Prospect of Action to Clean Up Waterways
Long Delay to Pollution-Control Legislation
Legislation to extend federal aid to states, localities and private industry in a national effort to clean up polluted interstate waterways is scheduled for early consideration at the 1948 session of Congress. A pollution-control bill, jointly offered by Sen. Barkley (D., Ky.) and Sen. Taft (R., O.), was passed by the Senate on July 16, but was not taken up in the House during the remaining 10 days of the 1947 session. However, public hearings were held by the House Public Works Committee on bills identical with the Senate measure, and a favorable report on pollution-control legislation is expected from that committee early in January. Sen. Revercomb (R., W. Va.), chairman of the Senate Public Works Committee, said, Sept. 28, that given House approval of the Senate bill “there is no reason why within a few years the pollution of the waters of this country should not be so minimized as to remove a menace to health that threatens to grow yearly.”
Stream pollution has been a matter of concern to public health authorities for more than 50 years. Anti-pollution bills have been introduced in almost every Congress since the turn of the century. Differing measures got through the House and Senate in 1936, and again in 1940, only to die in conference. And a bill on which the two houses agreed in 1938 was vetoed by President Roosevelt on the ground that certain of its provisions looked to “legislative assumption of responsibilities of the Executive Branch.”
Rise in Pollution with Growth of Nation
The contamination of streams, with attendant hazards to public health, has gone on at a rapidly accelerating rate as population growth and industrial development have led to the deposit in the nation's waterways of ever increasing amounts of wastes.