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SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
JOHN L. MCCLELLAN, Arkansas, Chairman HENRY M. JACKSON, Washington
KARL E. MUNDT, South Dakota SAM J. ERVIN, JR., North Carolina
CARL T. CURTIS, Nebraska ERNEST GRUENING, Alaska
JACOB K. JAVITS, New York EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Maine
MILWARD L. SIMPSON, Wyoming
JAMES R. CALLOWAY, Chief Clerk and Staff Director
ARTHUR A. SHARP, Staf Editor
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EXECUTIVE REORGANIZATION
ABRAHAM RIBICOFF, Connecticut, Chairman JOHN L. MCCLELLAN, Arkansas
JACOB K. JAVITS, New York ERNEST GRUENING, Alaska
MILWARD L. SIMPSON, Wyoming ROBERT F. KENNEDY, New York
CARL T. CURTIS, Nebraska
JEROME SONOSKY, Staff Director and General Counsel
PHILIP COOK, Professional Staff Member
REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 2 OF 1966
(Water Pollution Control)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 1966
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m., in room 1318, New Senate Office Building, Senator Abraham Ribicoff (chairman) presiding
Present: Senators Ribicoff, Gruening and Muskie.
Also present: Jerome Sonosky, staff director; Philip Cook, professional staff member and Esther Newberg, chief clerk, Subcommittee on Executive Organization; James R. Calloway, chief clerk and staff director and Eli E. Nobleman, professional staff member, Committee on Government Operations.
Senator RIBICOFF. The committee will be in order.
We have a time problem here because we go into session at 11 o'clock. The committee is entitled to sit beyond that time. However, I have a responsibility of managing Reorganization Plan No. 1 which is under consideration today, so I will have to leave shortly before 11. Senator Gruening will continue until we all have to go for a vote.
I am really pleased that Secretary Gardner, Secretary Udall, Mr. Seidman, and Mr. Quigley are here together, and I am wondering before we start the formal statement if I couldn't pose a question on something that bothers me and I think probably bothers Senator Muskie and Senator Gruening.
The reason we will do this before the formal statement is because we all will read your formal statements but I think there is a matter of importance here. First, under the leadership of Senator Muskie, there was gathered together for the first time, and I was enthusiastic for the program, Senator Muskie who has been fighting for it all these years to bring the whole water pollution centralized in one place.
Then the Assistant Secretary, Mr. Quigley, has been running that program for just a few short months. It was my understanding that what was then contemplated was to do the overall problem of all water resources, including water pollution, to transfer this to the Office of the Secretary of Interior. We have before us in Secretary Gardner and Secretary Udall two very, very capable men, both dedicated to the public will.
Now what disturbs me, we suddenly find that instead of having this whole package together, as Senator Muskie had fought for all these years, and placing this into one agency, in a few short months it would
seem, unless you people explain to the contrary, that we are fragmenting water pollution after this long fight, and dividing it between Interior and HEW. Now we are all strong for water pollution and we want it to be an effective program, but what worries me, and I say this to my colleagues, is that we suddenly find it is possible that after all these months and all these years, we find the program divided.
I am just wondering while we are all here together whether we couldn't have a discussion of just what are your objectives, what is being achieved, and are we actually dividing, instead of bringing together the program of water pollution. If my colleagues agree that they would like to listen to this discussion first, we will skip the formal statements with a few short minutes that I have, and I would like to be in on this.
I would say this. Let's not observe procedures of protocol. If someone wishes to ask questions, either one of you gentlemen whenever you wish to ask questions, please feel free to chime right in. I think we would like to get this discussion underway.
Senator MUSKIE. I would concur with your suggestions, Mr. Chairman. I think the questions that we have in mind are clear. I think also they are clear to the Secretary. I think it might be helpful at this point, since you have raised the question in this way, to read some portions of a letter which I wrote to Secretary Udall on February 7, some 3 weeks before the reorganization plan was submitted.
I engaged in this dialog with the Secretary and with others in the administration, as the President was considering his decision on this proposed reorganization plan. I had reservations which I stated in this letter, and so, if I may read excerpts from it to highlight my concern, which coincides with the chairman's to some extent. I read as follows:
“The forces of evolution may or may not transfer the program from HEW to Interior, or some other department.” I did not realize at the time that the forces of evolution were going to move so fast.
I do not prejudge that question which in my judgment should be left to the future. This letter is addressed to the question, “Should the program be transferred to Interior now?" A little more than 3 months ago in 1965, after a long and sometimes bitter struggle, the Congress enacted the Water Quality Act which made some substantial changes in the form and direction of the Federal water pollution control program. These included transfer of the program out of the Public Health Service to a new Water Pollution Control Administration in HEW.
Now a little more than 3 months following that action, the President is being asked to dismantle and transfer the Water Pollution Control Administration before it has been fully established. Questions are bound to be raised in the Congress and outside about the wisdom of deciding that an agency is incapable of handling the assignment even before it has been able to assume its responsibilities.
The struggle over another administrative reorganization of the program within less than 6 months of the last transfer will further disrupt the current administration. Many of the new ideas of the program such as water quality standards, improved methods of dealing with combined storm and sanitary sewage, and accelerated development of advanced waste treatment methods would suffer.
We cannot afford to continue to spin our wheels programwise while the country and the Congress plunge into another time consuming controversy and debate over the program's organization. The course of wisdom is to digest the organizational changes already authorized and implement the new program changes as quickly as possible.