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Although we agree with the basic intent of H.R. 6981, we do not feel it's workable legislation because of the time element Mr. Chairman. I would like to submit my statement for the record but be accorded the privilege of addressing a few remarks to HR 12232 if I may, and just try to be as short as I can.
Mr. MULTER. Certainly your statement will be made part of the record at this point.
(The prepared statement follows.)
STATEMENT OF JOHN A. MCGRATH, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FUELS RESEARCH
COUNCIL, AUGUST 10, 1967 Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is John A. McGrath. I am Executive Vice President of Fuels Research Council, Inc., with offices at 1130 17th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Fuels Research Council is an affiliate of the National Coal Association. As an affiliate of NCA, it speaks for the principal commercial coal producers and sales companies of the nation. In addition several of the major coal hauling railroads are members of Fuels Research.
Although we in the coal industry agree with the basic intent of H.R. 6981, we do not feel it is workable legislation. We do believe, however, that a single Air Pollution Control Agency or Board should be established in the District of Columbia. We believe that this agency or board should be empowered to establish and enforce rules and regulations.
Section 5. directs the Commissioners to conduct studies and develop plans for prevention or abatement of air pollution. This is not a job for the Commissioners. They are already heavily burdened with the everyday problems of the District. In addition, they may not be sufficiently technically oriented to pass on regulations dealing with such a complex problem as air pollution, its abatement and control.
It is, we suggest, far better to set up a Board or Agency comprised of people knowledgeable in the field of air pollution. This Board or Agency should, as stated earlier, have the authority to adopt rules and regulations and the power to enforce them. However, interested parties should be accorded a hearing before regulations are promulgated with of course the opportunity afforded aggrieved parties to seek relief in the courts as Section 16 of H.R. 6981 provides.
Because of the many complex factors which must be considered in seeking to improve air quality, it would be most appropriate to have a technical advisory committee to the Board composed of qualified representatives of the public, government and business.
In authorizing any regulation, it is wise to know existing conditions, whether a problem exists, and if so, its dimensions., The Public Health Service is presently conducting a study which it hopes to conclude this fall to try to determine the pollutants in the ambient air, the air we all breathe in the District of Columbia, and their sources.
After this has been determined, the Board could then go forward with proper steps to regulate air pollution in the District. In striving to achieve desired goals of improved air quality it is essential that the regulations be economically and technically feasible. It is therefore essential that a technical advisory committee be established so that the Air Pollution Board or Agency will have at its disposal consensus of opinion from people knowledgeable in all aspects of air pollution.
We have reviewed Senate Bill S. 1941 introduced on June 13, 1967 by Mr. Tydings of Maryland for himself, Mr. Morse and Mr. Spong and referred to the Committee on the District of Columbia. This is the type of legislation which should be enacted. S. 1941 adopts the concept of establishing an Air Pollution Board and an Advisory Committee much along the lines we have outlined above. We respectfully recommend that similar legislation be introduced in the House since we are firmly convinced that the establishment of an Air Pollution Board with strong powers and duties is the best way to cope with control over our environment.
As you know better than I, it is unwise to write specific regulations into law, the better practice is to authorize regulations which can be altered as required to meet changing needs and new technology. Therefore we oppose embedding into law specific regulatory limitations on alleged air pollutants or potential air pollution sources as H.R. 6981 does in its sections 6 through 15. For example, in Section 9, entitled "Emissions Prohibited,” the bill sets forth specific limitations on opacity of plumes from stacks, limits use of fuels to those containing no more than 1% sulfur and contains other restrictive provisions.
Without arguing the merits of these proposals, let me point out that the coal and electric utility industries are spending millions of dollars to develop means to remove sulfur dioxide from stack gases. If we succeed—as we believe we may in a few years—it would be to no avail under H.R. 6981, which limits fuel to 1% sulfur, no matter if the stack gases are entirely free of sulfur. We would have to come back to this committee and ask you to put the law in step with technology.
With me today is Mr. Joseph W. Mullan, Assistant Director, Technical Services Department of the National Coal Association and a Vice President of the Air Pollution Control Association. We are prepared to discuss the specifics of the legislation found in Section 6 through 15 if you wish us to address ourselves to that subject matter.
We respectfully urge, Mr. Chairman, that your Committee not report this bill out of committee. Instead we in the coal industry urge you to consider legislation along the lines of S. 1941. Towards that end we are at the Committee's disposal if you should desire our assistance. We believe in the necessity of clean air leigislation but it must be a workable law with necessary built-in flexibility and fairness to all affected parties.
For the reasons I have given, we do not believe H.R. 6981 would be workable and effective law.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
Mr. MCGRATH. Basically our opposition to H.R. 6981 is because it builds a degree of inflexibility into the law. We feel that HR 12232 sets up a procedure by which the flexibility of change and technology could be more beneficial. It would appear that under Section three, sub-paragraph D-3 of HR 12232, where there is provision for administrative hearing and review procedures that would be sufficiently encompassing to call for judicial review. So that an aggrieved party would have a right after exhausting administrative remedies to go into a court and get review of a ruling which would be adverse to his interests.
Also under Section four, paragraph three, provisions are made for advice and consultation and cooperation with industries. This doesn't specifically spell out an advisory Committee as S1941, Senator
Tydings Bill does, however, I like to brevity and the clarity of S 12232, if these are what are contemplated. In other words, the parties will be protected by judicial review that an advisory type of committee would be set up. So that the Commissioner now, I guess and his council, would have the technical knowledge of industry people and others knowledgeable in the pollution matter available to them.
I would like to address myself to why we don't feel that HR 6981 is good legislation if you were to conclude that it would be best for Congress to enact the specific standards that must be met. There were some questions this morning regarding what is in existence now. In Chapter eight, Section 6, 801 through 804 of the D.C. Code deals with smoke prevention and Section 801 is the emission of smoke and removal of debris; 802– the Commissioner is to make regulations under that section and section 804 provides for appropriations for enforcement and the enforcement agencies are the Public Health officials and the Police Department and others. So there is existence at the present time, regulations respecting smoke.
Mr. WINN. But what particularly concerns us in the coal industry, and incidentally we supply to the Government approximately forty eight percent of their fuel in the Metropolitan area, I don't know what the percentage relationship is with respect to other consumers, other than electric utilities and in this case, VEPCO and PEPCO are principally using coal because at the present time it's the most economical fuel. To adopt a blanket endorsement of one percent to me under the present state of the art, is entirely inappropriate.
Yesterday the Surgeon General of the United States testified before the committee which is in session right now, hearing Secretary Gardner, with respect to sulpher oxide, said even though they have issued criteria, criteria on which the so called one percent is based, nevertheless they have subsequently found that the technology has not yet caught up. Nor has there been an evaluation of the economic impact of the imposition of an inflexible one percent limitation. In addition S. 780 calls for a re-evaluation of existing criteria because of the many days of hearings that were held and the testimony that was given before the Senate Committee. It became quite obvious that the information available on which to base the sulpher standards are very nebulous and inconclusive principally because there hasn't been this relationship between the actual specific injury that occurs due to the amount of SO, in the air and whether or not it is of sufficient injurious effect that it should be completely wiped out of the atmosphere regardless of cost. So there is a new approach by the Public Health Service as announced by Dr. Steuart, the Surgeon General yesterday that they are re-evaluating; and they are going to look at when technical feasibility is going to catch up. Mr. Gude has made reference to the research and studies that are going on, it calls for tremendous amounts of money to get this research.
With the respect to the profile of the ambient air, that is the air that surrounds us here in Washington, there is not sufficient information which has been made of this to you gentlemen at the present time, as Mr. Griswold testified on the tenth of August. They are conducting studies and they have additional measuring stations so they can get a more meaningful profile of just what the condition of the atmosphere is in the Metropolitan district, and then they will have an abatement proceeding at which time we may then have a proper springboard from which to develop adequate regulations.
Just in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I think New York City is a perfect example where local law 14 was passed during a time when there was quite a political situation. There was voting time, Councilman Lowe is the author of local law 14. In that law they were talking about how they were going to bear down on Consolidated Edison, they must put in ninety nine percent efficiency precipitators the law also limits incinerator emissions, eight thousand of which had to have scrubbers on them by 1967. And that was the Council passing this legislation. Austin Heller, your Air Pollution Controlman, on May 20th says to the people, well you've got to close down. Your sanitation man says, we can't possibly handle all that garbage and debris.
So when legislative bodies who—and I respectfully represent are not significantly knowledgeable of the techniques and complexity of air pollution—try to write legislation, it puts the whole community in a strait jacket. Therefore I respectfully suggest that HR 12232 be considered but also perhaps it could be expanded to include the provision in S 1941 so there are the sufficient safeguards.
Mr. MULTER. A good question. Is it agreed amongst most people who study the problem and most agencies that the principal air pollutant from burning of fuels is sulphur dioxide?
Mr. McGRATH. No, sir. Let me say this is my opinion. SO, is the most easily measurable gas. A man can sit at his desk and he can know the amount of sulphur by weight in a ton of coal. He can then make a mathematical computation and determine how much, after combustion, SO, is going to be in it from that stack. He can also assume certain meteorological conditions and topographical conditions that he can mathematically compute, how far that dispersion of the emission will go, and what it is likely to be at ground level. So what they have done, although there are many other gases which go to make up the atmosphere which we breathe indited SO, as it happened to be the easiest one to measure. And not only from a mathematical standpoint but also the devices, which we presently have with respect to measuring at ground level, are not very sophisticated devices as yet. They are still not very accurate. However, most of them have been developed to measure SO2, not some of the others. There are some carbon monoxide measurement facilities, but not many of them. So SO, has been picked on, in my opinion, and I think it has been enforced by a critique by a Dr. Negelbaum. Negelbaum wrote a critique of the criteria which is almost equally as long as the criteria itself, in which he said there couldn't be possibly evidence to support the conclusions published by PHS.
So in my opinion they took sulphur because it was the easiest gas or the easiest element to handle to come to some conclusions. They were criticized yesterday for being so slow, but the Senate says you better re-evaluate because we don't like the looks of your criteria at the moment.
Mr. MULTER. Thank you.
Mr. Winn. Do you agree with Mr. Via who said that if the ignition equipment was operated properly there would be “a negligible amount of air pollution.
Mr. MCGRATH. From that phase of air pollution, I would say I agree with him to an extent. One, it is of economic benefit to the consumer to burn his fuel in a proper manner. Therefore he gets the most BTUs and the most heat with proper combustion. There is the problem of start up and of cleaning the flu in the boilers where occasionally there will be puffs of smoke for limited periods of time, say three or four minutes duration where nothing would clear it out insofar as burning, burning coal. You are talking about electrostatic percipitators which have efficiencies of ninety nine and a half percent. You are getting out practically everything. But these are terribly expensive pieces of equipment. The only ones who can really afford these are the electric utilities.
Now proper combustion, however, in small installations for the most part can give you fairly clean burning but you have a problem of whether the janitor has proper ventilation in the room. He may have the finest piece of equipment in the world in there and yet he isn't operating the equipment properly by improper ventilation.
Mr. Winn. Would you agree that approximately fifty percent are not properly operated?
Mr. MCGRATH. Let me put it this way sir, insofar as coal is concerned our major market here is the utilities and Government. Now both the Federal government and the utilities have of necessity, insisted that there be adequate and proper combustion in the fuel they
use Most of them have indicators on the stack so it would indicate when a dark puff would come out so they could change the ingredients, add more air or remove some of the air, so they would get proper combustion.
It was just a few years ago we worked very closely with the Federal government at one of the installations here in town and came up with more advanced technology so there was better combustion. I would say in these areas, yes there is, and we are talking in the neighborhood of a half million tons of coal in this area. Yes, they are being burned properly. But of course there is the problem of the ŠO, removal. We don't have the answers to that yet. We are working on them hard, when we do get the answers to them we will know the technology, but then applying the actual economics to it is something else again.
Mr. WINN. Thank you very much.
Mr. GUDE. Mr. McGrath, with reference to all of the research that the coal and oil industries are doing you seem unconvinced of the necessity of reasearch. Is it because you are not sure there is a problem?
Mr. McGRATH. Well I'm not sure there is a problem with SO, because it has not been sufficiently—it has not been a sufficient indictment on this other than a very shallow one, in my estimation. Nevertheless there has been terrific pressure because of abatement proceedings on behalf of the Public Health Service throughout the country. If you don't put a regulation setting up a one percent sulphur, the Federal government is going to step in and beat you over the head and make you do it. Because of the hearings that were held before the Senate, it has become quite apparent there is sufficient information as Dr.
Mr. GUDE. Insufficient informaton?
Mr. MCGRATH. Insufficient information to indict sulphur dioxide as the principle contributor to the determental effects which occur as a result of air pollution. The two gentlemen from England, Mr. Clarke and Mr. Stone, were over here and testified and they talked about deaths in England and how they had been reduced. They said for twenty years the studies in England have been going on to try to indict sulphur dioxide as the culprit and they have failed to do so. It's this type of thing. Nevertheless the cause of precipitous action like Montgomery County, of which I am a resident, suddenly there is a one percent limitation in Montgomery County and there is Dickerson Plant way out there in the far northwest corner of Montgomery County without hardly any residents around, no complaints, and all of a sudden they are faced with the burden of one percent sulphur coal.
Mr. MULTER. We will have to suspend sir. We are being called to
Mr. MULTER. You will have to suspend sir. We are being called to the House Chamber.
Mr. McGRATH. I'm sorry.
Mr. GUDE. The claim has been made that farm crops are being damaged by sulphur dioxide.
Mr. MCGRATH. There has been no showing.
Mr. MULTER. I suggest you submit a list of questions to Mr. McGrath and let him answer them for the record.
Mr. GUDE. We have two additonal witnesses that have not submitted statements.
Mr. MULTER. I think we ought to ask them to do that. Mr. Coulter may submit a statement. We have other witnesses that want to be