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Mr. CULKIN. Of course, if the people do not have jobs in industry, they will starve to death, and that is really a quicker process than their dying from germs in a bad water supply, is it not?
Mr. PFEIFER. Yes; but we like to die, understand, in an atmosphere of civilization.
Mr. Culkin. You want to kill them quickly, by starvation, is that it?
Mr. PFEIFER. Kill them quickly by starvation?
Mr. PFEIFER. No. I do not think the gentleman would like to die that way.
I am sure he would not. I know that I would not like to see the gentleman die that way, if I were living. Death from starvation is an unpleasant death.
Mr. CULKIN. I may make a very speedy touch, following that statement. My finances are low now. Laughter.]
Mr. PFEIFER. Mine likewise, but I am willing to help.
Mr. Smith. Would not the best approach to the problem be to cooperate with industry in working out a proper solution of the problem?
Mr. PFEIFER. Absolutely. I have no doubt in my mind that the Chairman of the Board and the Board itself will cooperate. They will cooperate, because if they do not cooperate with industry, we cannot get anywhere.
Mr. Smith. Your measure, Doctor, is rather drastic, do you not think? It provides for direct action almost immediately.
Mr. PFEIFER. We have to start to correct these conditions. We have got to bring it to their attention. Some are so ignorant of the fact that such a condition exists, that it must be brought to their attention. We will ask them to cooperate, and then, understand, suggest measures to them, not only for the benefit of the locality, but for their own benefit.
The bill even goes so far as to allow for the extension of loans and grants to help them carry out this important measure. The Board will be willing to cooperate in all ways.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, you speak of sewage pollution around New York. Do you have any other serious types of pollution in Greater New York waters? Mr. PFEIFER. Oh, yes. The CHAIRMAN. Acid or oil?
Mr. PFEIFER. I should say acid, particularly, and also oil. There is a report from the War Department which claims that it is causing a great deal of damage to the hulls of ships sailing along the East River and even in the bay, because of the existence of that condition. That is a report from the War Department back in 1934. And nothing can be done. They have no power. The very oil and fats from these rendering places-well, it is hard to describe it. It is a scum on the surface of the water.
The CHAIRMAN. At Newtown Creek, the place you speak of, there is quite an oil pollution, is there not?
Mr. PFEIFER. Oh, it is frightful.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know how it can be prevented unless you remove those refineries.
Mr. PFEIFER. No; there is a way of taking care of their refuse. It should not go into an ordinary open pipe and then into the waterway. The waterway does not belong to the refining company itself, nor to any other individual.
Mr. CULKIN. Could you not invoke the State law on that and stop it? Is not that the proper channel?
Mr. PFEIFER. The State law does not go far enough for the correction of this pollution that exists in our inland waterways.
Mr. CULKIN. I do not suppose the State board of health wants to stop this industry from operating, but certainly they should take such steps as are feasible and proper to minimize or cure it.
Mr. PFEIFER. There are certain laws in effect in the States, in various States, but those laws are unable to cope with the situation as it exists today, even if they were all enforced.
Mr. DONDERO. Then, Doctor, do you not think it is better that we proceed under the Vinson bill, make a study of this situation and then submit a proposal how we might best cope with the problem, rather than pass mandatory legislation making it an offense to put waste in the water, a criminal offense, subject to fine and imprisonment?
Mr. PFEIFER. I agreed with my colleague last year. I realize that that is an important step; but the gentleman's bill deals mainly with a survey and a study of this condition that exists. But how far are you going to get with this study? There were several studies made before, of the pollution of navigable streams. And how far did we get?
We need action to start it off. We will get the cooperation of the Board with the municipalities, whichever they may be. Naturally, the Chairman of the Board need not be so drastic in his action in enforcing the act right away. For instance, if you were yourself an industrialist and had an operation on a waterway and I happened to be Chairman of the Board and I knew you were polluting an important stream, which affected the welfare not only of the adjoining industries but the health of those living in the immediate community, I could go to you and say, "Let us see what can be done." It will require probably 2 or 3, or 4 or 5 years, or 10 years, but as long as there is some cooperation on your part, that is fine. You cannot eradicate this in a year, nor in 5 years, nor in 10 years.
Mr. SEGER. Do you know how long it is since the State of New York was told to stop pollution of those waterways? It was many years ago.
Mr. PFEIFER. Many years ago; yes. New Jersey today has a law suit pending against the State of New York.
Mr. SEGER. Perhaps you have in mind that your pending bill would directly hit your own State?
Mr. PFEIFER. Absolutely. We have got to clean it up everywhere. That law of New Jersey against pollution by the State of New York is still pending, that pollution of the New Jersey beaches, and the beaches of New York itself-Coney Island, Rockaway, Long Beach are unfit for bathing purposes. The garbage and everything else washes up there on the shore.
Mr. SEGER. In a very small way they are making an effort in New York now to treat sewage sectionally, are they not?
Mr. PFEIFER. Yes.
Mr. SEGER. They have a plant up in the Bronx and one over on Long Island.
Mr. PFEIFER. Welfare Island and one on Long Island. • Mr. SEGER. It is being done in a very small way compared to the need?
Mr. PFEIFER. Oh, absolutely.
Mr. PFEIFER. That is right.
Mr. PFEIFER. Well, there is close friendship with certain corporations, probably-I do not know.
Mr. DEROUEN. You would not call it political?
Mr. PFEIFER. I would not dare to use that word. I thought I would be more careful by saying they were friendly relations.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, I suppose as a physician you believe in prescribing calomel and blue mass as a remedy for that?
Mr. PFEIFER. If the condition called for it. Of course, calomel and blue mass are antique today; yet they were necessary in their time.
Mr. SEGER. They are very effective.
Mr. DEROUEN. Doctor, do you want to give them the treatment in 1 grain or in 10 grains?
Mr. PFEIFER. No; I would start off with a small does and gradually increase it. You know, in order to get effective results, you have got to give enough of it to be effective, is not that right?
Mr. DEROUEN. Absolutely.
Mr. COLDEN. Let us take, for illustration, a stream that rises in Pennsylvania and flows into the Potomac. The stream is polluted in Pennsylvania and pollutes the waters of towns in Maryland and around Washington and in Virginia. How would your bill cope with such a situation?
Mr. PFEIFER. There is a section of this bill that calls for interstate compacts, where friendly relations exist between the States, for the correction of any pollution by either one or the other.
Mr. COLDEN. The Secretary of War would not have any authority there?
Mr. PFEIFER. He only has authority to cooperate with the States.
Mr. COLDEN. He would have no direct authority in a case like that?
Mr. PFEIFER. No.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further, Doctor, that you wish to present at this time?
Mr. PFEIFER. No more, Mr. Chairman, except to emphasize the importance of this condition that exists and which is in the minds of all the people; not only we who are sitting here, but the people everywhere, even those who walk the streets and do not know what it is all about; they have to hold a handkerchief to their nostrils, when all they want is a breath of fresh air, the fresh air that is so prevalent everywhere except in the majority of our ports.
Mr. COLMER. Just for the benefit of the record and the doctor's information and mine, a hasty examination of the Vinson bill indicates that it does have remedies within itself.
Mr. PFEIFER. It is mainly for a survey and a study.
Mr. COLDEN. This problem reaches every part of the country. It is a new subject. Do you not think it should be approached by a study and a survey first?
Mr. PFEIFER. We have had so many studies. We have had studies in New York.
Mr. COLDEN. But those are all local, are they not?
Mr. PFEIFER. They are scattered. They present a cross-section of the country. We have not had any bill passed, that I know of, providing for a general study of the situation. It is a mighty difficult thing to get a thorough study of water pollution. It requires an awfully long time.
Mr. COLDEN. We are not only confronted with a study of pollution, but we are confronted with a very peculiar legal situation, a legal approach to this question, which is also very involved and difficult.
Mr. PFEIFER. Yes; that is true. But there must be some way of getting out into the clearance and at the same time accomplish something: Here they have made these studies and they are still in a fog and this condition goes on in the greatest State of the Union, where disease is so prevalent.
The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, if there is nothing further, we thank you for your statement.
Mr. PFEIFER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I see Senator Barkley is present. Senator, do you desire to make a statement on this matter?
STATEMENT OF HON. ALBEN W. BARKLEY, A UNITED STATES
SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY
Senator BARKLEY. Mr. Chairman, I did not wish to make a statement at this time because it would delay witnesses who are here from out of town. I think they should be accorded the courtesy of being heard first, as we, who are here all the time, can appear before the committee whenever it is most convenient.
However, if you intend to recess at 12 o'clock and there is nobody else who can finish his statement within 10 minutes, I shall be glad to go on, as all I have to say will not take me more than a few minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. I do not think we could dispose of any other witness in such a short time.
Senator BARKLEY. I am at the disposal of the committee and subject to the wishes of the committee. I really did not intend, when I came over here, to make a statement this morning. I wanted to claim my attendance, as we say in court.
Mr. ČOLDEN. Mr. Chairman, I would like to hear from Senator Barkley. He is always enlightening, always has something to say.
The CHAIRMAN. If he is willing to make a statement, we shall be very glad to hear him.
Senator BARKLEY. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I shall make a very brief statement, under those circumstances. I am the author, as you know, in the Senate of the companoin bill to the Vinson bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Did you introduce a bill last year? Mr. BARKLEY. I introduced a bill last year which was similar to the bill passed by the House. That bill was favorably reported by the Committee on Commerce of the Senate and passed the Senate.
Senator Lonergan introduced another bill, that was different, somewhat after the fashion of the bill introduced by Dr. Pfeifer, which was also reported by the committee.
The Committee on Commerce of the Senate did a very peculiar thing. It reported out both bills, in a spirit of accommodation. I got my bill through the Senate. Senator Lonergan moved to reconsider the passage of my bill and brought about a situation whereby under the rules of senatorial courtesy, the passage of my bill was reconsidered and the result was that neither one of them got any further during that session.
The CHAIRMAN. Nobody but the United States Senate could have so dealt with such a proposition.
Senator BARKLEY. Mr. Chairman, I am, of course, for the bill which is now before the committee, known as the Vinson bill, and for my bill, which was introduced in the Senate.
I appreciate the interest which has been manifested by all these other gentlemen who have introduced bills, but I have that with a Nation-wide question of this importance and the effect that any drastic legislation would have upon municipalities and industries, and in view of the fact that we have gone a long time without passing any Federal statute on the subject, it is wise to proceed cautiously.
Nobody has the last word on this subject, in Congress or out of it.
The CHAIRMAN. Senators do you not believe that it would be physically impossible to enforce å drastic measure, practically speaking?
Senator BARKLEY. I do. Somebody said- I do not know whether it was Edmund Burke or not-that you cannot indict a whole nation. This bill which is under consideration, known as the Pfeifer bill, or the Lonergan bill in the Senate, outlaws at once, as soon as it is enacted, any operation which is responsible for stream pollution and seeks to punish anybody who deposits, in any navigable stream, or any branch of any navigable stream, anywhere, or where it is liable to get into a navigable stream, anything that will pollute the waters.
Now, that takes effect at once. While it is true that some board might have discretion to modify the effect of that law, speaking for myself, I do not see how, without a gradual approach to the subject, and laying a foundation for more drastic legislation later, we could enforce any such provision that undertook to punish individuals or corporations in their particular localities for discharging any substance into a small branch that might finally find its way into a navigable stream.
That also brings up the question of the power of Congress at this time to control that matter. I am not going into that subject now. I am not going to get into any controversy that will involve the subject that is now uppermost in the minds of the country and in the Senate, with reference to the courts, except I should like to say you cannot take the decisions of the Supreme Court and draw a straight line through them, from beginning to end, and say that all that is on the right-hand side Congress shall have the power to supervise and all on the left-hand side Congress cannot supervise.
That brings forward the question of whether it is wise at this time for Congress to attempt to penalize individuals and corporations for doing what they have been doing for a long time, discharging whatever