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EPA - Nor*hw«t Arkoriat TtMIS, Sc»., Sept. 25, 1971...
Nor*hw«t Arkoriat TtMIS, Sc»., Sept. 25, 1971 ANKANS** . EPA Wages Tough Battle Clean Air r Land And Water By SUSAN FOGG rimes Washington Bureau WASHINGTON -- In less than (Ight months* the Environmental Environmental Protection Agency .(EPA) has earned a reputation as. a-tough advocate ot cleaner air, land a n d .water for America. Congressional crusaders f o r the environment and conservation conservation groups describe the EPA and its y o u n g administrator William D. Ruckelshaus as dedicated, concerned, knowledgeable knowledgeable and energetic. But these same admirers point out that the EPA, created by President Nixon's executive order in December of 1970, wages its battle to improve the environment with heavy o d d s against success. v The obstacles include, according according to these observers, the magnitude of the job. organization organization and administrative difficulties, difficulties, a vague mandate, powerful powerful enemies, some within the Nixon administration, and the changing winds of politics and public opinion. . A n y evaluation of the EPA's performance must be tempered by the scope of the task it shouldered with its formal beginning beginning in February. . T h e EPA has the giant responsibility responsibility for establishing standards o( public safety for air and water pollution, noise abatement, pesticides, solid waste disposal and radiation. VAST BACKLOG ' Y e a r s of neglect by the federal federal government in all these areas has resulted in. a vast b'acklog of problems facing the EPA, a spokesman for Sen Edmund S. Muskie, D-Maine : says. '."Air pollution generally ranks as the nation's number one environmental problem. There are some 87 million private automobiles in the U.S. am each spews up to a ton of pol futants into the air each year Transportation of all kinds ac counts for 42 per cent of aii pollution, with industries, pow er plants, incinerators and th like contributing the rest. 'Although the National ^yild life Federation, in its Environ mental Quality Index, give (he EPA credit for helping t Check the deterioration nn t h field ot water pollution, t h problems still remain. Industrj causes 65 per cent of wate pollution. Municipal waste rank next with 20 per cent an agriculture represents 15 pe cent. "Observers credit the EP/ with a vigorous attack on ai and water pollution. The agen cy has almost doubled th funds available for local, stat and regional water treatmen facilities over the next thre years. Employing a little known 189 statute, the EPA now require industries to file for permit-! to discharge wastes in navi gable rivers and harbors. -Thi 'has allowed the EPA to deny permits if the industry is no meeting water quality stan dards. The Clean Air Act of 197 gave the EPA authority to. se standards and deadlines fp meeting them for auto emis sions. All cars sold in the .U.S after 1975 must have reduce emissions by 90 per cent of th present level. Similar stan dards are expected for trucks planes and buses. The Act also requires t h EPA to set federal air pollu Upn. standards and to encourag cities a n d states to establis their own. If the states do n act. then the federal Gtandarc go into effect. A Clean Water bill, n o before the House a n d Senal Public Works Committee would require the EPA to c the same job of setting and e forcing standards for water a for air. It would also inoreas the federal share in wate treatment projects from 50 as much as 75 per cent a n authorize $20 billion over fiv years to the water clean-u program. - Much to the surprise of co servation groups, the EPA h; moved strongly into the area 'noise pollution, which it shar '.with the Labor Department u der the new Job Safety Act. ; In areas of radiation an jiuclear energy, tha EPA quired cooling towers f o r n clear power plants built 'Lake Michigan. It is also takin closer.look at pesticide use an was traditional w i t h , jriculture Departmen. Some critics say EPA could e more funds and improved pcedures so it could m o 'iflly against polluters. But ey acknowledge Ruckelshaus as,done a, good job it) a .short me 'pulling together a.n prgan- alion"drawri'from 15 different fencies with some-"-5,700' en oyees. . . - . . . - . MAJOR MAJOR PROBLEM One major problem w a s nd enough top administrators staff EPA and to resist pres- re to name deserving Repub- cans without an environmental ackground to the positions. PA's 10 regional offices a nly now being set up. Ruckelshaus, w h o ' s round as an Indiana s t ficial and _ Senate candidate d not necessarily recommend '.m. for the job, has spent a reat deal of time traveling i acquaint himself with t h oncerns of environmentalists. Once its internal problems re straightened out the. EPA lay begin to encounter o istacles stemming f r o m agueness of is legal,'status nd jurisdiction. As a creature of the W h ouse the EPA is a credit to le Nixon administration njoys the status and public at- ention of that position. But has not been established by w as have the other endent federal agencies - ederal Trade, Power and /ommunications Commissions. The Office of Economic Op ortunily, -Lyndon Johnson's P h i t e House office to gainst poverty, has declined nto obscurity, a fate that may wait the EPA without statu- ory authority. · Lloyd Peppling of the Sierra Hub,-says this leaves the EPA pen to pressures a truely in- ependent agency would n o ace. The EPA's jurisdiction is al- o cloudy. It has no say o areas of environmental impact hat do affect its responsibili- ies. For instance, the EPA no oversight over the construe- ion of- highways; dams or industrial industrial parks that 'could conv plicate the problems it is slip, losed to solve. .- - - . . ' OVERLAPS · Its Jurisdiction also overlaps with that of-other departments and there are few clear cut guidelines on EPA's authority n areas of conflict. It reviews he environmental impact statements statements that federal · agencies nust make on new projects, las no veto power. It may not order, the Justice Department Department to take action against wlluters. EPA · officials · acknowledge hese problems, but point o :hat. as. a new agency with a )road mandate, such conflicts Yill takf time and experience to resolve. There still remains the prob em pf stiff opposition to new jollulion measures that EPA's riends say its is encountering rom businesses and industries iffected by new regulations. This conflict belweenibusiness profits arid environmental concerns concerns exists within'the adrhinis- ration, these spokesmen say, Commerce .Secretary Maurice itans '-led the -administration's unsuccessful fight against 1975 auto emission -deadlines. -But- more than an in-house r eud, environmentalists fear that as business raises its to meet pollution control costs, public enlhusiams for their crusade will fade. Many of the spokesman feel its is-only in the last year two that the environment has come into its own as a issue.-If. pollution costs are added to inflation and a lagging economy, . President Nixon, the Congress and the Democratic Democratic Presidential hopefuls may find it imperative to the economy ahead of the environment. environment. · A spokesman for Sen, Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., one of long-time leaders in the fight for cleaning up the environment put it this way: "The real question Is what's going to happen when environmental environmental issues come against economic ones. Somehow there is a tendency for the environmental environmental issues to g e t lost. don't think that's happened yet, but it's what we have always feared." -. 97 S on a n

Clipped from
  1. Northwest Arkansas Times,
  2. 25 Sep 1971, Sat,
  3. Page 12

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