Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

The legislation may not be perfect but it has developed into a practical program. The bill now presented includes a few new provisions that are desirable in the light of sound budgetary policy. The earlier bill would have permitted any project which had the approval of the proper State board of health and the Surgeon General to be eligible for Treasury money, either to the extent of a 33% grant for a public project, or for a loan for a private project. Under these sections of the bill as it was last presented there was no limitation to the amount for which the Treasury might be called on. There was no provision for placing the more important projects first, if money is limited. Granting such general power might have been of doubtful constitutionality. It would seem that this work should be carried on, very much in the way in which rivers and harbors work is carried on, i, e., that examinations and surveys should first be made and then, after a report to Congress, there should be a bill passed stating the specific projects which should go forward, such a bill to carry the necessary authorization and, of course, to be later followed by a proper appropriation. The present Vinson bill follows this plan.

It is, of course, improbable that exact sums can be figured for any particular project, but it would seem that there should be a list of projects which should be followed without much deviation and that at the most, each year there should only be a certain amount authorized to be appropriated, from which the proper authorities can draw to handle the projects in the order approved. The Vinson bill provides for this, following the general rule, that before money can be spent, there must first be an authorization by Congress and then an appropriation.

În conclusion, it seems desirable to emphasize the following points in the proposed Barkley-Vinson water-pollution act, which are based on principles that have led to success in other Federal-aid enterprises:

1. The stream-pollution program is turned over to a long-established Federal agency in a regular Government department under longexperienced career personnel who have had years of experience working through State and local officials.

2. The Federal Government does not attempt to do the work of controlling stream pollution. The actual abatement work is done by the States, with the full cooperation and encouragement of the Federal Government.

3. The main basic principle is the matching of Federal funds with States and municipalities, and the loaning of funds to States, municipalities, and industries, involving financial participation and responsibility for the supervision of the actual construction by the States.

4. The furnishing of funds to the States through State health department allotments for the maintenance of a continuous program for future work.

With our present divisions of Government, Federal and State, this reservation of Federal activity is in accord with customary normal procedures. In the absence of a mandate from the people as expressed in a constitutional amendment, no closer approach to the problem by the Federal Government is possible. Federal-State cooperation has succeeded in other fields of mutual interest. There is good reason why it should succeed in stream pollution control, which is so vitally needed for the good of all our people.

Finally, with Government funds-in-aid available in very substantial and attractive amounts, demand by the public and interested agen

139603437-14

cies will provide a powerful stimulation to energetic attack on the shameful conditions of water pollution.

Mr. BIERY. I would like to offer in evidence a letter which I have received from Mr. C. W. Klassen, technical secretary of the Sanitary Water Board of the State of Illinois. (The letter referred to is as follows:)

STATE OF ILLINOIS,
SANITARY WATER BOARD,

Springfield, March 13, 1937.

LEGISLATION-STREAM POLLUTION-FEDERAL CONTROL

Mr. HUDSON BIERY,

Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. BIERY: Thanks very much for your letter of March 10 advising of the hearing on the Vinson stream-pollution bill before the Rivers and Harbors Commission in Washington, March 17. At the present writing I do not believe that it will be possible for me to attend. However, if the Governor desires that I attend that hearing I shall be very glad to arrange to be there.

The provisions of this bill (H. R. 2711) meets with our approval in principle, mainly for the fact that it undoubtedly will accomplish considerable toward the purification of our streams but leaving the so-called police powers in the hands of the States. Purely from Illinois' standpoint only, and of course Illinois is all on which I could commit myself, such legislation would be extremely helpful in assisting in their important stream studies necessary in the State but of most importance is the provision of grants in aid to municipalities and persons needing financial assistance to carry out the necessary sewage treatment projects.

In anticipation of not being present at the hearing I have already written Congressman Vinson practically the same as above, going into a little more detail perhaps on some of the points in connection with grants in aid, etc.

You certainly are to be commended for your intensive work on such an important matter, especially in view of the great amount of work which you must have encountered during the recent floods. We know in a small measure from our experience in Illinois what must have been some of the tremendous problems in Cincinnati. Sincerely,

C. W. KLASSEN, Technical Secretary. Mr. BIERY. I would also like to offer in evidence two documents and a letter that have been sent me by Mr. L. F. Warrick, State Sanitary Engineer of the State Board of Health of Wisconsin. One of the documents is a resolution endorsing the so-called BarkleyVinson bill adopted by the upper Mississippi River Board of Engineers. This includes the States of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

The other resolution is from the Great Lakes Board of Engineers. This includes Illinois, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. I place them in the record because they may add some States to those that have already been mentioned by Mr. Vinson as offering their approval of the bill. (The papers referred to are as follows:)

STATE BOARD OF HEALTH,
BUREAU OF SANITARY ENGINEERING,

Capitol Building, Madison, Wis., March 15, 1937. Mr. Hudson BIERY,

Chairman, Committee on Stream Pollution, Washington, D. C. DEAR MR. BIERY: Your letter of March 13 relative to a hearing on the Barkley-Vinson Bill, to be held before the Rivers and Harbors Committee of the House on Wednesday, March 17, has been received. Unfortunately, stream pollution hearings scheduled some time ago will make it impossible for any members of our State Committee on Water Pollution to attend this hearing. There has been forwarded, however, certain data and information which it is believed can be used to advantage in presenting the attitude of the committee toward the proposed Federal legislation.

As you undoubtedly know, at a joint meeting of the Board of Public Health Engineers under the Great Lakes Drainage Basin Sanitation Agreement (eight Lake States) and the Board of Public Health Engineers under the Upper Mississippi River Drainage Basin Sanitation Agreement (five States), held February 26, 1937, the pending Federal legislation was discussed in relation to present interstate pollution-control activities. As a result, the two boards adopted the resolutions enclosed. These have been forwarded to health commissioners of the States signatory to the above-mentioned interstate agreements for consideration and appropriate action.

Kindly keep this department informed concerning developments at Washington in connection with the pending legislation on stream pollution control. Very truly yours,

STATE BOARD OF HEALTH,

L. F. WARRICK, State Sanitary Engineer.

RESOLUTION OF UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER BOARD OF ENGINEERS, ADOPTED

FEBRUARY 26, 1937, AT CHICAGO, RELATIVE TO SENATE BILL 13

Whereas there has been introduced into Congress certain legislation relative to the control of the pollution of streams; namely, Senate bill 13, and

Whereas it is believed that the enactment of the aforesaid bill will retard and prejudicially affect State and interstate pollution abatement activities now being carried on; be it

Resolved, That the Upper Mississippi River Board of Engineers (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois) after having thoroughly studied and considered the provisions of that legislation, hereby go on record as finding the provisions of this bill unacceptable and recommend to the State health officers of the aforesaid States the disapproval of the enactment of such bill.

RESOLUTION OF UPPER MISSISSIPPI RIVER BOARD OF ENGINEERS, ADOPTED

FEBRUARY 26, 1937, AT CHICAGO, RELATIVE TO SENATE BILL 702

Whereas there has been introduced into Congress certain legislation relative to the pollution of streams; namely, Senate bill 702, and

Whereas it is believed that the enactment of the aforesaid bill will aid State and interstate pollution activities now being carried on; be it

Resolved, That the members of the Upper Mississippi River Board of Engineers (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois) hereby go on record as approving in principle the provisions of such bill.

Identical resolutions adopted by Great Lakes Board of Engineers (joint meeting).

RESOLUTION OF GREAT LAKES BOARD OF ENGINEERS, ADOPTED FEBRUARY 26, 1937,

AT CHICAGO, RELATIVE TO SENATE BILL 13 Whereas there has been introduced into Congress certain legislation relative to the control of the pollution of streams; namely, Senate bill 13; and

Whereas it is believed that the enactment of the aforesaid bill will retard and prejudicially affect State and interstate pollution abatement activities now being carried on; be it

Resolved, That the Great Lakes Board of Engineers (Illinois, Indiana, New York , Michigan, Pennsylvania,' Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin) after having thoroughly studied and considered the provisions of that legislation, hereby go on record as finding the provisions of this bill unacceptable, and recommend to the State health officers of the aforesaid States the disapproval of the enactment of such bill.

RESOLUTION OF GREAT LAKES BOARD OF ENGINEERS, ADOPTED FEBRUARY 26, 1937, AT

CHICAGO, RELATVE TO SENATE BILL 702

Whereas there has been introduced into Congress certain legislation relative to the pollution of streams; namely, Senate bill 702; and

Whereas it is believed that the enactment of the aforesaid bill will aid State and interestate pollution activities now being carried on;

be it Resolved, That the members of the Great Lakes Board of Engineers (Illinois, Indiana, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio,! Minnesota, Wisconsin) hereby go on record as approving in principle the provisions of such bill.

· States not represented at meeting.

Identical resolutions adopted by Upper Mississippi River Board of Engineers (joint meeting).

Mr. BIERY. I offer for the record an editorial from Engineering News-Record regarding the things that are covered in the Vinson bill. The Engineering News-Record, as you gentlemen know, is a national authority on matters of this kind.

(The editorial referred to is as follows:)

(Engineering News-Record, vol. 118, no. 3, Jan. 21, 1937, p. 104]

EDITORIAL.-STREAM POLLUTION LEGISLATION

Last year several bills for stream pollution control were introduced in Congress, and one of them narrowly missed passage in the closing days of the session. This year proponents of pollution regulations are starting an early campaign to secure Federal legislation. Already the Senate has before it the Lonergan and Barkley bills, the first providing for the permanent establishment of the National Resources Committee, which would be charged with controlling water pollution, while the second would utilize the United States Public Health Service as a coordinating body to make joint investigations with State agencies and thus aid in drafting comprehensive plans for improving the sanitary condition of rivers. Both bills make provision for Federal financial aid. Of the two the Barkley measure (S. 702) offers the most promising approach to the problem. It recognizes the usefulness of existing State and local sanitary agencies and would maintain their integrity and function; the national point of view and coordination of effort which is essential where interstate streams are involved would be entrusted to an arm of the Government that is qualified by technical experience and personnel to provide effective stimulation. The Lonergan bill, in contrast, makes mandatory the establishment of sanitary water districts, and in addition provides for rigid Federal control. Any attempts toward centralization of this kind will undoubtedly meet with strong opposition. But regardless of the merits or weaknesses of suggested legislation, the happy fact is that stream-pollution control is receiving prompt attention from our lawmakers.

Mr. BIERY. I should say, perhaps, at this time, that the committee I represent came into being at the instance of Mr. W. F. Wiley, of Cincinnati, who is editor of the Cincinnati Esquirer, and President of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. He has been tremendously interested, for years, in matters of conservation and particularly in the stream pollution problem. and the support of that newspaper with other paper cooperating, has been one of the inspiring things in the development of this whole program. I am offering in evidence two or three editorials from the Cincinnati Enquirer that introduce interesting sidelights on the pollution problem, some of which have not been touched upon. For example, I offer one here discussing a statement by Dr. Clarence A. Mills, professor of experimental medicine at the University of Cincinnati, in which he found that "cities using river water have 30 percent more caries or tooth decay, than cities using water from wells. In addition, he found that oxidation within mines forms large quantities of sulphuric acid, which seeps into streams and rivers and make their waters strongly acid.”

(The editorial referred to is as follows:)

(From the Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday, Mar. 16, 1937]

THE ENQUIRER'S PLATFORM FOR CINCINNATI Building of a system for sewage disposal and use of all means to purify the Ohio, the Miamis, and other streams in the Cincinnati area.

Completion and utilization of rapid-transit system.
Continued development of park and boulevard plans.
Lessening of the smoke nuisance.
Advancement of Cincinnati's prestige as a national art center.
Extension of boulevard lighting plan.
The perpetuation of good government.

BAD WATER, BAD TEETH

To some persons, the problem of river purification may seem remote, These persons usually point out that typhoid is virtually unknown in Cincinnati, and that the danger of pollution has therefore been counteracted. But such an attitude is wholly in error. New evidence of this was given by Dr. Clarence A. Mills, professor of experimental medicine at the University of Cincinnati, in a paper recently read in Baltimore.

Dr. Mills found after exhaustive studies that tooth decay is increased by many factors, such as lack of sunlight, excessive salt in the food, smoky air, and soft water. For Cincinnati, Dr. Mills' study is particularly significant in its emphasis on the water supply as a cause of decaying teeth.

He found that cities using river water have 30 percent more caries, or tooth decay, than cities using hard water from wells. In addition, he found that oxidation within mines forms large quantities of sulphuric acid, which seeps into streams and rivers and make their waters strongly acid. This also seems to be an important factor in tooth decay, apart from the ruinous effects of acid wastes on machinery and on the plant and animal life in our streams.

Dr. Mills' carefully gathered evidence is extremely important, for it shows beyond dispute a very close relationship between bad water and bad health, in a way that mere filtration and chemical treatment of water supplies cannot counteract. He provides another compelling reason why we should make river purification and immediate task in the Ohio Valley

Mr. BIERY. I do not know that I have ever heard anyone refer to that particular phase of the thing before. Another editorial that I would like to present states that large public interest

in stream purification has been brought about by the flood: "Here in Cincinnati we shall remember the days of boiling water and the taste of purifying substances.

(The editorial referred to is as follows:)

“PRESSING FOR PURIFICATION

"It is well for all communities in the Ohio Valley that are interested in clearing up their water supplies by purification of the Ohio and its tributaries to take the present opportunity to declare themselves. This opportunity is the hearing on the Barkley-Vinson stream purification bill, before the Rivers and Harbors Committee March 17.

« ForrigeFortsett »