must be immediately placed on cars for transportation to the place of consumption. In no small degree the ability of mines to produce coal is thus controlled by the ability of the railroads to furnish cars for the prompt removal of coal from the mines to consumers.

On our entrance into the war everything conspired to

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