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All these sources produce the following burden of pollutants in the air:
1. 230,000 tons a year of "particulate matter" (soot, flyash, etc.).
5. 1,536,000 tons a year of carbon monoxide. These are the major pollutants in the air environment, though not the only ones. Together, they produce in one year 730 pounds of pollution for each New Yorker.
The major elements, as the Task Force sees them, of a far-reaching and effective campaign against air pollution in New York City, are as follows:
1. The main pressure and energy for control of air pollution have to come from an alert and enlightened public.
II. The fight against air pollution must be incorporated into a comprehensive plan and program for control of all environmental hazards. This program should be related to overall city planning, including urban renewal.
III. The city must begin by cleaning its own house. The city is a major offender and must obey its own laws.
IV. The constant concern of the city must be for the health and welfare of its people.
V. Clean air objectives should be carefully defined. These must be related to a regular, accurate supply of data on air quality, on movement of pollutants in the air, and on their effect on the environment.
VI. The fight against air pollution must be comprehensive and must address itself both to control of fuels (input), and the control of smoke, dirt, and poisons coming out of the stacks (output).
VII. Effective enforcement requires scientific measurement of emissions and administrative penalties for violators.
VIII, A combination of tax incentives and vigorous enforcement can help to accelerate the development of a major industry in the field of pollution-control equipment.
IX. Consolidated Edison should use cleaner fuels, institute major modernization of existing equipment, and at the same time plan for power-generating facilities outside the city.
X. The use of fuel oil or coal for heating purposes--whether in private residences or apartment houses or power-generating stations or public buildingsmust be carefully governed with respect to sulfur content.
XI. The City must have a total plan for waste and garbage disposal that includes a ban on open burning of refuse materials and rigid control of all incinerator operations, public and private. The city must also consider possible alternatives to incineration.
XII. The City can act to reduce pollution caused by gasoline and diesel engines even though it has no licensing powers over automobiles in general.
XIII, New York City exists in a geographical complex of cities--some of which are outside New York State and must therefore coordinate its efforts with State, regional and Federal agencies. The City should seek its full share of Federal and State aid for combating air pollution.
XIV. The City must seek new, advanced approaches and techniques in the fight against air pollution.
Not all these fourteen elements of a comprehensive program can be undertaken immediately, nor can they all be fully implemented within a stated period of time. But they all belong to an action program. The program logically calls for a three-stage approach.
The first stage comprises those measures that can be taken immediately by the City government-without waiting for additional surveys or the development of new technology. The first stage also includes application of existing technology, and consent agreements by private organizations whose operations now result in substantial air pollution violations. An important aspect of the first stage is for research and planning required to carry out later stages of the program.
The second stage comprises those measures which can be made effective within a period from two to five years. In particular, the second stage involves improved air monitoring, elaboration of data-handling systems, specific abatement plans, and the general installation of more effective pollution-control equipment.
The third stage is long-range and comprises measures which require more than five years to become fully effective. Among such measures and programs are a new and fully operational system for disposal of total wastes, extension of pollu
tion-free systems of transportation, and the large-scale development, under proper safeguards outside the city, of nuclear installations for generating power, etc.
We are reasonably optimistic in New York about being able to reduce very substantially the pollution that originates inside the city limits. These are some of the things that have already been done or are now underway:
1. The City Council has passed new air-pollution control legislation directed mainly at a reduction of the sulfur content in soft coal and fuel oil; at a ban on new incinerators in apartment houses; and at ungoverned operation of existing incinerators.
2. The Task Force on Air Pollution has completed an agreement with Consolidated Edison which last year burned ten billion pounds of soft coal and eight hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil. Under the terms of this agreement, Consolidated Edison will shut down its antiquated stations inside the city and will present to the city within six months a plan for developing a substantial portion of its generating capacity outside the city, bringing in power over transmission lines. One of the aims here is to avoid, if possible, taking those measures that would cut down on air pollution while adding to the burden of unemployment in the coal-mining regions. For this reason, the city has encouraged Consolidated Edison to explore the possibility of mine-mouth operations or other remote operations which would avoid harmful effects on Appalachia, etc. 3. New York City will embark on a far-reaching program to upgrade its incinerators and install air-pollution control equipment.
4. The Task Force has met with representatives of the coal and oil industries and has been instrumental in instituting research programs for new techniques in the recovery of of sufur from stacks, and for methods of reducing sulfur content from fuels.
5. While New York City does not possess authority over automobiles, it does have control over a large feet of buses and some ten thousand other city vehicles. It also licenses approximately 14,000 taxicabs. The Task Force is now testing electrostatic precipitator tailpipe devices on several taxicabs. It is also having electrostatic precipitator tailpipe devices built for testing on buses. The results of those tests, if favorable, may be significant in general terms.
6. New York City is now drawing up plans for a meeting of pollution-control officials from various East Coast cities for the purpose of considering ways in which the licensing power of the cities may be instrumental in bringing about a change in the design of taxicabs with lighter weight and less horsepower and, therefore, creating less of a pollution problem.
7. The fight against air pollution in New York City will be part of a larger fight against all environmental hazards. The most important recommendations in the Task Force Report to the Mayor called for the creation of an Environmental Control Board, with authority over air pollution, water pollution, noise and congestion. Threats to the environment are interconnected and must be fought on an interconnected basis.
I'd like, if I may, to develop the point that it is impossible to separate the problem of air pollution from other environmental hazards. There is a direct connection, for example, between the way the nation disposes of its garbage and wastes and the filth and poisons in our streams, rivers and air. Whether We get rid of garbage through sewage or through burning, all we are doing is changing its form and producing a problem of disposal in another medium, whether in water or air. There is a direct connection, too, between the condi. tions of our crops and the amount of lead, oxides of nitrogen, oxides of sulfur. carbon monoxide and polynuclear hydrocarbons, including benzopyrene in the air.
The American people are involved in a war today far more deadly than the war in Vietnam, but very few of them seem aware of it; even fewer of them are doing ansthing about it. The war is being waged against the environment. Land, air and water are the basics of that environment. All these basics are now under unremitting attack.
Consider the assault on the land. Americans are possessed of an incredible delusion. They believe they have a limitless supply of food. They have seen So many pictures of storage bins overflowing with grain that it hasn't occurred to them that their abundance may now be shrinking and that they may be headed for a food shortage. Each year for the past two decades more than a million acres have been taken out of cultivation in order to find space for spreading cities. Another million acres each year have been covered by broad cement ribbons of new superhighways. Meanwhile, millions more Americans have to be fed each year, and our foreign commitments are growing. Unless there is a
stark reversal, the downward curve of land available for growing food and the upward curve of American and world needs will cross sometime within the next six or seven years. The dollar deficit that now concerns the government will be as nothing compared to the prospective food deficit, given a continuation of the present trends.
Even without respect to food supplies, the gouging-out of forests and farmlands has already inflicted grave damage. Whether on broad new highways carved out of the countryside or on speedways cutting through the hearts of the cities, automotive vehicles are spewing into the atmosphere each year hundreds of thousands of tons of gases and chemical wastes that are hostile to the delicate lung tissue of human beings and other animals, and that devitalize or destroy the crops on which life depends. Under the Federal Clean Air Act, to take effect in 1968, all new automobiles will have to be equipped with special pollution-control devices. This is all to the good. Unfortunately, the bulk of the car population will be unaffected unless the States pass effective legislation to bring all cars, trucks and buses under control. Another serious difficulty is that the new Federal legislation calls for a device that is directed against hydrocarbons but that actually may have the effect of increasing the highly dangerous oxides of nitrogen in automobile exhausts.
It make little difference how much progress may be made in other areas of attack on pollution ; unless there is effective control over gasoline and diesel engines, the larger fight against pollution will fail. No American city has been more vigorous and effective than Los Angeles in reducing poisons and filth caused by incineration, open burning and heating furnaces. For a time the manmade gray fog that lay like an incubus over Los Angeles began to break up and people could again see a blue canopy overhead. But the growth of the freeway and of automotive traffic has been cancelling out the gains produced by the tamed chimneys. Today, Los Angeles is once again cursed by almost continual smog. The special devices designed to cut down on the exhaust poisons have fallen far short of expectations. Whether because it is difficult to enforce the laws, or because the devices themselves are inadequate, or because there is such a large used car and truck population, Los Angeles is so far losing the war against pollution caused by combustion engines.
I congratulate this Committee on the Clean Air Act of December 17, 1963 (Public Law 88–206) and the supplementary legislation, The Clean Air Act Amendments and Solid Waste Disposal Act of October 20, 1965. (Public Law 89–272) As this Committee considers additional measures for combatting pollution, I trust the following suggestions may have merit:
1. Studies should be instituted immediately to see whether the blow-by and after-burner devices required under the Clean Air Act may not actually have the effect of releasing additional quantities of the high oxides of nitrogen. It is important to get rid of the hydrocarbons, but if the process by which this is achieved also brings about the unintended release of nitric oxides, then a substantial new problem will be created.
2. The Congress should extend the requirements for effective air-pollution control devices to all vehicles, regardless of age.
3. The provisions for new research should also be addressed to the develop ment of chemical additives to be used in all fuels that now produce pollutants. This would include fuels used for jet aircraft engines (increasingly, airports are becoming the hottest pollution spots in the nation); for automobile, bus and truck engines; for heating furnaces; and for steam and power-generating stations. The experience with anti-pollution additives for fuel so far is far from conclusive, but it warrants substantial additional research.
4. The Congress should consider prescribing permissible emission standards for automobile low enough to serve as incentive for the design of vehicles with substantially less weight and horsepower and with maximum efficiency and safety features.
5. The retention of the 1214 per centum limitation per state of Section 104(c) does not appear to give proper emphasis to the magnitude of the problem of our major metropolitan areas, particularly the New York City area.
6. Individual emergency kits for acute air-pollution episodes should be designed by the United States Public Health Service, in order to facilitate production and use in hospitals, schools and on a general basis, if necessary. Spray packs containing solutions of sodium hydrate can be devised for neutralizing indoor areas against the effects of a high concentration of sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide in the air.
7. Because smoke drift is interstate, the Federal Government should prescribe maximum tolerable limits for noxious gases emanating from smokestacks of large and intermediate size. It should require effective air-pollution control equipment on all such stacks.
8. The United States Government should seek to make control of air pollution and environmental hazards in general, a prime concern of the United Nations. All the world's large cities now suffer from filth and poisons in the air. The fight to control environmental dangers cannot be confined to a single nation anymore than it can be confined to a single city within a nation. The human race may not be tied together politically or culturally, but the one thing all the world's people have in common is a finite amount of land, an air envelope that is rapidly filling up with dirt and poison gases, and an uneven water supply that is largely unprotected against infection by sewage and noxious wastes.
Our industrial civilization has been developed by human intelligence. The same intelligence now has the obligation to make this world safe and fit for man.
Senator Muskie. Thank you very much, Mr. Cousins, for your excellent statement, and especially for the eight suggestions contained in the last three or four pages.
We will ask the Public Health Service to comment on these suggestions when they testify next week, so that we can get the benefit of their thinking I think your suggestions are obviously thoughtful and constructive.
I may say on the question of oxides of nitrogen, although it can never be regarded as a completely resolved question, we were assured at the time the legislation was being considered, before it was finally enacted, that the net result would not be an increase in the oxides of nitrogen.
But again I repeat that this is not a question to be regarded as closed at any time. I think we do need to continue to consider it.
On the second suggestion which you made with respect to air pollution control devices on all vehicles, this, of course, raises the question of what to do about used cars.
Frankly, last year's bill was designed as an approach to the used car problem. The faster we could get the new cars under control, we would make a beginning on the used cars, because 50 percent of used cars are 5 years old. If we can get the new car problem started, in 5 years we should have half of the used cars under control, assuming that the control that is applied is effective.
In our hearings in California, California was very pessimistic about being able to develop devices that could be tailored to the great variations in used car conditions. We have not yet been given much of an answer on the technological part in dealing with that problem.
It may be that by the time we get a technological answer, the used cars will have been equipped with the new car control. But these are all excellent suggestions, and we will pursue them.
May I say in addition that I think we will receive for the files the summary report of the Mayor's Task Force on Air Pollution. I think it has particular pertinence as a blueprint of action of our largest metropolitan areas to the problem, except the meteorological conditions may make it the worst in the country:
One question the staff, which has had an opportunity to look at your report more closely than I, asked me to raise is the recommendations found on page 18 and again on page 35 of that report.
Mr.Cousins. Is this the full report?
If this is the intent, is this a realistic possibility?
Mr. Cousins. You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that this section of the report was directed to a possibility of an acute episode under which it would be necessary to proceed on a number of fronts for the purpose of cutting down on pollutants in the air.
This is only an emergency procedure. Under emergency conditions, people should stay out of cars; they should also cut down on electricity, in order to relieve the load on the power-generating stations.
This is not a general rule for ordinary circumstances.
With respect to the earlier point you made, Mr. Chairman, about used cars, the device that we are now testing in New York City is inexpensive and easily adaptable to all cars, new or old, and can be very quickly installed.
It was with this in mind that we suggested the possibility that old cars need not be exempt from the requirements. Any car is an interstate carrier.
Senator MUSKIE. We will follow the developments with respect to that closely.
Any information you can give us at any time that might suggest that legislation ought to be triggered, we will be happy to receive.
Senator Boggs. Mr. Chairman, I certainly want to congratulate Mr. Cousins on a very constructive presentation this morning.
I certainly wish you well in all that you are doing. I especially want to commend you for recognizing and pointing out that the city must clean up its own house.
I feel that way about Federal Government installations, too, and the committee feels that way. And one of the best educational programs, I would think, as far as industry and the private sector is concerned is to see the city cleaning up its own house.
I congratulate you on that.
Mr. Cousins, you mentioned that you thought it would be desirable if we could spell out more specifically our objectives, our goals in the clean air effort, so that we know what we are shooting at.
I agree with that concept. So far as I am concerned, our problem has been lack of research to know how far and how specific we can set it out. I think the studies you have undertaken in this report will make a great contribution toward this objective. As we go along, we will gain more information on this.
I was just commenting on that. I was not asking you a question.
The other point you made I was very impressed with. ‘I was impressed with your whole report, but when you mentioned the combined effects of pollutants, rather than just pick out one pollutant and try to measure its effects, we don't get the whole picture. I think that is a very significant contribution and one which our research should be directed to.
I hope we can step up research in this field, because of the urgency of the matter, and if we are going to win the race at all, we have got to.
I would like to ask you this question. When you refer to air pollutant control equipment, like on stacks and the other things, as a result of your studies, do you find that industry in making this equipment and the approach to this equipment is moving forward with a sense of urgency about it, too?