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to carry on effective programs in this critical area, this is an area which, as Senator Muskie has pointed out many times, involves a partnership of the Federal Government, the States, and the communities. The Water Resources Planning Act sets up not only the Water Resources Council under the chairmanship of the Secretary of the Interior, but sets up commissions which are Federal-State on a river basin basis, to get cooperative planning and administration of our water resources programs.
We have made substantial progress in the role of the Department of the Interior in moving forward in establishing its role as in effect the natural resources agency of the Government, at least with the leadership role.
Some 20 or 25 years ago the Department of the Interior was, for the most part, necessarily fully western oriented. It was a department of miscellaneous activities. The Office of Education, for example, was in the Department of the Interior in the 1930's. Our public works programs were in the Department of the Interior. A large number of miscellaneous activities. Today, clearly the Department of the Interior has the leadership role in outdoor recreation. The land and water conservation fund and the President's instruction is not to just serve rural areas. As I remember, the message said that these facilities should get priority to serve the needs of people in urban communities. So we have been clarifying the role of Interior.
Certainly I would be the last one here to say we have solved all of the problems in this area. We have not. But where you identify steps which are not inconsistent with some overall objective which we have, and I think there is general agreement here, and which are needed now, I think it is a mistake to postpone that to do the much more difficult overall job.
The answer isn't always just to transfer everything into a single department. I don't think the nature of our programs today are such that you can always get within a single agency everything related to a particular area of activity.
Senator RIBICOFF. I would appreciate if you could get your answers to these questions in in about 10 days, and that, without objection, the statement will be made part of the record. (See p. 58.)
Thank you gentlemen, very much,
STATEMENT OF THOMAS L. KIMBALL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION
Mr. KIMBALL. Mr. Chairman, I am Thomas L. Kimball, executive director of the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation, with headquarters here in Washington, D.C., is a private, nonprofit organization which employs educational means to attain conservation objectives. From an organizational point of view, the federation has affiliates in 49 States which, in turn, are composed of local clubs and individuals. When combined with associate members and other supporters of the National Wildlife Federation, these number an estimated 2 million persons. .
We appreciate the invitation and opportunity to appear here today to comment briefly upon Reorganization Plan No. 2. May I pause
here and pay tribute to Senator Muskie particularly for his intense interest in this whole field of water pollution abatement and for the leadership that he has given through the Public Works Committee in the Senate, which has, in a large measure, provided the stimulus in this entire field. We pay tribute to you, Senator Muskie, for those efforts.
Senator MUSKIE. Thank you, Mr. Kimball.
Mr. KIMBALL. For the benefit of committee members who may not be familiar with our organization, the control of water pollution has been a major objective of the National Wildlife Federation throughout its existence. In our opinion, the contamination of our environment, pollution of the waters and the air and the land-probably constitutes the greatest natural resource problem of our time. We have fought unceasingly for vigorous programs encouraging water pollution abatement; programs accompanied by strong law-enforcement authority when aïl other means fail.
Viewed from the long-range aspect, conservationists have made much progress over which they are encouraged even though the population increased is causing new pollution problems daily.
Probably the most important single piece of legislation in the water pollution control field was enacted only a decade ago, in 1956. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Public Law 84-660), substantially strengthened in 1961 and in 1965, is the basic landmark leg. islation. It sets out a comprehensive program of research, provides grants to municipalities for the construction of waste treatment plants, allows funds to help the States finance their own programs, and gives added authority to the Federal Government for enforcing laws to clean up dirty water. Conservationists have supported all of these strengthening measures.
Mr. Chairman, we were pleased when the Federal program was elevated from status of a branch to that of a division, even though it still remained an underemphasized program within one bureau of the Public Health Service. We have been gratified that the Congress has been generous in appropriations for the program. We endorsed concepts in the Water Quality Act of 1965, enacted by the Congress and signed into law last year. Of course, this act establishes a new Administration and sets up a process whereby standards of water quality can be established. This, too, is progress.
Most of all, however, we have been encouraged so tremendously in these last few months by the demonstrated interest on the parts of the President and administrators of executive branch agencies, by leaders in the Congress, and by the public. Overwhelming bond issue approvals prove that water pollution control is good politics, and that the general public demands and is willing to pay for clean water. The National Wildlife Federation through the Chilton Research Service of Philadelphia, Pa., recently surveyed by telephone a random sample of our 2 million membership. To the statement, “Water pollution problems must be solved even if it means raising taxes," 96 percent of those surveyed by telephone said that they were in agreement. So here you have the people of America, at least from our survey, saying that 96 percent are in favor of cleaning up this Nation's water supply, even if it means raising their own taxes, and I think this is a significant trend.
The question no longer is “Shall we control pollution ?" but "How best do we go about controlling pollution ?” We are confident that our Nation is standing on the threshold of major breakthroughs in cleaning up these despicable conditions. We also believe the proper organization of the Federal program, under the current law, is of utmost importance.
Undoubtedly, the Congress will want to consider several points with respect to the proposed Reorganization Plan No. 2.
First, there is a major question about moving functions of water pollution control into a department that includes agencies dealing with interests which pollute. This question has been raised here many times by the committee. The Bureau of Reclamation, for example, deals with irrigation return water which sometimes is heavily polluted with pesticides and minerals. The Bureau of Mines also deals with the mining industry, a major source of pollution in many parts of the country.
The Secretary of Interior yesterday and I believe again this morning gave the committee assurances that the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration will be given support at the secretarial level to work with the States in developing a sound cooperative program, both with relation to developing water standards of the highest possible quality and to vigorous law enforcement.
I might point out that we are confident that the Congress intended to initiate a strong program in the establishment of water quality standards when it enacted the Water Quality Act of 1965. The States, of course, are being given the first opportunity to establish high standards of water quality. Personally, I am convinced that the State governments soon will be out of the water pollution control “business" unless they do adopt standards of quality high enough for water to be used and reused for all legitimate purposes, including fish, wildlife, and recreation. We are convinced that the public wants clean water and will demand that the Federal Government provide it if the States do not. If the States fail to act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration must be strong and ready to carry out these commitments.
All too often in the past, water quality standards were set with relation to economic and social factors—or pressures—rather than upon sound water quality criteria. Under such conditions, few toxicological problems were solved and standards frequently became licenses to pollute–rather than instruments for cleaning up the water. This is why we hope the new Pollution Control Administration will be encouraged at the congressional and executive level to set the highest possible standards.
We hope the Congress gets assurances that the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration will give the States a “floor," or low tolerance of pollution beyond which no stream will be allowed to deteriorate. That "floor" should be a pollution load no greater than that which is occurring today. We recognize that standards for a wild river well can be different than for an industrial stream, but the States should be informed that the ultimate objective of this program is to provide a national water supply of such quality that it will be usable for all legitimate purposes, for domestic use, for industry, for agriculture, for fish and wildlife, and for recreation. Ideally, the
Water Pollution Control Administration's motto should be, "Every drop of effluent treated before being returned to the general public
The Water Pollution Control Administration's creed should read, “No one has an inherent right to use our Nation's waterways as a sewer, and industry should recognize that the treatment of waste is a part of the cost of doing business.
I might add here, Mr. Chairman, that there are many ways in which industry can be encouraged to participate wholeheartedly in this program. A number of incentives have already been mentioned, but whether or not it is in the form of a tax writeoff or an effluent tax, in the final analysis it is the general public who is going to foot the bill, whether it be through the increased cost of the product that is manufactured, or whether it is paid by Federal aid through the income tax that he pays, or whether it is a bond issue where he pays more on his property tax. It is the individual that is going to pay for the program, and I repeat again for emphasis that our survey showed that 96 percent of the people are ready for that. So again it is a matter of procedure and not a matter of desire on the part of the American public. The people want clean water.
Second, we are confident that the public wants a strong, vigorous, and impartial administration of the Federal program. It is our contention that this can be achieved best through status of an Administration separate from other bureaus or offices. We should not like to see this Administration consolidated with Geological Survey, the Office of Water Resources Research, or any other agency.
Third, we believe that the national problem of water pollution is of such magnitude that it merits the undivided, full-time attention of an Assistant Secretary to whom the chief administering officer, the Commissioner, is responsible. We were pleased to hear Secretary Udall give Senator Muskie assurance that the work of this Assistant Secretary would not be diluted with other assignments. In fact, we are gratified that pollution control will be a matter of major personal interest for Secretary Udall, himself.
The President identified river basins as the naturally functioning units for considering the water pollution program. We are hopeful that our large seacoast urban areas will not be forgotten in the river basin plan, and that there might be some way to coordinate the urban and city problems with the river basin concept, and I was pleased to hear Secretary Udall this morning say that he planned to consider it as in the concept. We are aware that the Interior Department has responsibility for river basin planning and there is much logic for locating the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration in that Department, although we agree with what has already been expressed by the committee that a more propitious time could have been chosen for the transfer.
One other relevant matter comes to our attention—the emphasis on public health. I should like to assure the subcommittee that our organization would not sanction any lessening of interest in public health aspects of pollution control. In our opinion, public health must be the first and foremost consideration wherever the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration is located. However, we do believe that the concern for public health does not go far enough in giving consideration to other uses of water. Water can be made sa fe to drink
even while still possessing undesirable qualities which destroy it for recreational uses. It is our conviction that the ultimate objective should be to develop clean water for all legitimate uses.
Mr. Chairman, in concluding these remarks, the subcommittee has done an admirable job in developing a comprehensive record about clarifying the intent of the Secretary of the Interior toward assignments in water research and the development of comprehensive plans.
We also wonder about changes this reorganization plan may make in responsibilities of committees of the Congress. I should take the occasion to express our confidence in competence of the respective Committees on Public Works in this field. They have been able to give us leadership and direction and to obtain the necessary funds to keep this program moving ahead and give it the momentum that it has had to date, and I am hopeful that congressional leadership will see to it that because of the transfer this does not necessarily mean a change in committee assignment.
Senator MUSKIE. We will try to see to that.
Senator RIBICOFF. I would say, with Senator Muskie on this committee, I imagine that will be assured.
Mr. KIMBALL. Fine, that concludes my remarks, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you for the opportunity.
Senator RIBICOFF. Mr. Kimball, thank you very much for your excellent statement. It is most helpful. I have no questions.
Senator MUSKIE. I would like to thank Mr. Kimball for his statement. I know that you and other conservation organizations have had questions about this reorganization plan, so I am interested in getting you reaction to the testimony as it has unfolded in the last 2 days. I take it that you have been reassured by what you have heard from the Secretary and other administration witnesses.
Mr. KIMBALL. We have had some of the same reservations that have been so ably expressed by you and Senator Ribicoff, as to the timing and maybe even some of the wisdom of the reorganization plan, but hearing the testimony, particularly from Secretary Udall, we are much more assured that at least as long as he directs the program, that the importance will not be minimized, and that if the reorganization does go through, we are looking forward to the continued interest on his part and a real program toward cleaning up the Nation's water supply.
Senator MUSKIE. Let me ask this question. In the event a resolution of disapproval were introduced, and I don't know whether it will be, and I don't intend to introduce it, would you support the plan or tend to support the resolution of disapproval ?
Mr. KIMBALL. I would say that after hearing the testimony, we would tend to support the plan.
Senator MUSKIE. I thought it might be useful to have you on the record on this point because I don't know what is going to happen. As I say, I don't think the resolution will be introduced, but if it is, I think that your position and the position of other conservation organizations would be most pertinent.
Mr. KIMBALL. Prior to having heard the testimony these past 2 days, and in the House, we probably could not have made that statement, but having been reassured now by the committee and Secretary