Carrol Daily Times Herald from Carroll, Iowa on April 17, 1974 · Page 13
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Carrol Daily Times Herald from Carroll, Iowa · Page 13

Carroll, Iowa
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 17, 1974
Page 13
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Environment is Short of Friends in Wake of the Energy Crisis IrVASHlINvjl UIM —— INO 10n£6r Train tnnlr the imnciml oior> " n mr.nr4«->n«to tWot «^a nrttit onvirnnmpntaHRt'; is intpnrtor) i__— _____ _;„__.. n _ nn _ nnr , _. ,,^ r . i • i !_i_«i__ nraoouMio r.n Tv-iin ili^t t-, r WASHINGTON — No long exactly the huge popular fashion that it briefly was in the early 1970s, the environmental movement in the United States still has substantial intellectual and emotional roots. It remains a force, but its effective influence fluctuates. Just now it is going through a patch of adversity, as was shown recently when the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Russell Train, announced the Administration's proposals to amend a landmark among anti-pollution measures, the Clean Air Act of 1970. Train took the unusual step of announcing that two of the amendments which he was w e dn es da April 17 1974 forwarding to Congress on the ' vulnerable. Congress is by its ,. H , , c ... ' that are now being proposed. It is not only ! 3 the Administration that is Put MOORE REGAL® „ WALL SATIN INTERIOR LATEX FLAT PAINT CEILINGS a/icf WALLS Easy to use. dry in minutes Wide selection ol modern decorator colors Extra high hiding works wonders in one coat Gal. Administration's behalf did not have his support or that of his agency; he did not recommend them and was leaving it to Congress to consider what was best. Train's predecessor was William Ruckelhaus, who took on the direction of the EPA when it was set up late in 1970, went to the Justice. Department last year as deputy to Elliott Richardson, and was summarily removed with Richardson in the Saturday night massacre last October. Both men were his friends and, in matters of public policy, his allies. Environmental policy did have another powerful ally in John Ehrlichman, then President Nixon's chief adviser for domestic affairs, but Ehrlichman, too, is gone, a Watergate casualty in a different sense. Environmental policy, and Train, are short of friends, and the fact shows in the clean air amendments and in the strange manner of their presentation. President Nixon's own attachment to environmental causes, a decisive factor in many a struggle inside the Administration, has tended to fluctuate with the swirling political and economic currents. He entered office in 1969 with a respectable record of campaign utterances but without any prompting from public opinion to treat environmental policy as an urgent matter. During his first year the Administration was content with a sparse amount of lip-service and Congress began to take the lead. Then the opinion polls started to record an extremely sharp rise in the number of Americans who gave pollution and the environment a high place among their interest, and by the beginning of 1970 the President too was putting them high on the list: 'the great question of the seventies', he called it in his Benjamin Moore paints JOE'S PAINT West of Court House Carroll, Iowa Business & Office FIXTURES • Desks • Chairs • Filing cabinets Check With Us STONE'S Hwy. 40 Downtown Carroll State of the Union message in that year — second only to world peace, of course. Benefiting in part from Mr. Nixon's recognition and the benevolent approval of Ehrlichman and a few others in the White House, and in part from the mood of a Congress alive to the agitation from the states and districts, the environmental movement achieved vast legislative and advances in 1970: a water quality improvement act, a clean air act and a solid start on the preparation of a national land use policy. Thus a political and a bureaucratic momentum were established which continued through the following year and beyond it, but President Nixon found something else to think about: inflation began to go through the roof and the balance of international payments through the floor. John Connally came to Washington and the competitive position of the American economy in world markets became a matter of prime concern. The voices of industry, alarmed by the effect of anti-pollution laws on its costs, and of agriculture, fighting the interference of the environmental groups with its level of production, began to get a more sympathetic hearing. What effect the financial preparations for the 1972 presidential campaign had, with the horse-trading which they seem to have involved for concessions to the economic interests in return for campaign contributions, is a matter of speculation still. Similarly it is possible to speculate on the implications of the present threat of impeachment of the President, which may well be forcing him to show more consideration than he might normally show for the interests associated with the right-wing Senators, both Republican and Democratic, whose votes he may need desperately before the year is out. The solid anti-environmental event of the past winter has been, however, the energy scare, which can account along and unaided for a mood of enhanced deference to the interests of petroleum refiners, developers of oil shale deposits, offshore drillers, coal mining enterprises, nuclear' power engineers and gas and electric corporations generally. Enterprises of all these types are among the presumptive beneficiaries of the relaxations of the clean air nature even more open to such pressures than the executive branch. What the environmentalists fear is that the Presidency, the natural protector of the general interest against particular interests, has been weakened in its will or ability to play its proper part. When the Clean Air Act was passed the Administration would have preferred Congress to leave the setting of standards and the ordering of concrete steps in pollution prevention to the EPA's discretion. Congress insisted on putting them into the law, with the result that the Administration now has to ask Congress to defer from 1975 to 1977 the requirement on the automobile industry to produce cars with lower exhaust emissions. The emergency energy bill, which President Nixon vetoed because of its oil price provisions, would have given him power to order electricity generating companies to change from oil-burning to coal-burning. He now asks for the same power in the clean air amendments, together with power to suspend the air-pollution requirements until 1980 for power plants subjected to such an order. One of the proposed amendments which Train refuses to support would give way to the resistance of the electric power and other industries to installing scrubbers to clean their furnace smoke. They would be permitted instead to rely on tall smokestacks and on reducing their operations in adverse weather, the so-called "intermittent" controls which the environmentalists declare to be practically no controls at all. The other amendment, even more heatedly opposed by the environmentalists, is intended to smooth the path for coal and oil shale development in empty regions of the West where the air at present is almost totally clean. The Administration wants the law relaxed so that the long-range energy program can go forward unhindered. Train does not. Curiously enough, in the heated discussion within the Administration during the last few weeks his opponent on this point was not the Federal Energy Office, which might be expected to have the strongest interest in promoting coal and oil production at the expense of the environment, but the Office of Management and Budget. So strong we re the pressures on Train that he was fairly widely expected to resign, but he fought for his standards with enough success to enable him to stay. This is, however, only one engagement in a running battle that will continue. Fire Loss Set at $1 Million DYERSVILLE. Iowa I AP )— An estimated SI million damage was caused early Tuesday when fire swept through a Dyersville building containing three firms, officials report. The fire left 45 persons without jobs. The blaze gutted a 20.000- square-foot building housing Curran Hydraulics, the Noble Corporation which manufactures plastic industrial parts, and Frericks Transport Co. 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