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Mr. SAUTHOFF. I will not take the time of the committee by going into the matters in the brief but I would like to point out this fact. In our dealings with this problem for the past 20 years, to my knowledge it was more a matter of education of industrialists than a question of actual coercive measures to force them to join with us in taking care of stream pollution. Mr. Kanneberg undertook that work. He has been very successful. Nearly every case of stream pollution is a local matter. It is due to some local necessity, the local plant that furnishes living to a number of people in the community, produces waste materials, and discharges acids into the stream and pollution results. Now, such pollution, of course, as we know, endangers the animal and plant life and endangers the public health. I take it for granted that the members of this committee are in favor of preventing stream pollution so that I do not care to waste any time going into an argument on that point. When industrialists sat down with Mr. Kanneberg and he pointed out the evils their invariable answer was, what can we do about it? When he pointed out to them what steps could be taken to remedy the evil, invariably they cooperated with him so that through the years, through the past 16 years that Mr. Kanneberg has been engaged in that work, he has been very successful in getting the cooperation of those men who had plants on the streams and were discharging acids into the water. We, therefore, feel that because it is a local problem, because many of these States have already for years been dealing with the problem, that it ought to be left in State control or State administration instead of being placed under Federal control for Federal administration.
Even if the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill should be constitutional, and we contend it is not, you would still have the situation where the State is deprived of all control of its navigable waters. This is not desirable and we as citizens of Wisconsin wish to protest against the Federal Government depriving our State of the control of our streams.
I am leaving this brief with you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, in the hope that every member of the committee will read it as it very thoroughly covers the subject of the two bills which are being considered for the control of stream pollution. I wish to add for the sake of the record that our State board of health through its secretary, Dr. C. A. Harper, and our State public service commission, wish to go on record in favor of the so-called Vinson bill and against the so-called Lonergan-Pfeifer bill.
Mr. COLDEN. I desire to ask my colleague what success have Wisconsin cities had with the modern processes of treating sewage and waste from factories?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. We have had that problem right in my own city of Madison. We have four lakes in Madison and a river that connects the four lakes. Our modern processes are fully adequate with this possible exception, and that has been our main problem, that the waste discharge is pure enough so that there is no argument against it, but it is rich in nitrates. When those nitrates are deposited on the bed of a lake, not being running water, the result is that it strongly stimulates plant life, and you get an abundance of weeds, algae, and that is one of the problems we have had to deal with, and we have used copper sulphate to try to hold it down as much as possible. It does not eliminate it but you do keep it down.
Mr. COLDEN. Has the cost of operation been excessive in those plants?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. No; I do not think so. We do not feel that way. We are strongly in favor of it. Of course, we conceive that our lakes are our main assets.
Mr. COLDEN. What is your process used in Madison? What type of treatment of sewage is used?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. I cannot go into the engineering technicalities, but I think it is the usual filter beds and so on. I think those are employed.
Mr. CULKIN. Is the growth of these weeds due to the presence of sewage?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. No; it is not the sewage, because the sewage is treated and is purified, but it is the presence of high nitrates in the discharge after the treatment.
Mr. CULKIN. The fact is that the presence of the weeds, certain types of weeds, and the fact that they grow very luxuriantly, is due to the sewage deposits. We had that problem, too; the presence of the weeds. It is interesting to know that New York City has studied that question very closely and with considerable success. Where the water is contaminated with sewage it just fertilizes the medium for these weeds and they grow very abundantly. You do not have that procedure there. You keep the sewage out of the water.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes, sir.
Mr. DONDERO. Where a river traverses more than one State, you see no objection in the Vinson bill for the Federal Government to aid and stimulate activity in clearing up the problem?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. No; in fact, we favor it because I realize that the States are just as wide awake as anyone and more so to this problem. That is true of the neighboring States of Minnesota and Wisconsin. When I was in the State senate we had committees from our State and other States, and they still do at every session I believe get together on that very question.
Mr. Smith. You mentioned the paper industry, which happens to be one of the most important industries in my district in the State of Washington, and I can say that they have always manifested the same willingness to cooperate with the health authorities. It is only a question of working out the best solution. In that respect the Vinson bill provides for a program which would enable the industries, I think, to cooperate more effectively with the authorities. Is that your opinion?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. That is my opinion from the experience I had in Wisconsin and I am glad to hear that you have a similar experience because I do not think there is a disposition on the part of the industrialists to utterly disregard the feelings of the public in that respect. It might be true in some vast industrial areas that we do not know anything about, but as far as our State is concerned, that has not been the fact.
Mr. BEITER. In your statement you mentioned that you hoped the navigable streams will continue to be under the supervision of the State?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. As far as pollution is concerned.
Mr. BEITER. The navigable streams now are under Federal supervision.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes; I know what the law is on that subject.
The CHAIRMAN. You have pretty strict laws on the subject in your State,
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes, sir. My recollection is that we have passed a number of acts over the last 25 or 30 years. I do not recall exactly, but instead of resorting to legal methods we have attempted a policy of education so that we could get the cooperation of those who discharge wastes that contain acid. It has been successful. I do not like the method that is defined, I believe, in the Lonergan bill, for issue of injunctions. That might seriously cripple an industrial plant in a certain community where the people are dependent on that plant being kept open for their livelihood. I would much rather see our method adopted and no doubt other States have had the same experience, that by simply going in and sitting down with the boards of the plants, you could get them to go right along with you and cooperate
Mr. CULKIN. Has your State made any disbursements in aid of the manufacturer in changing over his processes or in the disposal of these wastes?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. I do not think so. I have no recollection of any such appropriation.
Mr. CULKIN. The whole burden has been carried by the manufacturer up there.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes, sir. Mr. DONDERO. Rather than attempt to enforce it on industrial plants where they cannot find adequate means to solve the problem, or where the State or the Government does not solve the problem, it is better to keep the plant open to provide work for people instead of imposing upon them by injunction.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes, sir; it might seriously cripple some munities.
(The brief referred to is as follows:)
IN RE LONERGAN-PFEIFER BILL (S. 13, AND H. R. 3419) AND BARKLEY
VINSON BILL (s. 702 AND H. E. 2711)
By ADOLPH KANNEBERG, chairman, State committee on water pollution,
March 12, 1937, Madison, Wis. There are pending before the Seventy-fifth Congress two bills for the control of water pollution. One is the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill (S. 13 and H. R. 3419) and the other is the Barkley-Vinson bill (S. 702 and H. R. 2711).
The Barkley-Vinson bill is entitled "A bill to create a Division of Water Pollution Control in the United States Public Health Service, and for other purposes.
The Lonergan-Pfeifer bill is entitled "A bill to prevent the pollution of the navigable waters of the United States, and for other purposes.
The Lonergan-Pfeifer bill provides for the permanent establishment of the National Resources Committee previously established by Executive order, and vests in that committee the jurisdiction and the exercise of the powers of the Federal Government with respect to water pollution.
Both bills provide for the institution and maintenance of research with respect to effective means and methods of preventing or controlling water pollution; both provide for Federal loans to States, their political subdivisions and to persons, for the construction of works to prevent or control pollution of the navigable waters of the United States and their tributaries.
The Lonergan-Pfeifer bill provides for a division of the entire territory of the United States into as many sanitary districts as the committee shall see fit, and the committee is given power to establish standards of purity for each district, to fix minimum requirements and prescribe regulations with respect to the pollution of navigable waters of each district and the tributaries thereof. Each district is under the supervision and management of a district board which is composed of as many members and who shall receive such compensation as the committee deems proper. The duties of each district board are to: (1) Encourage voluntary action to prevent pollution; (2) investigate the merits of applications for loans or grants in connection with water-pollution projects; (3) institute proceedings for the prevention and abatement of pollution.
It is assumed for the purpose of this discussion that there is no opposition anywhere to the exercise of some power and authority by the Federal Government in the matter of water pollution. The question here discussed is which of these two bills presents the wiser or more feasible program of accomplishing those things which, for the purposes of this discussion, are deemed to be desirable.
In general the difference and distinction between the two bills is indicated by their titles. The Barkley-Vinson bill proposes essentially to enlist Federal aid in the control of water pollution in the navigable waters of the United States and their tributaries. The Lonergan-Pfeifer bill, on the other hand, is directed to the enlistment of Federal authority to prevent pollution.
The general idea behind the Barkley-Vinson bill is to aid State authority in its endeavor to prevent or control water pollution; while the prevailing idea of the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill is to make the Federal Government responsible for the prevention of that evil.
Prior to the introduction of both bills, a conference was held at Washington with the Secretary of War on December 6, 1934, at which a number of gentlemen interested in the control and prevention of water pollution and informed on the present methods and means of controlling or preventing it, were present and expressed their views (S. Doc. No. 16, 47th Cong.). A number of interesting and important facts were clearly brought out at that conference. One of the most important facts so brought out was that while everyone recognizes the danger and the damage resulting from the pollution of navigable waters and their tributaries, it is practically impossible to do away with that pollution, and its consequent dangers and damage to the health and property of the people, merely by a process, as one of the gentlemen at the conference expressed it, of wielding the big stick.
Another important fact brought out at the conference was that practices which may result in harmful pollution in some waters are not harmful or are less harmful in other waters; and that the prevention or control of pollution in navigable waters and their tributaries presents a problem in which each case or instance of pollution must be more or less separately dealt with. In other words, the prevention or control of pollution by its very nature or in its essence is a matter of local rather than of Nation-wide concern; and from that standpoint it would seem obvious that the pollution of water in a single State can be more conveniently and easily dealt with through State authority than through the authority of the Federal Government.
A third idea brought out forcibly at the conference was that what is needed at the present time, with respect to the control of water pollution, is not so much the exercise of any governmental power to say "thou shalt not" as more knowledge and information concerning feasible methods of purifying wastes whereby governmental authority may reasonably require the adoption of such methods.
Water pollution, as it occurs in the United States, is not for the most part the result of either malice or greed; it often is the result of lack of knowledge. Most of the pollution of water that now takes place results from industrial and other waste products which are discharged into the streams and navigable waters of the country simply because there is no other way established for getting rid of those wastes. It clearly appeared at the conference that in most instances, all that has usually been necessary to do to prevent the pollution of water by the discharge of industrial wastes was to point out and show the industry involved how to treat the wastes in a way that is economically feasible.
In view of the facts thus established at the conference, it would seem that the Barkley-Vinson bill provides for everything that is necessary to be done at the present time and in a way that entails less expense and less governmental red tape than would be incurred under the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill. The Barkley-Vinson bill simply hands over to the department of the Federal Government most naturally fitted to deal with the subject, the problem of investigating the causes and finding the means of preventing water pollution; and then makes the results of the investigation and research of that body together with the lending power of the Federal Government, available to the various States and their political subdivisions, and to such private persons who can qualify as proper to receive Federal grants in aid of projects for the prevention of water pollution. There, in general, the Barkley-Vinson bill stops. On the other hand, the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill sets up a special and rather complicated machinery for the prevention of water pollution. It provides for investigation and research. It also provides for loans. But it also provides or a central committee and an unknown number of subsidiary boards which are not only given large and extensive powers but are given the duty to institute proceedings to prevent water pollution.
It should be pointed out that under the Lonergan-Pfeifer bill the method of preventing water pollution is by the institution of legal proceedings and for the purposes of the bill the Federal courts are given jurisdiction to deal with cases involving the pollution of navigable waters of the United States and their tributaries. No particular reason is perceived why it should be necessary to invest the Federal courts with jurisdiction of such cases except for the fact that a Federal body is set up by the bill to institute the proceedings before such courts. The power exists and has existed in the State courts for time out of mind to deal with almost any form of water pollution. Certainly in most, if not in all, of the States of this Union the pollution of streams and navigable waters is a nuisance, without any declaration of that fact by any law passed either by Congress or the legislatures