A Federal Case; 25
This is a federal case a weekly show that takes up an issue of government and takes a good look in Washington D.C. I Manziel producing for the national educational radio network. This is what we're trying to do which is drive back and give nature as it is to get back to where water can be used and read and be good water. I think we can get a very good start on the problem. I think we can start to get ahead of the problem. And I think that we will be well down the road if all of the president's proposals are accepted by the Congress and the funds are forthcoming. There you have two optimists talking about the environment. They are both part of the federal government and both are Republicans. The first man was John Saylor representative from the 22nd District in Pennsylvania the second
was David Dominic commissioner of the F.W. PCA the federal water pollution control administration. This week we're going to make a federal case out of the environment. Everybody is these days but we're going to look at water pollution and we're going to listen to to people in our government who are working on it. John sailor has been in Congress since 1949. He is the ranking member in the House Committee on interior and insular affairs. He is also a member of the Public Land Law Review Commission. His section of Pennsylvania is the western coal mining area. He is an old style politician who lights up when you plug in the cord your tape recorder and he goes into his routine. He is an actor but sincere and on the walls of his office along with pictures of Richard Nixon where fishing and hunting and rugged wildlife mementos of the place he comes from where the largest town is called John's burg. Now David Dominick is a little
different. For one thing he several decades younger. He's 32 and he was appointed by Secretary Walter Heagle of Interior to head the F.W. PCa. He used to be a legislative aide to Senator Hansen of Wyoming a conservative and he is a second cousin of Senator Peter Dominic of Colorado another conservative. You're going to hear both of these men give their versions of the water pollution problems and what's being done about them. First Congressman John sailor talks about getting into the water pollution area. Ever since I've been in Congress when I walk by before I get water water problem. So therefore it's nothing new to me here to continue the fight. This is just a forum for what many people do now. I realize is that creature known as homo sapien hens has been following its
water sources until not just certain of the game species are in danger but mankind's really endangered World Health Organization tells me that every year over 10 million people die in the world because of bad water. And if you will just take a look at the major streams of this country you will see that instead of being the beautiful water highways that they were when the Indian was here for the white man came before the great industrial revolution occurred which should cause mankind to use all of our water and continue to abuse it. We now have instead of those beautiful streams we've got streams that high are polluted with silt polluted with off all polluted
with. All of the things that we use that man uses water for. But I know of for example you go out to you go out to the there's a word some of the packing houses are and sometimes the rivers run red because it just dump it in the river hoping that somewhere down below it will disappear. Been Pennsylvania we have a bad situation. We had a great coal mining industry and we've got a great steel industry. And because of the great these great industries they use the water the open coal mines and coal mines they water in the mines were grain was acid mine grainy and it has caused streams that even in my lifetime were beautiful streams now to become absolutely useless. Maintain no fish life no aquatic life no
vegetation of any sort make your description. Now Representative sailor talks about the situation in Congress where frankly several years ago after being a voice crying in the wilderness for a long time. Again to get some support. Suddenly the Public Works Committee became very very cognizant of it and we passed the water pollution control act. Now this act was a first step which Congress ever took to try and make a positive step in changing the pattern of 1 0 0 0. What we're trying to do is to clean up all of the things which mankind has done to our lives. This act challenge the status realizing that it was a great problem. The ACT used the approach that if the states would adopt water quality standards. And if they met minimum
specifications the federal government would then contribute money to the state and various state organizations for distribution of money and is about to assist them in cleaning up their rivers and their like Mr. sailor brought up the Water Quality Control Act which Congress passed a couple of years ago. Then I asked Commissioner Dominic to explain this act more fully as he interprets it. I know the states have their own quality control standards for water and a couple of questions occur to me is that as good as having a kind of central standard that applies to all rivers in all states. Well the the question of whether you have a national standard has been vigorously debated in the Congress and in that conservation circles and elsewhere. But I think the the philosophy. That has been adopted by the Congress and which is being
implemented by this department is a sound one and that is that you've got to tailor standards to existing waterways You can't say that you will have a national standard which will apply in a cold water lake in Minnesota just the same way it would apply in a very warm water estuary say Biscayne Bay in Florida. You've got to tailor tailor your standards too to the uses that you want to make of these waters to the aquatic life that is that are in the waters and have water quality treatment requirements to meet those standards. I think that the criticism though that maybe the critics are applying to that is that is that it is a kind of political thing. Is there any danger and letting the states. Do it themselves. Well there is danger in the administration of any public program and what you have to do is have confidence in the people that are better placed in
positions of responsibility. Now that the federal water pollution control administration has been very vigorous in getting the best standards from the states and standards that will meet our aquatic life needs and we review these standards with the Bureau of sport fisheries and wildlife for instance with scientists within the department not only inept of the PCa and the standards are passed on and eventually accepted by the secretary of the Interior the secretary has the final say on whether a standard is a good one or not. Now we had an instance in in the state of Iowa where we could not get acceptable standards for Milo and we could not reach agreement with Iowa. So we went in and had a federal standard setting conference and got standards which we think are necessary to to abate pollution and in the major rivers there. How many states have had their standards approved.
All states have had their standards approved we have exceptions to the standards in some of the parameters and temperature and dissolved oxygen some of the compliant schedules and what not. We have a table over here on the wall which shows the exception to the standards and we are a limiting exceptions on a daily basis and we would hope to have a clean slate of standards in a reasonable period of time. I wrote about five months ago or something that they were they were told me 20 states that whose all standards have been well. As I say this changes on a day to day basis and if you look at that chart you can see where we stand with respect each to each state. Dominic kept referring me to a chart which was supposed to indicate which states had met which standard in which categories the chat was far away from me. And it was by no means one color which would indicate total compliance. Not a
congressman sailor or commissioner Domenech are completely optimistic. Here is sailor hell the water pollution act has turned out well. Like a good many things that Congress does in their rejection. But some of us haven't been satisfied with the results because the states took us at our word. Here's another example where the people are way ahead of the Congress. They're way ahead of the state legislature. The people know of this problem. And so the states at the instance of people began to insist that people in the States insisted that these their standards be adopted and I had an opportunity to talk to assistant secretary Klein of interior west charge of this program and he told me he was delighted that all 50 states have passed
legislation affecting water quality. That 29 of them have done an excellent job. That 21 have done a job which with a little change will bring them all into line. In other words this problem is so big and the problem is so viral that you can't just adopt one policy here in Washington. And this is why when we got the Public Works Committee take this action that we asked them to give it enough picks elast to city so they could be made usable in the various states and the states have have taken cognizance of the various needs. For example Wyoming and Montana where a great deal of the water of many of our western rivers have there are engine doesn't have the same need or the
same requirements as industrial Pennsylvania or New York or the metropolitan districts of the west coast of California Los Angeles and San Francisco. And so the states have a doctor a dental office to see to it that they fit the local situation. Now one of the things that we've got to do is to see to it that as we use water. It's going to have to be treated so that it can be huge and really you don't recycle heretofore there has been there's always been enough water use it throw it out let somebody else down the street. I don't doubt a river. They take care of it well. There is only a certain amount of what I was told by a present doctor book already a geological survey that probably
has never been a new drop of water in the history of mankind at all that is using the same water over and over again. And the only part of the only way it has been purified up and allow is that the Lord has taken charge of it but the Lord didn't have all of the population in this country and in the world to take care of. And so it's even challenge nature itself. Both men you hear in this program are good Republicans. They support the president and the present administration and more control by local governments than by federal government. Both are apt to start talking about what needs to be done in the future. Here's sailor giving a Republican view of what went wrong with water pollution control in the past. Let me let me put it this way. It is a very interesting thing as happened when Congress passed the water quality act. We set a pattern of the amount of money which Congress would appropriate if
year to distribute among the states and municipalities to assist them if they complied with the water quality act. Let states having kept their word in the business about with these having dried suddenly Congress became niggardly and wouldn't put in the money this year in the 1970 budget according to the original actors should have been one million dollars. Rarely prior administration the Johnson administration asked for two hundred fourteen million. Less than 25 percent. That is just a good political accusation. Critics countered by saying that Republicans in Congress wouldn't vote the money that President Nixon has been lax in this area until very recently. And furthermore leaving standards up to the individual states is a bad idea anyway. Now you're going to hear Commissioner Dominic being cautious and admitting that the whole job can't
be done at once. Notice how he goes off into what has to be done in the future. You'll hear him give a nice description of what his administration does and then you'll hear him talk about some of the problems. I don't think we're going to rid the country of of anything in any time certain. I think it's unrealistic to speak of saying the country is going to be crystal clean about its air its water and its solid waste in the next decade as it is now we're falling backwards. We simply have not even kept pace with increasing pollution so it's a very critical situation and a critical time and in history and in the history of the world. We've got to start getting ahead of it. What do you think is the most important thing that you like to see this board. Well the basic work of the EFTA BBCA the federal water pollution control the ministration has been set out
has been mandated to us by the Congress and that includes enforcement that includes setting of water quality standards that includes technical studies that includes research and development a significant program in developing new technology for the treating of waste both municipal and industrial. And these are our basic functions however I view the agency as one of the most critical agencies in the whole federal government. From the point of view of ensuring that environmental considerations are taken into effect both by the private sector and by the governmental sector and much of our work has to do with the overseeing the advising the consulting and serving as a watchdog really
to other federal agencies to ensure that the environment is protected. Absolutely commanding the look of it that way. And I guess also more of the airport and does it inspire you in some way I mean when you look at their you know the Potomac is incredibly polluted him and that airport is there a lot of pollution there. Well it serves to show that we have a big job ahead and it's not going to be accomplished overnight. Do you find it ironic in that sense. Well I think it's ironic that the nation's capital is located on a river that is one of the worst pollution situations in the country. And it's ironic that the country has not been sufficiently aroused to do something about this. I'd like to ask you about some specific things and find out what you're involved in right now what you're doing about the state oil pollution.
Well an Oil Pollution Within the past three weeks I've just created a new office of oil and hazardous materials control. And we created this anticipating if you will a passage of new legislation which is now in the Congress H.R. forty one forty eight the Oil Pollution Control Act. But also with the knowledge that you can't you can't always wait for Congress to do something. And the the experience of Santa Barbara the experience of a recurring small spills with which the public never hears about the experience of Tampa Bay just last week the experience of a major oil well fire in the Gulf which is hopefully being put out today. All of these experiences point to the fact that oil pollution and hazardous materials other than other materials that get into the waterways is going to get worse before it gets better. And we met with the oil industry and with the
conservation organizations just yesterday on this question and we have got to put together contingency plans we've got to get equipment. We've got to get manpower so that we can move in rapidly and clean up the spills as they occur. Then we've got to begin thinking immediately about prevention. The best way to to deal with this problem is to prevent it from ever occurring. And we've got to get tighter regulations on shipping tighter regulations on the pipeline transportation on all forms of transportation. And we've got to start eliminating the human errors that contribute to all of these oil spills there will pollution nuclear generating plants. Well as you know we open a conference. Tuesday of this week down in Miami Florida
to investigate the thermal discharges of the Florida Power and Light Company and get into Biscayne Bay and that conference should be concluded today. We are seeking to halt those discharges and we're seeking to halt them before the proposed nuclear power plant comes on stream down there. These heated water discharges are having an intolerable effect on the biology of Biscayne Bay. Will it be a problem for the rest of the country as well. It will be a problem of differing degree but we feel that the power industry is going to have to face up to this problem and is going to have to treat their waste heat in such a way that it does not degrade the environment. What about acid mine dream.
The last of mine range has been here since the first strip mine was opened. And frankly we don't have the technology available to us to curate on any massive scale. We are working in that area with research and development funds and we are contributing to many projects most of which are going forward in the state of Pennsylvania that seems to be the most progressive state as far as acid mine drainage is concerned. And we're contributing to those projects and hopefully we will have some techniques in future years to deal with this. I saw a month or so ago a group of people going down to Houston I'm going to remind them and looking at sewage What are you working on this for sewage. Will sewage human sewage a sewage from cities is his one of the worst pollutants in the country. And the president's program has announced in his environmental message on February 10th
deals with that problem very directly. It sets up a program of spending public monies federal state and local monies to the amount of 10 billion dollars over the next four years to build municipal waste treatment plants to treat human. So while you were doing anything directly. Yes. The federal water pollution control of ministration is the is the agency responsible for administering those funds. And the president is seeking 4 billion dollars for fiscal year 71 and the legislation has just gone up to the Congress and we will administer that 4 billion dollars some of RAF Nader's investigators call the Nader's Raiders examined. David Dominic's F.W. PCA last summer they look to see how well the agency has protected the public. Their conclusion was that too little has been done by this administration too late. And they disagreed with a lot
of what Dominick said to me particularly in those specific areas which he just went into oil pollution thermal pollution acid mine drainage. Even sewage. They say this agency has done very little. And if you really listen to what Dominic was saying to me he talked more about what his agency is going to do than about what it has done already. Dominic's office has a huge desk. It has a plush gold carpet and six or seven windows. There are numerous tables and chairs and a lot of expensive things like pen and pencil sets lying around five or six secretaries share a lavish outer office hearing Dominick talk about administering this for a billion dollars was somewhat disquieting. The F.W. PCa has been called a political barnyard by at least one Senate aide Dominic's boss is Karl Klein the assistant secretary of the Interior under him.
These two Dominic and Klein aren't supposed to get along too well ever since Klein got rid of Dominic's deputy and put in someone he wanted. Also when Dominic worked as a legislative assistant to Senator Hansen he wrote arguments against non degradation policies or keeping the really pure water in this country especially clean. Here are some questions that I asked Dominick about his water pollution control administration that he wished I hadn't. They're good examples of the kind of questions usually don't keep in an interview but they show how touchy this federal government can be sometimes. Yes WBC has been called a political barnyard at one time or another one of the referring to oh I wouldn't know I am really the only so called it well in the Washington monocular political appointee and my associate commissioner is a Schedule C appointee which means that he does not have to go
through the civil service but every other employee of after pca is a civil servant. Yeah but there was something about you or your deputy was changed in the last year and various people were saying that your relations with Karl Klein resistance secretary were awfully good. Do you want to get into that. I don't think I care to comment on that. How do you feel about the non degradation policy I know you worked for a while as a legislative assistant against it as your position and that changed now that you're here are the same or what. Well I would say very simply that when one works as a legislative assistant for any member of Congress you work as a professional and you work too. Do staff work in accordance with that congressional members wishes. That doesn't always reflect your own personal wishes. As far as I'm concerned personally as far as my policy has been since I've been commissioner I'm definitely in
favor of the anti degradation policy and we are seeking to get any degradation statements from every state. There are two men in different branches of the government who have got the environmental religion each in his own way still places his hopes and perhaps the largest share of the burden for correcting water pollution on state and local governments. Now that shows a good Republican philosophy. There are many people who are you that that kind of operation also shows an undue optimism or a half hearted effort or maybe just blind faith. Well let me put it this way. I have used the expression environmental religion. I have had it all my life I am delighted to find out that other folks want to join the church. It's a most challenging and a most energy taxing position but
I'm enjoying every minute of it. And it is my religion. This has been a federal case. Your correspondent.
- A Federal Case
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- "A Federal Case" is a weekly program produced by the National Educational Radio Network which examines current political topics in the United States and Washington, D.C. Each episode features interviews with experts, members of the public, and lawmakers concerning a specific issue of government.
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-38-25 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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