United States
     Environmental Protection
     Land and the

Office of
Public Awareness (A-! 07)
Washington DC 20460

                                     / / s / / R

     The painting by Albert
     Bierstadt on the cover of
     this issue of EPA Journal
portrays the grandeur of the
West. One of the most impres-
sive artists of the Hudson River
school, Bierstadt sought to
elevate nature and to make
people proud of their country
and its landscapes.
  While a great deal of
America's land still has the  kind
of beauty and grandeur that
inspired Bierstadt, much  of it is
being changed with alarming
rapidity. The inside front cover,
a view of street sign pollution
in Las Vegas, and the inside
back cover, a photo of clear
cutting in California, illustrate
some of these changes.
  Population growth, tech-
nological developments,  new
chemicals and the accelerated
pace of life are causing sweep-
ing changes not only in this
country but around the world.
The impact of these shifts is
reviewed by Administrator
Costie in this issue.
  Two Members of Congress,
Senator George McGovern and
U.S. Representative James M.
Jeffords, write about what is
happening to the Nation's
farmland. Barbara Blum, EPA
Deputy Administrator, analyzes
how environmental control
measures can either solve or
aggravate land problems.
  Eddie Albert, an actor with
an interest in environmental
causes, writes about the con-
sequences of poor land  man-
agement. LaDonna Harris,
president of Americans For
Indian Opportunity, explains
why the Indians were the first
environmentalists in this
  Merna Hurd, Director of the
EPA Water Planning Division,
reports on the impact of ero-
sion, pesticides and fertilizers
on water quality. William C.
Galegar, an EPA laboratory
director, discusses research on
soil and ground water.
  The magazine also carries a
report on the recent World
Congress and Exposition on
Bio-Energy which explains the
prospects for converting
organic material such as trees,
crops, and seaweed into
  As part of EPA  Journal's
occasional series  of articles on
American rivers and their
pollution problems, this issue
examines the Nation's greatest
river—the Mississippi.
  The role of land problems in
the collapse of the Mayan
civilization and the use of
dredgings to form new islands
off the Maryland coast are the
subject of two other articles in
this examination of land use. D

                              United States
                              Environmental Protection
                               Office of
                               Public Awareness (A-107)
                               Washington DC 20460
                              Volume 6
                              Number 7
                              July/August 1980
                          &EPA  JOURNAL
                              Douglas M. Costle, Administrator
                              Joan Martin Nicholson, Director, Office of Public Awareness
                              Charles D. Pierce, Editor
                              Truman Temple, Associate Editor
                              John Heritage, Managing Editor
                              Chris Perham, Assistant Editor
EPA is charged by Congress to
protect the Nation's land, air and
water systems. Under a mandate
    iional environmental laws
focused on air and water quali-
ty, solid waste management and
the control of toxic substances,
pesticides, noise and radiation,
the Agency strives to formulate
find implement actions which
lead to a compatible balance be-
tween human activities and the
ability »f natural systems to sup-
port and nurture life.
Cover: Albert Bierstadt's painting,
"The Sierra Nevada in California,"
portrays an idyllic scene. (National
Collection of Fine Arts—Gift of
Helen Huntington Hull. Smithsonian

Opposite: A contemporary view of
the Las Vegas downtown strip.
Growth, Land and the
EPA Administrator Costle de-
scribes how our technology is
affecting our land resources.

Farmland and
Water Pollution  4
A report by Merna Hurd, Direc-
tor of the  EPA Water Planning
Division, on the relationships
between erosion, pesticides,
fertilizers, and water quality.

The Green Revolution
Is Alive and Well
The breakthrough in agriculture
of a decade ago continues to
offer hope in the global battle
against hunger.

Who Gets
Cleanup Benefits?
Barbara Blum, Deputy
Administrator, analyzes how
environmental control measures
can either solve or aggravate
land problems.

To Rebuild the Earth   10
Film and TV actor Eddie Albert,
who has been involved in envi-
ronmental matters, warns of the
long-term effects of poor land


Around the Nation

Photo credits:  USDA Soil Conser-
vation Service;  Documerica; Tourist
Department,  Organization of
American  States;  U.S. Department
of Energy photos by Jack Schneider;
We Must Not Break
The Hoop of Life
Senator George McGovern
draws on his long experience in
agriculture to explain the crucial
importance of soil conservation
and wise land management.

American Indians:
The First
Environmentalists   15
LaDonna Harris, President of
Americans for Indian Oppor-
tunity, offers insights into how
the first Americans lived in
harmony with the land.

Vanishing Farmland:
Do We Need a Crisis?  16
Representative James M.
Jeffords emphasizes that
America's ability to meet domes-
tic and world food demands is
threatened by the loss of  prime
farm acreage.

Energy From Biomass
A report by Philip H. Abelson of
Science  magazine on the  World
Congress and Exposition  on
Bio-Energy, and a summary by
Don  Lief on EPA's role in  this
rapidly developing field.
                              The Mississippi River
                              From northern Minnesota's tall
                              pines to the Louisiana delta,
                              America's greatest river courses
                              2,552 miles. Dean Rebuffoni
                              describes its splendor and
                              environmental problems.

                              EPA's Unique
                              Soil Research
                              Director William C. Galegar
                              reports on the activities of the
                              Robert S. Kerr Environmental
                              Research Laboratory in Ada,

                              Why The Mayans
                              What caused the Mayan civiliza-
                              tion to disintegrate from its peak
                              1,000 years ago? Colin Norman
                              indicates that stresses on the
                              land may have been a major

                              The Islands of
                              Sinepuxent Bay
                              Newly-formed dredge-islands on
                              the Maryland coast are nurturing
                              a surprisingly rich yield of wild
                              fauna and flora.
                                                            News Briefs
                                                            Update   38
Glenn Therres; Calif. Dept. of Trans-
portation. Minneapolis Tribune
Louisiana Office of Tourism.
                              Almanac   40
                               Design Credits: Robert Flanagan.
                               Donna KazBniwsky and Ron Farrah

                               Gail Hansberry took the
                               photos of Hattie Carthan in the
                               April EPA Journal.
 flu- EPA Jour^iii is publ
 nionihty, with combined issues
 July August ,iiul November Decem
         '.) S  Envir \
              .  Use of fi
 pntUiny tlii- •
              DiH'ctor of the
 Office i'f M..   ,     .im)
                                                            tributions and inq

                                                                                 S W,
                                                                     ..DC 204'


Environmentally Speaking
Land  and  the
By Douglas M. Costle
EPA Administrator
    Some months ago, I was required to
      review the scientific data on a class
      of chemicals known as "phenoxy
herbicides." These are, in essence, chemi-
cals used to kill plants that interfere with
the growth of farm crops—plants that we
would refer to as "weeds."The question
facing me was, should these chemicals be
allowed in commerce because of their
beneficial values, or should they be banned
because of their harmful side-effects? In
the process of reviewing these chemicals, I
was particularly struck by the precise
fashion in which they worked.
  My uninformed view of all  such chemi-
cals—pesticides, herbicides, fungicides,
rodenticides, and so forth—was that they
simply poison whatever they are applied
to. The suffix  "-cide," after all, comes from
the La tin verb meaning "to kill."But these
phenoxy herbicides work in a  much more
devious way. Instead of forthrightly poison-
ing the weed, they stimulate its metabolism
to an extraordinary degree. So stimulated,
the weed consumes energy from photo-
synthesis much more rapidly than it can
replenish that energy. In a quite literal
sense, this herbicide forces the weed to
grow itself to death.
  This class of chemical and its way of
operating strike me as useful in helping to
understand the distinction that the United
States of America must learn to make
about the concept of growth. The first dic-
tionary definition of growth—and the one
with which we are probably most familiar
—denotes an increase in size, weight,
or some  other quantifiable dimension.
In one way or another, this type of
growth means "more."  But the second
definition introduces a much more subtle
meaning of growth: it is the progressive
development of an organism from a lower
or simpler form, to a higher or more com-
plex form. This second form of growth—a
gradual unfolding toward maturity—
usually means "better." At the very least,
it means "different."
  This distinction between growth as an
addition to quantity, and growth as an im-
provement in quality, is a critical one for
societies to make. For—as that herbicide
illustrates—in pursuing one kind of growth
without limit, we can  jeopardize life itself.
Like plants, societies  can grow themselves
to death.
  We have begun making that distinction
in the United States. Indeed, this insight
underlies most of the environmental  law
that has  been passed in  the last decade.
Untilabout 1970orso, our economics
tended to treat air and water as free goods
—goods without limit that could be used
as convenient Disposalls for the waste by-
products of what someone has called the
effluent society.
  Over the last 10 years, we have managed
a major reversal in that kind of thinking.
The ecologists have assured us that "there
is no free lunch." Somebody has to pay
for pollution—either in  the health and
amenities costs associated with dirty
air and water, or in the treatment costs
necessary to restore those resources to
their former quality. We have accepted the
idea that growth is not an unmixed good,
that it has its price—and we have begun
paying that price.

Paving  Over Farm Land
But there remains one area of resource  use
in which we have yet to make the distinc-
tion between the two types of growth. That
area is agricultural land.
  Every day in this country we shift four
square miles of our prime farm land out of
agriculture and into urban use—highways,
shopping centers, residential develop-
ments, airports, and so forth. That amounts
to one million acres a year. In addition,
urban conversion claims another two mil-
lion acres a year of lesser quality agricul-
tural land. The total annual loss of three
million acres is the equivalent of 320 acres
every hour.
   From one perspective, this conversion
can be viewed as "growth." A shopping
center or a subdivision can produce vastly
more income for the builder than it can
produce for a farmer. Indeed, many farm-
ers who would vastly prefer to retain their
land cannot afford norto sell.
   From any perspective other than the
dollars-and-cents viewpoint, however, it is
impossible to regard this conversion of our
best land as "growth." Once land is paved
over, its productivity is destroyed—for all
practical purposes, perhaps destroyed
   The Soil Conservation Service estimates
that the U.S. has about 1  35 million acres of
land that is not now used for growing
crops, but could be so converted. However,
only 22 rnillionacres of this land is prime
land. At present rates of  conversion, there-
fore, this reserve of prime land would be
totally consumed by the  turn of the century.

Hidden Land Values
Further, converting secondary land to crop
production—while it can be done—is ex-
pensive. Prime acreage is flat or gently
rolling, and hence easy to protect
against soil erosion. It is energy-efficient
land, producing the largest quantity of
crops with the least investment of fuel,
fertilizer, and labor. Secondary land, by
contrast, requires markedly higher inputs
of fertilizer and pesticides; often it is lo-
cated on slopes highly susceptible to
erosion by rain .  . . and that erosion carries
with it chemicals that further pollute rivers
and bodies of water.
   Last year, American agricultural exports
brought in nearly $40 billion ... a critical
contribution to our balance-of-payments
problem when we import 8  million barrels
of oil a day. Beyond this  monetary consid-
eration, American food exports literally
mean the difference between life and
death to millions of people abroad.
  The choice facing us is not whether we
shall have farmland or whether we shall
have shopping cemers. Urban development
can be directed away from prime land and
restricted to land less suitable for crops.
Intelligently managed growth need not
penalize States and  local governments that
also wish to preserve a distinctive,  irre-
placeable resource.
  This is demonstrated by the experience
of Vermont, for example, with Act 250, its
land use and development law. Despite the
predictions of economic  doom that accom-
panied passage of the Act 1 0 years ago,
Vermont has not only survived but flour-
ished. In the seven years following passage

of the Act, one-and-a-half times as many
new companies located there as had done
in the seven preceding years. Plant expan-
sions between 1970 and 1977  were four
times the number between 1963 and 1970
  Moreover, the development that was
permitted under the Act avoided the defi-
ciencies of .the anything-goes projects that
plagued Vermont in the 1960's. No longer
were second-home developments perched
on hillsides with inadequate plumbing that
threatened water supplies. No  longer could
shopping-centers be sited without regard
for  the traffic problems they might cause.
As  former Governor Davis commented,
"The unwieldy developers went some-
where else—and I'm glad they did."

The Perils of Change
The temper of our times is hostile to  gov-
ernment intrusion into  private activity.
There is nothing surprising about that. It is
frequently said that big government creates
big  regulation just to keep itself in busi-
ness. The much larger  truth is that a  big
society has spawned problems that the
founding fathers could never have antici-
pated. And the sudden increase in regula-
tion during the last decade stems from four
  First, population growth without prece-
dent in the history of our species. It is
generally estimated that we humans did
not number one billion until A.D. 1830.
After that, it took another century—until
1930—for us to add a  second  billion. To-
day, there are more than four billion  of us,
and we will add another billion by 1990.
  Second, technological change has mag-
nified the size and scope of our tools
beyond the wildest imaginings of any
medieval Faust. In  1945, the largest oil
tankers had a capacity of 18,000 tons; by
contrast, in 1978 the Amoco Cadiz all by
itself dumped 220,000 tons of oil—the
equivalent of more than a dozen pre-war
cargoes—off the coast of Brittany. In fact,
I seem to remember that that is roughly
enough oil to supply New England's entire
oil-based electrical energy needs for a
whole day.
    Third, our technological skill has  intro-
duced into our world substances that are
utterly strange and alien to the filtering
processes of the Earth. Until 1940, for
example, most chemicals in common use
were derived from naturally occurring ma-
terials such as plants and minerals;  each
had been "screened" by the physical and
historical environment. Three  million
years of human beings had learned,
through trial and error, which were edible,
useful, or dangerous.
    But since 1971 alone, the chemical revo-
 lution has produced 3  million synthetic
compounds. Today 5 million such com-
pounds are known, about 65,000 are in
commercial distribution—and it takes a
team of pathologists, 300 mice, two to
three years, and about $300,000 to deter-
mine whether a single suspect chemical
causes cancer.
   Finally, we are dealing with accelerated
pace—the astonishingly brief span, about
35 years, in which so many novel, massive
changes have been introduced into our
5-billion-year-old habitat. Coming both
swiftly and simultaneously, these changes
magnify each other's impacts into an often
devastating synergism. The convergence of
these four factors—rapid population
growth, the scale of human tools, the eco-
logical strangeness of our synthetic com-
pounds, and the pace of their combined
assault—heightens the possibility that
some damage to our Earth will be
   It seems to me we are suffering from
dismay at events of very recent decades
whose effects have just begun to show up,
and which we are struggling to assimilate.
The sudden increase in government regula-
tion of industrial activity is one aspect of
that struggle.

Understanding Our Limits
But that increase, in turn, merely reflects a
much more important phenomenon: the
perception of limits on our ability to exploit
our habitat without regard for the conse-
quences. We are, in the genuine sense of a
much overused word, living through a
revolution. Yet this revolution does not
necessarily mean that, having enjoyed our
brief day in an abundant sun, we must now
return to a Dark Ages of spartan living and
pinched outlook.
   It does, however, mean a different con-
cept of economic and industrial develop-
ment. Such a concept will be characterized
by several features whose outlines are
already clear: an analysis of environmental
impacts before a project is undertaken, as
contrasted with after-the-fact mitigation of
damages; conservation of resources—not
only of energy, but of all finite resources
including the most threatened of all, our
soil and water; and most significant, a new
definition of economic "growth."
   Such changes in thoughtand action are
already occurring, both in our lives and in
our laboratories. We have come to see
waste and excess not as the admirable sur-
plus of a productive economy, but as
simple stupidity—a symptom of social
corpulence. The perception of limits, still
denied by some, has evoked from others a
fresh wave of invention and ingenuity: we
see it in the drive toward conservation, the
effort to develop solar energy, the re-exam-
ination of industrial  processes to minimize
pollution beforehand rather than cleaning
it up after.  We are finding that, like all our
familiar resources—timber, land, fossil
fuels, and labor—so the recognition of
scarcity can itself be a resource ... an
intellectual resource that points our tech-
nology in a new direction: toward an in-
finitely more creative mode of invention
that keeps human demands in balance with
Earth's supply.

The Impact of Change
One of the great anthropologists—I believe
it was Ruth Benedict—once speculated on
the impact of sudden change. She noted
that, within a few months after the Allied
landings in the South Pacific during World
War II, natives who had not the vaguest
conception of radio waves learned none-
theless how to repair radios. What are the
effects on a human being, she wondered,
of leaping so quickly from the Iron Age to
the Electronic Age? She offered no  answer.
   But I once saw a film that offered a
graphic reply to that question. Some of
those same natives watched the Allied
ships pull in to the beaches and disgorge
bulldozers. The bulldozers began knocking
down trees, leveling the land, and building
airstrips. And within hours after the air-
strips were completed, in came one plane
after another, bringing food and medicine
in a seemingly infinite abundance.
   The natives—interpreting this sequence
of events with a primitive understanding of
causality—began building their own air-
strips. Laboriously chopping down trees
and straightening the hillsides, they fash-
ioned their own rude runway. And not only
by day, but by night, too, they waited for
their birds to come down from the sky; the
film showed them, hundreds of them,
standing silently with torches to guide the
arrival of their own cargo through the dark.
   It can be confusing and threatening to
live during a revolution as fast-paced as
this environmental revolution. It has
altered our thinking and behavior in a
surprisingly brief period. Many of us have
become concerned about the unnatural
speed and nature of ecological change. We
have come to realize that growth without
management—growth which emphasizes
quantity only, and ignores quality, includ-
ing destruction of high quality farm land—
contains within it the seeds of our own
destruction. But I think enough of us have
begun acting on that concern to shape the
future to our will.
   In doing so, we can make sure that suc-
ceeding generations will become bene-
ficiaries of change, not its victims. We can
make sure that our children will never
stand—prisoners of an obsolete economic
credo—waiting along some rude runway of
the mind, holding pathetic torches out
against the night, and hoping for an abun-
dance which only our intelligence and self-
discipline can win. Q

Farmland and  Water  Pollution
By Merna Hurd
     From the orchards of Virginia to the
     dairy lands of Wisconsin, through the
     Corn Belt, the Wheat Belt, and the
 ranches of Texas, and out to the great
 vegetable gardens in the valleys of Cali-
 fornia, America's farmers now feed more
 people than ever before. Thanks to a virtual
 revolution in agricultural technology in
 recent decades, the United States is able
 to feed itself and still export $37 billion
 worth of farm products each year. We have
 become the Saudi Arabia of grain in a
 hungry world.
   All the same, the agricultural revolution
 has its price. Erosion, like a silent, almost
 invisible army of bulldozers, scrapes top-
 soil off many of our richest  farms and
 pushes much of it into ponds, lakes,
 streams, and rivers. This runoff often
 carries pesticides, fertilizers, and animal
 wastes which can find their way to ground
 and surface waters. The results have been
   At a cost of one bill ion dollars, this
 country's farms lose four billion tons of
 topsoil every year, enough  dirt to fill a one
 foot deep hole about one and a half times
 the size of Delaware. Natural processes
 replenish much of this topsoil but not
 nearly enough and not on a uniform basis.
 Even more alarm ing, since  1 935 agricul-
 tural practices have so severely damaged
 farmland that one hundred  million acres of
 land cannot be cultivated, and over half
 the topsoil on yet another hundred million
 acres has been lost. This is like losing the
 State of California and declaring Illinois,
 Iowa, and Ohio missing in action.
   Furthermore, agriculture seriously
 affects water quality in two-thirds of our
 river basins and provides over half of the
 Nation's total man-made sediment load.
 The United States pays  five hundred
 mil/ion dollars yearly just to remove sedi-
 ments (both natural and man-made) from
 its waterways. We pay still more to clean
 up drinking water supplies  for both people
 and animals. We lose swimming, fishing,
 and other recreational opportunities. And
 in irriga'ed areas, salt contamination re-
 duces crop yields on 25 percent of the
 land, and ground water quality is degraded
 to the point that its use is greatly restricted

 Problems Unseen
 The problems of  erosion and rural water
 pollution go unseen by many farmers.
Topsoil erosion, even at an annual rate of
five to ten tons per acre, removes only a
very small layer of soil each year. Because
of this, the incentive to  take preventive
measures is often weak. Productivity may
drop only after a number of years and may
be masked as the farmer applies expensive
chemical fertilizers  and pesticides more
and more heavily. The effects of these
chemicals on water  quality are also hard
to see, since they may not occur until the
chemicals reach other farms and cities
   Many culprits contribute to our agricul-
tural pollution problems: excessive tillage
(made easy by today's super-tractors);
careless land management; the heavy use
of chemical fertilizers,  insecticides, and
weed killers; one-crop farms; the pressures
of farm economics;  inefficient irrigation;
and a growing belief that land must be
exploited at full capacity rather than nur-
tured for long-term  health. Government has
been no angel either. All too often the
signals coming from Washington have
been conflicting or have encouraged plant-
ings on marginal lands  that should never
have been put into production (so-called
fence-to-fence planting). In some areas,
local laws and policies  work against effi-
cient water use, as well  as clean water.
   American farming has proven itself one
of this country's great success stories over
the last thirty years. Along with this suc-
cess, however, has come a loss of flexi-
bility, a sort of paralysis. Thefarmer's
ability to innovate and to cope with chang-
ing conditions has diminished.
   Farm  economics, in particular, have
often forced farmers to cut corners and
bring marginal  lands into production just to
survive. Good husbandry practices have
sometimes been given up in the name of
efficiency. Dependence on petrochemicals
and capital investments has grown.
Diversified farming  operations are a thing
of the past. And as fertilizers and pesti-
cides have become  less effective per unit
used, the response has  generally been
more chemicals at higher costs rather than
application of other methods and
   Size may also be  a factor. As farms grow
bigger, good operations and maintenance
practices can become more complicated,
more time consuming, and more costly. To
blame the farmer in such a situation may be
unfair. The high stakes involved in large-
scale farming have lowered his willingness
and often his ability to take risks, no matter
how promising.
  To cope with the problems it creates,
agriculture must face the task of applying
the relatively small-scale tools of good
farm management to large farming opera-
tions.  Contour plowing, crop rotation, ter-
racing, no-till planting .integrated pest
management, sediment dams, grassed
waterways, barnyard runoff controls,
sprinkler irrigation, reduced water waste—
these are the types of Best Management
Practices (BMP's) that EPA is promoting
within the farming community in order to
improve water quality and reduce soil loss.

Methods Not New
Although terminology such as "Best Man-
agement Practices" and "Integrated Pest
Management"  may be new, the tech-
niques are not. In fact, they involve the
management and husbandry practices that
good farmers have always used, along with
the  innovations of modern research and
development. These techniques also in-
volve a genuine concern for the land and
the environment which, though they may
seldom consider it, many  farmers reflect in
their daily activities.
  At present, through Model Implementa-
tion Projects, the Agricultural Conservation
Program, and the Rural Clean Water Pro-
gram, cost-sharing funds and technical
assistance will be made available to en-
courage farmers to install BMP's. Participa-
tion is totally voluntary, and the early
results have been encouraging. But if  rural
pollution continues at critical levels,
stronger measures may also be needed.
  There are  many alternatives: economic
incentives such as more cost-sharing  or tax
credits,  economic penalties such as soil
loss taxes, and direct controls such as land
use limitations, performance standards, or
permits.  Interest has been shown in requir-
ing  farms to be certified as carrying out
approved conservation plans before they
can become eligible for low-interest loans.
Federal  price supports and crop insurance
could also be tied to certification.
  At this time, EPA believes in voluntary
programs. Nobody wants more regulation.
                                                                                                         EPA JOURNAL


All the same, these options must remain
open. Farm runoff and soil loss are that
serious a problem.
   Agriculture's future lies in its willing-
ness to emphasize farm health, as well as
farm production. A partnership must be
worked out among the farmer, the agricul-
ture industry, and government which, in
the longterm, promotes both of these
goals.  I list the farmer first because his
understanding, support, and sweat are the
key elements in the success of such a
  Acceptable solutions to our agricultural
pollution problems either exist today or can
be found. Our stake in the future lies in our
willingness to use them. EPA will continue
to pursue programs for solving these prob-
lems, but water quality concerns must also
be given a high priority by the agriculture
community. Pollution problems do not just
go away. Without this sector's active sup-
port and determined effort, the stronger
regulatory measures discussed earlier may
unfortunately become inevitable, n
Merna Hurd is Director of the Water Plan-
ning Division, Office of Water Program
Operations. Copies of the Water Quality
Management Bulletin for March, 1980,
which contains this and related articles,
may be obtained from  WQM Bulletin f WH-
554), Environmental Protection Agency,
Washington, D.C. 20460,

The Green Revolution  Is Alive  and Well
 By Jerry E.  Rosenthal
      Remember the Green Revolution—
      the dramatic breakthrough in agri-
      culture that brightened the hopes
of an ill-fed Third World a decade ago?
  It's alive and well, and still one of the
great weapons in the battle against global
hunger. Some of the glamour has dimmed,
but the engine that powered the "revolu-
tion"—research and development of foods
grown and eaten in the developing coun-
tries—continues to function.
  The big question is—does the world
know how and does it have the resolve to
take advantage of what has been learned
and what can be achieved?
  CIMMYT, the international agricultural
research center in Mexico where high-yield
wheat, along with the so-called miracle
rice developed in the Philippines, sparked
what came to be called the Green  Revolu-
tion in the 196Q's, is working on the
answer. CIMMYT, pronounced "SIM-it,",
is the Centro Internacional de Mejora-
miento de Maiz y Trigo, or the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
  "By the year 201 5, the world must pro-
duce twice as much food as it achieved in
the past 12,000 years."
  That verdict comes from Norman E.
Borlaug, director of the wheat program at
the Center, and winner of the 1 970 Nobel
Peace Prize for his work in breeding new
varieties of wheat. What his statement
means is that the 3.6 billion tons of food
produced yearly in the world today must be
doubled in 35 years.
  Little cooperation in the international
community and inequitable income distri-
bution make world hunger a growing con-
cern. Meanwhile, a predicted 8 billion
peoplewill havetobefed in 2015—almost
twice as many as the current 4-plus billion.
  One of the solutions is to make each
acre of land produce more than it does
now. To do this, new, higher yield varieties
of wheat, corn and other grains must be
developed and tested for suitability in
different climates.
  That is the job of CIMMYT, one of the 1 2
international centers forming a worldwide
network called the Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research.
  With an annual budget of S13 million—
25 percent of which comes from AID—-and
several agricultural sites around the coun-
try, the Center's staff of about 80 research-
ers has devoted itself to developing varie-

              )(_'/• Dr. Norman E Botlaug
      -.'ni/ {littn on u/uwth in a breeding
                                                                                                EPA JOURNAL

ties of grains that are more resistant to
disease, produce more per acre and are
more nutritious.
  The Center's most spectacular product
to date is wheat.
  In the 1950's,  Borlaug began to experi-
ment with seeds  that had been produced in
the United States by crossing a Japanese
dwarf variety and another type called
Brevor. The Norin-Brevor cross laid the
basis for achieving a much higher-yield
and more disease-resistant wheat.
  After thousands of further crosses and
trials in the 1960's, new Mexican varieties
were released and successfully grown in
India and Pakistan.
  Today, the descendants of these semi-
dwarf, high-yield varieties are being har-
vested on every continent, providing the
bread, chapati, couscous, semolina, maca-
roni and noodles that feed more than one-
third of the developing world's population.
  Wheat output  has soared 50 percent over
the past 10 years, surpassing all other
grains and outpacing the 30 percent in-
crease in population. Rice has shown a rise
of 27 percent, and even sorghum and
millet, the poor relations in the cereal
family, have gained over the decade.
  But the hope of the tropics and sub-
tropics—where the world's hungriest
people live—is maize, what Americans call
corn. It was left behind in the high-yield
breakthrough of  the 1960's, now ranking
third in world production, behind wheat
and rice.
  CIMMYT is the keeper of the largest
corn-gene bank in the world, from which
the breeders develop their new lines. The-
seeds are kept in a vault at a temperature
of 32 degrees  F. and have a shelf life  of 25
years. Backup duplicates are stored in Fort
Collins. Co'o., in a vault where the tempera-
ture is 18 degrees below zero. These will
last 100 years.
  So far, new  varieties of maize have ac-
counted for a 38 percent boost  in produc-
tion. The Center's breeders believe that
successful short-stalked, high-yielding,
disease-resistant and more nutritious vari-
eties will come soon and help feed a larger
future generation.
   But a larger future generation is just the
obvious, and not the only, problem facing
the Center.
   Borlaug, who  constantly treads the
croplands of the  developing countries to
discover the problems and needs of the
farmers, sees poverty as the biggest imme-
diate obstacle.
  "It's not that we're not producing enough
food right now," he said. "We are, but it's
not equitably distributed. Too many people
don't have the money to buy it.
   "For example, India in 1977-78 pro-
duced 125 million tons of grain. This is 10
to 12 million tons more than needed—
based on present diets—but millions of
Indians are too poor to buy it.
   "The developing countries need public-
works projects in the rural areas to enable
the rural poor to buy food. Small factories
and other localized activities can provide
the jobs that are needed."
   Borlaug believes China may have found
a way. "On two trips to mainland China,"
he said, "I never saw a hungry person.
Everyone seems to be working. The
Chinese have done a creditable job in
building up rural industry and food.
   "I believe planners should think small
when it comes to agriculture. And I think
we need more people looking at the overall
picture rather than specialists doing the
planning. I would like to see bronze plaques
erected for every small irrigation ditch
that's dug. This is the type of water man-
agement  that can really help the small
farmer. Big dams have their place, but the
small irrigation ditch is vital."
   Some agricultural development projects
and programs in developing countries, he
claims, are either misbegotten or misdi-
rected. He cites a situation in Pakistan
where with construction  of the massive
Tarbela Dam, largest earthen dam in the
world, timber areas previously untouched
became available to private interests. They
clear-cut entire hillsides, causing vast
erosion and hastening the silting of the
   "I was there on a rainy day," Borlaug
said, "and soil once held by trees was
pouring down into the Indus River like a
cascade of chocolate."
   The scientists, technicians, and profes-
sionals at CIMMYT all emphasize collabo-
ration with small farmers.
   When  Dan Winkelmann, an economist,
first came to the Center,  he rented a six-
acre farm nearby. He worked it as many
Mexicans do—without sophisticated
equipment—to grow maize and beans.
   "There is no free lunch in farming," he
said. "You're constantly weighing the bio-
logical feasibility of what you're doing
against the economic feasibility. There has
to be give-and-take, which means  early
collaboration among all research disci-
plines studying aspects of production."
   Other staff members, like Narendra Lai
Dhgawan on the maize breeding staff, serve
as key links between the breeders and the
countries testing new varieties emerging
from the international program.
   This year Dhgawan is airfreighting half
a million envelopes containing seeds for
700 trials in 88 countries. He will feed the
results into a computer and send printouts
to all participants in the trials and others
interested in the program.
   These printouts can tell a scientist in
Turkey, for example, that a certain variety
of maize grown in Egypt might do well
under similar conditions in his country.
   Because wheat is such a universal food
and is eaten in so many ways, the varieties
developed at CIMMYT are being evaluated
continually in the Wheat Industrial Quality
Laboratory, headed by Arnoldo Amaya
Oelis. Bread wheats—both winter and
summer—are analyzed for their milling
and baking qualities. Amaya and his staff
work with 20,000 lines  of bread wheat,
8,000 lines of durum—the wheat that be-
comes pasta—and some 2,000 lines of
triticale, a high-protein cross of durum
wheat with rye.
   Some 10,000 men and women from the
developing countries have come to the
Center for in-service training in research
techniques so that they may practice them
in their own countries. In addition, other
professionals spend from  a week to several
months working on specific problems in
wheat and maize.
   Scientists at the Center do not  look on
themselves as "revolutionists" in the field
of agriculture. But they are keenly aware of
the importance of their work and the im-
pact it can have on the future of the world.
   Their attitude is symbolized by a modest
exhibit in Mexico City's magnificent Mu-
seum of Anthropology. Amid the massive
stone carvings and impressive relics of the
Mayan, Toltec, Olmec, and Aztec cultures
is a small display of corn,  dug up from the
centuries-old ruins and tombs.
   The smallest ear is barely two inches
long and has tiny kernels.  It dates back
several thousand years. The other ears in
the display get progressively  larger with
each agricultural improvement of our early
   At the end of the case are several ears of
the 20th century, many times the size of the
first. D

Jerry E. Rosenthal, now retired, formerly
was chief of the press and publications
division in AID'S Office of Public Affairs.
His article adapted with permission from
the Christian Science Monitor, © 1979
the Christian Science Publishing Society.
AII rights reserved.

Who Gets
By Barbara Blum
EPA Deputy Administrator
      Acid rain, airport noise, pollution of
       the Great Lakes, Los Angeles smog,
       poisons seeping from Love Canal—
 all are affected by use and misuse of the
 land. Cleaning up pollution also affects the
 land, and how we cleanitupcaneither
 solve or add to the problem.
   Programs to clean up the Nation's rivers
 and streams sometimes pay for sewers that
 promote urban sprawl, aggravate air pollu-
 tion and lead to  development patterns
 which reduce the economic vitality of
 cities. Effluent standards can affect where
 industries locate. Hazardous waste dispos-
 al sites, 
EPA Farm Land Policy
It was the same thinking—anticipating
impacts, cost-effectiveness, "replacing our
own divots," that led to the development of
the EPA policy to protect environmentally
significant agricultural lands by the Office
of Land Use Coordination. Signed by
Administrator Costle in September, 1978,
this has become an important part of Presi-
dent Carter's rural policy. The policy
has been described by the American
Land Forum as "the first and most resolute
of any Federal Agency," has been praised
by the Chairman of the House Science and
Technology Committee and other members
of Congress, and has served as a  catalyst
to other agencies and a  source for draft
   Why the recognition  and interest? Be-
cause America has an enormous stake in
productive farmland for economic and
humanitarian reasons. Wasting valuable
land can hurt our international balance of
payments and our ability to continue as a
food source for hundreds of millions of
people outside of the United States.
   The recently announced World Conser-
vation Strategy emphasizes that our plan-
et's capacity to support people is  being
severely reduced. "If current rates of land
degradation continue," it states, "close to
one third of the world's arable land will  be
destroyed in the next 20 years." During
this period the world's population is ex-
pected to increase by almost half—from
four billion to almost six billion, according
to the report.  Only about 11  percent of the
world's land has no serious limitations for
agriculture, so we owe it to present and  fu-
ture generations to conserve what we have.
   The EPA policy also firmly establishes
the environmental value of farmland. The
policy's backbone is the National Environ-
mental Policy Act; but the Clean Air Act,
Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act,
and Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act also provide a basis for EPA action and
concern. The policy points out: "Agricul-
tural land reduces runoff by absorbing pre-
cipitation, aids in replenishing groundwater
supplies, buffers environmentally sensitive
areas from encroachment, serves in waste-
water treatment through land treatment
processes, and . . . assists in protecting
ambient air quality."
   Problems for the future of agricultural
land include soil erosion, acid rain, water
shortages, and water quality as well as the
conversion of land for other uses. EPA is
interested in all of these problems, and  has
helped to fund the National Agricultural
Land Study as part of an Administration-
wide program request.
    During the past year and a half, guide-

An example of creative  land use is this
golf course, converted from a former town
dump in Jackson, Mississippi.
lines and regulations reflecting the agricul-
tural land protection policy have been de-
veloped in the wastewater treatment con-
struction grants program of the Clean
Water Act. This multi-billion  dollar effort
has the greatest impact on farmland of any
EPA program. Regulations implementing
NEPA also include farmland protection, as
do guidelines for solid waste disposal.
Research in this problem area is being pur-
sued by the Office of Research and Devel-
opment. In December, 1979,  the Office of
Environmental Review, directed by
William Hedeman, assumed  the functions
of the Office of Land Use Coordina-
tion and now has overall responsibility for
monitoring the implementation of the
policy. Regional coordinators have been
identified in every region and progress is
being made in tailoring projects to avoid
or reduce their impact on prime unique
farmland. Here are some examples:
• Sacramento, Calif.—20,000 acres of
prime land have been placed  into a perma-
nent agricultural zone as part of a mitiga-
tion agreement with local government on a
sewage treatment plant. The  grant was
conditioned to ensure protection of the
• Modesto, Calif.—Staged sewering,
channeling city growth to lower quality
lands, and promoting infill (the develop-
ment of vacant parcels in already devel-
oped areas) will reduce agricultural land
loss by 20 percent compared to an earlier
• Aurora, III.—Strong consideration is
being given to rerouting a sewer inter-
ceptor to avoid 19,000 acres  of agricultural
• Pennsylvania—Mitigation measures are
reducing farmland impacts in at least three
• Patuxent, Md.— Clustered growth strat-
egy will protect agricultural land and
minimize primary and secondary costs to
industry for waste treatment.
These are just a few examples. The im-
portant point is that protecting environ-
mentally significant agricultural land is
becoming a routine consideration in doing
business in many parts of EPA.

Getting Full Benefits
EPA is investing billions of dollars in
projects which, by cleaning up bays, rivers,
and lakes, en ha nee the value and useful-
ness of neighboring  land. How can we re-
capture some of these public benefits
coming from environmental protection?
With a little innovative thinking, and a lot
of perseverance, a community can estab-
lish an exciting mixture of public and pri-
vate water-oriented recreation and park
possibilities as part of their cleanup
  Congress recognized this potential with
amendments to the Clean Water Act in
1977. There are several ways for making
this happen.' The unifying concept in-
volves obtaining multiple use of land and
facilities dedicated to wastewater treat-
ment and then developing recreation
projects. For example the site on which a
treatment plant is built often uses only a
fraction of the land purchased for it. It can
be designed for a number of compatible
recreation activities including tennis and
basketball courts, Softball, boat launching
ramps, and a host of other recreation
   In one innovative project in  Evergreen,
Colo., the roof of a treatment facility has
been used to provide recreation space.
Easements obtained for an underground
wastewater collection system  might also
be negotiated to allow for development of
a walking and bicycle trail system like the
one at the Tallman Island plant in Queens,
   Joint development is another option. It
applies the principles of multiple-use to
other kinds of projects close to the waste
treatment facility. An example would be
the joint use of a sewer right-of-way with
railroad, highway, or  power line right-of-
way to develop a continuous trail  system
throughout a community. A prime example
is located at Yellowstone Canyon Lakes.
This project in Lubbock, Texas, is an ex-
citing use of joint development of a waste-
water treatment system, farming, recrea-
tion lakes, and over 26 miles of trails.
  The dimensions of these opportunities
nationally are enormous. Currently, some
six thousand EPA-funded wastewater  treat-
ment plants are actively being  planned or
in construction. Construction grant money
can be used to help plan the recreation
facilities, so this offers communities an
opportunity to get more for their recreation
dollars. It also gives the public the oppor-
tunity to recapture some of the added
benefits which come to the land from good
environmental cleanup.
  The success that EPA is having with its
agricultural land protection policy and the
success it can have with programs like the
public benefit recapture program described
above should give support to those who
say that we can do more to protect the
land from pollution and misuse. Q

"An overview publication on these con-
cepts was recently re/eased by EPA and the
Department of Interior entitled: "Recrea-
tion and Land Use: The Public Benefits of
Clean Waters."
   Copies are available from John Gerba
(A-104), Office of Environmental Review,
EPA,  Washington, D.C. 20460 or any  EPA
Regional Office, or from the Interior Depart-
ment's Heritage Conservation & Recreation
Service, Division of Community and
Human Resources Development,  Wash-
ington, D.C. 20243, or any HCRS Regional

To  Rebuild  The  Earth
By Eddie Albert
  (want to talk to you about dirt. At least
  some people call it dirt. I call it topsoil.
  It's that precious razor-thin skin of life
 that covers our earth in most places. It
 averages around eight inches in depth.
   On topsoil, the life, the health and the
 happiness of every human being on Earth
 depends: every morsel of food we eat, all
 of our clothes, our houses, timber, bricks,
 wallpaper, furniture, books, magazines,
 newspapers, to keep us warm or cool, and
 to cook our food. They all come from
 plants, trees, and that eight inches of
   When we arrived on this continent a few
 years back, our topsoil averaged around 1 8
 inches in depth. With our intensive agricul-
 tural practices we have eroded it down
 until about eight inches are left between us,
 starvation, and world disaster. When that
 goes, you and I go.
   There are innumerable examples of
 civilizations which have already travelled
 this route. For thousands of years, rich,
 powerful empires, their kings, and govern-
 ments have sold off the sources of their
 wealth, and power—their oil, trees, land,
 metals, other precious resources—in order
 to extract for themselves dollars, votes, and
 security. They didn't know any better. We
 do, or we had better learn it fasti
   Trees were the first to go. It always
 started with the trees. As the local popula-
 tions grew, wood was needed for warmth,
 cooking, lime burning, and timber for hous-
 ing. Solomon cut the famous Cedars of
 Lebanon for his great temples. Alexander
 and the others cut trees to build their war-
 ships. They sold trees for money for their
 treasuries. Rome deforested southern
 Europe from Spain to Palestine. The whole
 north of Africa was ripped off to plant more
 wheat for the expanding Roman population.
   Replanting was unheard of. When the
 trees were gone, the topsoil exposed to the
 rain and wind and sun lost its organic mat-
 ter, humus, source of soil life and the
 spongy quality that gives the soil its ability
 to hold water through droughts. The soil
 dried out, became dead dust and the next
 wind blew it away, or the next rain washed
 it down the river, and the land died. The
 plants and trees could not survive. The
 climate changed as the rain cycle slowed
 down with the deforestation, and the re-
 maining trees expired.
   The wild grass that came was soon de-
 molished by goats who ate roots and all,
 and the once glorious lands of trees, lakes,
Eddie A /her! narrating script for an environ
mental project.
rivers, cities, palaces, universities, fam-
ilies, artists, millions upon millions of
healthy, working, creating, achieving
people, quietly blew away. Splendid civili-
zations collapsed, and are now visible only
as footnotes in the history books, or a few
fragments of pots on a museum shelf.
   In Asia I looked down on an area that
had once supported half a million people.
Years ago it was covered with trees,
houses, and people. Today you see only
coarse sand, gravel, and thousands of
gullies, caused by water erosion and de-
forestation, a wide, sickening expanse
stretching to the horizon, that gashed and
cut the once rich farmland. Their only
harvest: dust and endless desert. Even the
goats are gone. It was not a climatic change
that doomed these ancient civilizations, it
was mismanagement of the land. We are
following that path.
   It takes centuries of the weathering of
rocks to grow an inch of topsoil, and
thousands, even millions, of years to create
a deep, fertile layer. On shallow sloping
hillsides one great rainstorm  can gash and
gully slope down  to bare rock in an hour.
When nature's protecting cover of plants
and trees is cut down, or the carpet of
grass with interlocking roots  is cut open by
the plow, the destroying power of rain or
wind is multiplied a thousand times.
   Not long ago I remarked to my wife that
a lot of people would be drowned in
Bangladesh in five or six days. A week later
she looked at me strangely and asked,
"How did you know? The radio just an-
nounced that hundreds of people were
drowned by floods in Bangladesh." I ex-
plained that a week before I had read that
there were heavy monsoon rains in Nepal.
Nepal is mountain country, and on the
slopes the soil is very thin. When the trees
that anchor the soil are cut down by the
growing population, the unprotected soil
can be washed down the hill in one storm.
It takes about a week for the floods and silt
to make the trip down the  river to
   Millions of tons of eroded silt are  car-
ried down the rivers of the world and as
the river siows down, the silt falls to the
bottom and clogs up the center channel.
The river floods over its  banks and spreads
out over the countryside, creating deep
gullies, washing away farms, herds, vil-
lages, fathers, mothers,  and children.
   Our population explosion is at the heart
of our problem^We can't increase our food
production as fast as our world population
increases: three new mouths to feed each
second, 230,000 new mouths to feed each
day.  But with each passing day we have
less land to work with. To  meet this grow-
ing demand farmers are forced to put un-
bearable pressure on the soil, pressures
our soil is unable to sustain.
   Rotation of crops—wheat, soybeans,
alfalfa—has been replaced by monocul-
ture: corn, corn, corn, or wheat, wheat,
wheat. This method exhausts the organic
matter, the life in the soil,  and increases
pest problems, but people are hungry and
the cash register is jingling. For every
bushel of corn we harvest, we lose two
bushels of topsoil. Topsoil is crucial  to
crop  production, because it contains most
of the organic matter, and  the major share
of nutrients required by the plants.
   Terracing and contour plowing, both
water-holding and erosion-preventing prac-
tices, are being dropped. The big new
machines are too wide, and you can't
afford to slow them down. The use of these
large, heavy machines causes soil com-
paction. Compaction wastes water when
the soil's hard surface permits the rain-
water to rush off the hard surface.
   Because of the high price of grain, there
has been an appalling rush to put under
cultivation millions of acres of the wrong
land, marginal land, and farm it in the
worst, non-conserving way.
                                                                                                         EPA JOURNAL

   Three or four years ago we added around
nine million of such acres of marginal land,
but less than half was put under good con-
servation practices. The following year we
lost, through the resulting erosion, 60 mil-
lion tons of rich, vital topsoii, 60 million
tons that are gone forever. Can you calcu-
late how many starving children could live
off that?
   After the Oklahoma Dust Bowl disaster
in the thirties, a disaster that occurred be-
cause of cultivating marginal land in the
wrong way, the government encouraged
trees to be planted, green belts that would
slow down the eroding wind and protect
the topsoii. Millions of trees were planted
and for forty years the trees did their job
of protection. However, when the high
grain prices hit in 1973, the Secretary of
Agriculture encouraged the green belt trees
to be cut down. "Plant fencerow to fence-
row," he said.
   "!t was a short-sighted thing they did,"
says Professor John Timmons of Iowa
State, "but we got an exhortation from
Washington to increase yields, so farmers
went out and plowed up everything."
   When the marginal land lacks sufficient
rainfall, the farmers must resort to irriga-
tion. He often pumps up the ancient water
from the underground  pools.  It took nature
millions of years to fill these pools and we
are emptying  some of them in an eye-blink
of time, faster than they can be recharged.
   The Ogallala aquifer irrigates millions
of acres in Texas and neighboring states.
Heavy pumping has lowered the water
table as much as 700 feet. Some of the
wells around  Lubbock  have gone dry and
land has been abandoned, left as potential
desert. California has 6,000 new wells this
year and the water table is dropping at the
rate of six feet per month. In other words,
the water pools are being mined, like coal.
Eventually, they will be empty. It should be
remembered that mining always ends in
abandonment, and more desert. We are
consuming our children's water. This kind
of irrigation makes rich fathers, but poor
   Good flat farmland is also  lost, being
taken over for city development. We in the
U.S. lose two to three million acres yearly
with the building of dams, oil refineries,
strip mining, housing developments, shop-
ping centers, highways, parking lots, free-
ways, air fields, military uses, etc. on good
arable flatlands necessary for food
   Even recreational lands are suffering
painfully. Armies of dune-buggies, ski-
mobiles, motorcycles, four-wheel drive
vehicles, campers, motorhomes, and trail-
ers regularly descend on the desert areas,
devastating the vegetation, compacting the
soil, littering the streams, stirring up
clouds of dust, setting fires, frightening
and killing wildlife, killing the shrubs that
hold the topsoii, and starting more soil
   We in America  have lost about one-third
of our arable land  since we arrived here.
At the rate we are  going we will lose an-
other third in the next dozen or so years,
while the population almost doubles. To-
day each acre feeds barely one person. At
the turn of the century, twenty years from
now,, with the loss of acreage and our in-
creased population, not one, but three
people will be trying,to eat off each acre
that's left. Our children are going to be
very hungry.
   I recently have been in Peru, Colombia,
Hong Kong, Mexico City, Manila, Malay-
sia, and Kenya. In  each city I've seen tens
of thousands of acres of shacks made from
flattened kerosene cans and cardboard,
millions of families with little food, water,
no jobs, no sewage disposal, no medical
care and no hope.  In twenty years Mexico
City and Tokyo will each have thirty million
people. How will they get water? Where
will the food be grown? How will it be de-
livered through the crowded streets? These
people will not be  mere numbers or statis-
tics. They will be suffering babies, scream-
ing children, weakened gasping mothers
and fathers with no hope for the end of pain
but death. And each day, the  world has
230,000  more hungry  mouths to feed.
   My father used to say, "We learn from
history that we learn nothing from history."
We are devout in pursuing the same sui-
cidal behavior of exploitation of the land,
deforestation, refusal to study the needs of
our precious topsoii, and indifference to
the health, the survival of our grandchil-
dren and our future generations.
   What can we do? Fortunately, the road
ahead, if we wish  to travel it, is well
charted. But it is difficult.
   We can slow down the birth rate. All are
familiar with that  problem. We can stop
our waste and over-consumption. We can
stop our waste of  food. The food we throw
away daily could feed  over 100 million
hungry people. We in the U.S. are about
6 percent of the world's population but we
use up 38 percent of the world's energy
and food.
  When we look at that photo of our little
earth, taken from the moon, it looks small
and beautiful, but it also looks lonely. It is.
The nearest neighbor is light-years away.
We are all by ourselves, and there is only
so much land, so much water, oxygen,
space, and that's it. There isn't ever going
to be any more, and there is no place next
door where we can go to borrow. We must
learn to love and respect this  beautiful
earth, and learn to protect and conserve
what we have left.
  There isn't a whole lot of time. The
eminent historian, Toynbee, who has spent
a l'rfetime studying the birth and death of
civilizations, puts it this way. He says, "I
am not sure whether it is my daughter, or
my grand-daughter who will witness the
death of this civilization."
  There are.moments in the history of the
world when a new time begins. Usually it is
at a time of desperate crises. We are at
such a moment of great change in our
history, and we must be aware of it. We
have a choice. We can stand off and let
history repeat itself and watch the death of
our hard-earned country; or we can pull
ourselves together, go into action and
solve the problems of food and soil. We
have the know-how, the technology. We
need discipline and courage,  both good
American words, but we also need a new
awareness and greater vision.
   There is a specific moment which we
can look to as the beginning of this new
Age of Awareness. Do you remember the
first time you saw the photograph of the
earth from space? That was the moment,
the Apollo shot. We can never be the same.
That photograph showed us that this earth
is our home, that we are indeed one family,
that we are in this together and we have  a
fight on our hands. We know that there is
enough for everyone's need, but not for
everyone's greed. We must use our knowl-
edge now for the survival  of the human
   Our task: to rebuild the earth. Q
Eddie A Ibert, film and TV actor, has nar-
rated and appeared in several productions
on environmental subjects including EPA
television spots on ocean dumping and an
EPA/Department of Energy film, "Solar
Energy: TheGreat Adventure." The above
article was excerpted from a speech this
year to the National Association of Con-
servation Districts.
                                                                              1 1

We  Must Not  Break
the  Hoop of Life
 By Senator George McGovern
     The hoop, or circle, is the symbol used
     by the Sioux Indian people of South
     Dakota to depict their understanding
of life, It characterizes the interrelationship
between man and nature.
  The lesson of the hoop is that man can-
not dominate nature. Man, animals, water
and plant life; all occupy equivalent posi-
tions along the hoop of life. What man does
must be in harmony with nature or he risks
breaking the hoop—disrupting nature's
equilibrium—with unavoidable conse-
quences for occupants of other niches
along the continuum leading inevitably
back  to man.  It was their desire to stay in
"right relationship" with the world as they
understood it which is the source of the
Sioux's rich heritage of ceremony and
  The people who then "settled" the Great
Plains had  a different philosophy. They
placed God over man, with man as the
steward of God's creation. Our conserva-
tion ethic springs from the desire to be
good stewards. The environmental move-
ment has refined that  concept for modern,
scientific minds.
  Today we use the science of ecology to
enlighten ourselves to the pattern of inter-
relationship between  ourselves and our
environment. The logic of ecology is the
motivation in environmentalism.
  Soil conservation and cropland conver-
sion haven't yet become environmental
"glamour issues" able to compete with
preservation of wilderness, designation of
wild and scenic rivers, promotion of clean
air and  water, or rejuvenation of endan-
gered species populations. But remarkably,
a Louis Harris poll commissioned by the
U.S.  Department of Agriculture reveals
most Americans recognize the need for
national policies addressing the problems
of erosion and loss of prime farmland.
  Published earlier this year, the poll indi-
cates half of our people consider the  mis-
use of soil  and water  resources to be a
serious problem. By a margin of 7-to-1 they
are willing to accept Federal action to pro-
tect farmland from erosion. Over half
consider the loss of good farmland a seri-
ous problem.

"...  Duspitn the harsh national loKsons of
fo/lo'.vfii iv<> jrn continuing to lose about 4
                                         My experience as this Nation's first Food
                                       for Peace Director in 1961 and 1 962 drove
                                       home for me the lessons I learned growing
                                       up in South Dakota's agricultural economy.
                                       The United States' agricultural productivity
                                       is the greatest in the world. The American
                                       farmer feeds not only our people here at
                                       home, but his labors mean the difference
                                       between life and death for millions of
                                       people throughout the worid whose lives
                                       are marred by chronic hunger and malnu-
                                       trition. American agriculture is the founda-
                                       tion of our national economy. The value of
                                       exported agricultural produce is more than
                                       $37 billion.
                                         As proud as we can be of those claims,
                                       our Nation's land-use patterns are jeopard-
                                       izing our productive capacity. In this "era
                                       of plenty" we've allowed our cities to
                                       sprawl into the countryside. Massive ero-
                                       sion is reducing the productivity of our
                                       remaining cropland acres.

                                       Cropland Conversion
                                       In 1978, the Land Use Executive Committee
                                       of the Department of Agriculture looked at
                                       the problem of diminishing cropland and
                                       concluded we aren't facing a major crisis.
                                       They did recognize we are today cropping
                                       367 million acres, only 20 million acres
                                       short of the upper limits available for our
                                       use. They found that although we lose 2.5
                                       million acres of cropland through conver-
                                       sion to other uses we can draw comfort
                                       from the fact we add another 1.3 million
                                       acres to  our cropland base each year.
                                         The fact is, these additional acres aren't
                                       our best. They require irrigation, special
                                       drainage techniques, land-clearing and
                                       energy intensive technologies to make
                                       them tillable. In the process, we also pay
                                       high environmental costs. Why, then, do
                                       we convert cropland acres to other uses?
                                         "Prime farmland" is the best available
                                       for agricultural  production. It's either flat
                                       or gently rolling and isn't susceptible to
                                       erosion. It's our most energy-efficient
                                       acreage. The quality of its soils, its growing
                                       season, and annual precipitation rate
                                       assure its high productivity. But, these
                                       same qualities make prime farmland ideal
                                       for building houses, constructing roads,
                                       the Duxt Bowl era and the Depression that
                                       .5 hi/lion tons of tnpsnil to  wind and water
     fc^ V
,r%     .-,;<
Hf.?w  "'vv,
                                                                                                     EPA JOURNAL


and paving-over as parking lots for shop-
ping centers.

Soil Erosion
When I was a boy growing up in South
Dakota, the impact of soil erosion was
driven home to me  by the desperation of
farmers who couldn't work a living on
parched land from which topsoil was
stripped in dramatic dust storms. When
those dust clouds blew into Washington,
D.C., the Nation mobilized to combat soil
erosion. Shelter belts were planted. The
Civilian Conservation Corps was recruited.
   But despite the harsh national lessons of
the Dust Bowl era and the Depression that
followed,  we are continuing to lose about
4.5 billion tons of topsoil to wind and water
erosion each year.
   The loss of topsoil to erosion impairs the
long-term  productivity of our cropland.
But, as the Soil Conservation Society of
America points out in their recent assess-
ment of soil  conservation policies:
The process of erosion is invisible to most
people. . .  . Because [it is] we have a
sense of complacency about it. Statistics
stir the blood of only a handful and that
handful cannot do the job alone.
I find myself among that  handful of people
and the statistics do stir  my blood.
   Average soil loss tolerance is expressed
in terms of "T-value." On cropland, pas-
ture and forestland, T-value is generally
estimated to be a 5-ton annual loss per
acre. Any  loss greater than that annually is
beyond the soil's ability to maintain the
same quality of production.
   The National Resource Inventories esti-
mate 97 million acres of cropland in the
United States experienced rates of sheet
and rill erosion in excess of T-value in
1977. That'san area the size of Iowa,
North Caroiina, and Ohio combined.
   While harder to come by, the statistics
on wind erosion are equally as startling.
We know  with some certainty that Colorado
lost 8.9 tons of topsoil peracre in 1977.
That's 3.9 tons over T-value or the soil's
tolerance. New Mexico fared worse, losing
11.5 tons  per acre; over twice the soil's
T-value. Texas was worst of all losing 14.9
tons per acre; almost three times the
T-value of Texas soils.
   The problem  of erosion is compounded
by the fact that it sometimes stimulates
cropland conversion. A farmer with erosion
problems  may begin to see his crop yields
drop to unprofitable levels. Unless he
spends a great deal of money in soil treat-
ment or uses greater amounts of expensive
petroleum-based fertilizers, he must accept
the reduced  yields. Often he will instead
convert that cropland to  pasture and bring
some of his pasture into  crops. While this
will  help defer his immediate loss in pro-
duction for another generation, he is at the
same time masking the full impact of ero-
sion and its eventual impact upon our
national economy.

The Combined Problem
The National Agricultural Lands Study un-
dertaken by the President's Council on
Environmental Quality and the U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture estimates if conversion
of prime farmland continues at its present
rate, we can expect Colorado to lose an-
other 345,000 acres by the year 2000, leav-
ing only 1.5 million acres of primefarm-
land in the entire State. New Mexico, by the
same projection, will have lost 44 percent
of its prime farmland by that time. And
most startling, Florida will have lost all of
its prime farmland by the year 2000 if
present rates of conversion go unstemmed
   Think of it: Florida produces over half
of the entire world's grapefruit and a quar-
ter of the world's oranges. Florida's cash
receipts from citrus fruits alone exceed $1
billion annually. Its return on a whole array
of fruits and vegetables—including toma-
toes, celery, sweet corn, lettuce, green
peppers, snap beans, cabbage, watermelons
and potatoes—comes to almost $500
million. Cash receipts on Florida straw-
berries are over $16 million, and even the
lowly cucumber weighs in at $22 million
   While it may have been politically
soothing for the Land Use Executive Com-
mittee of the Department of Agriculture  to
conclude we didn't face a "major crisis"
in 1978, there^ can be little doubt one ison
the way. Sadly enough, our first chief of
what is now the Soil Conservation Service
made the same prediction in the 1930's.
He was heeded then. His words shouldn't
be forgotten now.
   Hugh Bennett, as the Soil Conservation
Society of America claims in the preface
to their assessment of soil conservation
practices, wasn't wrong; he was only ahead
of his time.
So/I erosion . . . and the conversion of our
most productive land . . . to nonproductive
uses cannot fail to reduce our nation's pro-
ductivity. .. . Soil is worth saving.  We must
keep making that point again and again.
Making the point becomes more difficult as
society becomes more and more urban ori-
ented and many people think of milk as
coming from supermarkets instead of the
cow. We must work harder with each new
generation to make our case as people get
farther and farther removed from the land.
The American Land Forum puts it another
way: "The trouble is, when the problem
'goes critical' it may well be beyond
   In the absence of an aggressive national
policy designed to meet this problem di-
rectly, we are forcing ourselves in the
decades ahead to advance programs with
little more vision than razing our suburbs
and shopping centers and jackhammering
our highways and parking lots out of
existence in what will be a futile effort to
to return the land to agricultural produc-
tion. Wearegoing to force our selves to
spend time and energy seeking ways to
carry topsoil back to the land—assuming
we can "catch" it—in an  effort to do what
nature does "naturally" over eons. These
won't be attractive policies by any criteria;
economics, social impacts, energy conser-
vation, or environmentally.
   Homilies passed  down the generations
from  the farmers who were the first stew-
ards of America's cropland give us a clue
to a wiser course in saying, "A stitch in
time saves nine," or "An ounce of preven-
tion is worth a pound of cure."
   The science of ecology, if we will
but heed its lessons, tells us what must be
done so that we don't upset nature's equi-
librium in a way that will jeopardize man's
existence and that of a host of plant and
animal species.
   But sadly enough, the heritage of the
Sioux held the answer all along. We must
not break the hoop of life. Having done so
there are no ceremonies or superstitions in
which modern man  can escape the conse-
quences of his action, but we can use our
minds and our technology to help return us
to "right relationship" in regard to the
land over which we are today the stewards.
   The impacts of the crisis will be so pro-
found and so less easy to remedy than our
energy problems that soil conservation and
cropland conversion deserve to be the
environmental "glamour issues" of this
decade. D
Senator McCovern is next in line for Chair-
manship of the Senate Agriculture, Nutri-
tion and Forestry Committee and is Chair-
man of its Subcommittee on Nutrition. He
a/so is a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee and the Joint Eco-
nomic Committee.
                                                                   EPA JOURNAL

The  First
By LaDonna Harris
      Most of our history books give the
        impression that until the Euro-
        peans came, this continent and its
resources were unused and that their
values were unrecognized. But those of us
who are from or studied the first people on
this continent know otherwise.

The First Americans
The first people on this continent were
groups of people who lived in harmony
with its life cycles. They were different
groups of people—different from one an-
other who had different  languages, differ-
ent cultures, different religions, different
beliefs—nations of people joined together
for common purposes. These nations had
systems of governments and regulated
themselves to provide for their common
defense and common welfare.  Each nation
thought of themselves as "The Peoples."
All the nations had one underlying com-
monality—an understanding and a respect
for the total environment. Every rock, every
plant, every animal, every insect, every
person had a roleto play in maintaining the
delicate balance that made life possible or
impossible. Indians were not only the first
peoples on this continent, they were the
first environmentalists.

The Newcomers
The newcomers, on the other hand, came
with a much different perspective, "Civili-
zation" had come early  to them. In their
homelands many had already crowded into
cities. Some were adventurers bent on
gaining riches based on their own eco-
nomic values. Some were criminals. Some
were religious fanatics. Most were victims
of oppression either of the rich and ruling
classes or of religious persecution. They
came seeking freedom and a new way of

The Difference
If there was a basic difference  between the
newcomers and the people they found
here, it was in their approach to nature. The
new people attacked their new environ-
ment, determined to conquer the land and
its people. They were not willing to learn
to live within the existing system. The first
peoples jived within the various environ-
mental systems of the land. They under-
stood its hurts, understood its needs, and
its methods of healing itself. They also
understood that it sometimes needed a
iittle help from its friends.
   Before the influx of Europeans, there
was space and there was time for nature to
heal itself when something was taken out
or added to the environment. With the new-
comers intent upon extracting natural re-
sources for their own support and for ex-
port to Europe, the balance of nature was
relatively quickly destroyed. Wilderness
was replaced by farmland in vast quan-
tities. Cities grew up along streams  which
served as transportation routes and  as
waste repositories. Trees were cut down to
meet housing requirements and to clear
more land for farming. New technologies
and new diseases were introduced into the
environment. Indians died from the  new
diseases and moved following game or
we re driven out with the foreign weapons
and sheer numbers of newcomers. Their
environment protection systems along with
education, economic, and governing sys-
tems, all of which were closely related to
the cultural and religious beliefs, were
badly disrupted.
   The years that followed were not  a
proud chapter in the history of America
insofar as the relationship between the
Indian nations and the newcomers and
later the United States are concerned.
However, some three hundred Indian na-
tions have survived and are alive and if not
well, are recovering today.

Five Hundred  Years Later
After almost five hundred years, there is at
least a rising consciousness  on the part of
us who now share this continent that this
land and its resources are not endless.
   Indians are still the most serious  envi-
ronmentalists. Indian nations were forced
onto smaller and smaller plots of this con-
tinent. Our reservations, from the largest
which is larger than the State of West
Virginia to our smallest of just a few acres
—are the only land we are ever going to
have as a people. We must take care of
what we have. We cannot allow our  land to
be polluted or washed away. We cannot
allow the underground watertable to be
polluted—our plants to die from this pollu-
tion. We cannot continue to pollute  our air
so our eyes and lungs hurt from the
coal dust that is being stripped. We cannot
continue digging holes in our mother with-
out reclaiming and revegetating her.

How Do We Work Together?
How do we work together to get more
people, lawmakers, law-enforcers and all
people to understand and work towards
protecting what's left of our environment?
And to ask why some people want to do
away with the Environmental Protection
Agency or any other governmental agency
that is responsible for protecting us in our
environment? Maybe in asking these ques-
tions we will be ableto provide new
answers and new solutions to our ever-
growing problems.  Indian people believe
there is a purpose in all things—maybe
"The People" are here for that purpose.
  Indians have survived because of their
abilities to cope with changing conditions.
Perhaps a part of this comes from an inner
strength that comes with the special rela-
tionship with the land. As we approach the
end of the twentieth century, there is a
renewed determination in the Indian com-
munity to protect that which we have left.
We all have a responsibility in this effort.
Some have to make crucial development
decisions. Some have the ability and there-
fore, the responsibility to provide reliable
information to the decision-makers. Some
have to carry out the decisions that are
made. Some will have to question deci-
sions and look for better ways. Some may
have to forego immediate economic gains
and make extra effort to find environmen-
tally sound means of development.
  Indian efforts will bring benefits to those
around us and the country as a whole.
There is no longer time or space for nature
to heal itself. It must have help from its
friends. Together, perhaps, we can provide
that help. D
La Donna Harris, a Comanche Indian, is
President and founder of Americans for
Indian Opportunity. She also is a member
of the Environmental Advisory Council of
the Department of Energy and the National
Commission on Mental Health, and serves
on boards of several national organizations.
She is the wife of former U.S. Senator Fred
Harris of Oklahoma.

                             Do We Need  a
                             By Representative
                             James M. Jeffords
     Do we need an urgent crisis to form
     responsible public policy that would
     balance the need for agricultural
land with economic growth?
  As legislators, we like to think that the
answer is no—that Congress and State
legislatures have the ability, through laws,
to balance conflicting demands. Experience
of the past, however, shows that such ac-
tion 1s slow in coming, especially in
  One example of our slow national re-
sponse to issues that should have been
recognized while they are stil! only poten-
t/a/ crises is America's energy situation.
  This Nation's energy crisis did not just
happen—-it was many years in the making,
                  EPA JOURNAL

and it could have been predicted. Up until
1948, the United States was a net exporter
of oil. From 1948 on, however, the U.S.
thirst for oil increased almost geometri-
cally, and what was then cheap imported
oil took a larger and larger share of the
U.S. market. Between 1973 and early
1979, U.S. oil imports almost doubled. The
magnitude of the impending energy crisis
did not become generally known until the
1973 OPEC oil embargo and successive
price increases by OPEC delivered power-
ful political and economic shocks around
the world.
  The energy crisis is no longer impend-
ing, it is here—yet the U.S. still does not
have what could be called an energy policy.
It has only continuing debates over pro-
posed national energy goals.
   If the energy crisis has illustrated any-
thing, it is that events of the past can give
indications of the future. An increased re-
liance on cheap foreign oil, in retrospect,
should have told us of our possible bond-
age to foreign desires. Our thirst for oil
should have told us that there was a need
to develop domestic energy  alternatives.
Thus, the U.S. dependence on foreign oil,
the OPEC oil embargo, and the OPEC cartel
oil price increases were only symptoms of
an energy crisis; the cause of the crisis was
the lack of a domestic energy policy to
encourage conservation, domestic self-
reliance, and openness to alternative fuels.
   It is easy to draw comparisons between
these events, and what they  should have
told us, and the  happenings of the past few
years related to  U.S. food and fiber
   When there is an abundance of a
product, it Is hard for people to believe
that there may be a scarcity  in the future.

Shrinking Cropland Base
The United States has been an agricultural
giant, The share of U.S.-grown crops going
abroad has risen from one-fifth to one-
third, while our  own citizens continue to eat
better and better.
   Even though this food supply situa-
tion looks optimistic, the future does not
look promising at all for either increasing
yields or increasing (or even maintaining)
the cropland base.
   What is the potential for increasing the
cropland base?
   Each week, the United States loses to
other uses 20,000 acres of its best agri-
cultural land and an overall total of two to
three million acres of farmland each year.
Most of this land is lost from agriculture
forever—it could be reclaimed only at con-
siderable cost and loss of other values. At
this rate of conversion, the remaining
American cropland "frontier" that could
be put into production at minimal cost and
without serious  environmental damage will
be closed in another decade.
   Preliminary statistics compiled by the
National Agricultural Lands  Study, now
being conducted by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and the Council  on Environ-
mental Quality,  show that the Nation may
lose as much as 22.4 million acres (7 per-
cent) of its prime farmland by the year
2000. In New England, the loss of produc-
tive agricultural  land already has been so
great that the region now imports over 80
percent of its food, and prices are pro-

Terrace farming  in contour pattern has long
been practiced on many American farms
to retain topsoil.
jected to be from 10 to 1 5 percent higher
than if the commodities were produced
within New England.
   If this country is losing prime agricul-
tural land at such a rapid rate, what about
using the marginal or less productive land
to increase production? Such a shift would
be expensive. Not only does marginal land
require more inputs of fertilizer, petroleum
fuels, and agricultural chemicals, but also
such land  is prone to increased soil ero-
sion and other environmental hazards.
Over the next 50 years, the loss of produc-
tivity due to cropland erosion will be
equivalent to the loss of from 25  to 62
million acres. Using marginal land or less
productive soils could further increase the
potential for soil erosion.

No Technological Fix
What about the potential for increasing
productivity through technological ad-
vancements?  in the period following
World War II, American farmers  took ad-
vantage of good weather and advances in
agricultural technology to boost crop pro-
duction by 1 50 percent over the 1950 level
—on 50 million fewer acres. Yet techno-
logical advances in the foreseeable future
probably will be less dramatic—evidence
seems to run counter to any more "quick
fixes." A 1975 report by the National
Academy of Sciences concluded that no
significant breakthroughs of the magnitude
of hybrid corn can be reasonably predicted
over the next two decades. A 1976 Con-
gressional Research Service report con-
cluded that past levels of agricultural
research and development will not be
adequate for America's long-term future
   In the absence of mo re "quick fixes,"
and with a continuing decrease in the
cropland base, I am concerned about
America's ability to meet domestic and
world food demands.
   Worldwide food demands will continue
to increase sharply through the next cen-
tury because of population increases;
drives for better nutrition and against star-
vation; changes in food and fiber prefer-
ences and other market adjustments:
adaptation by crop pests and diseases; and
periodic upheavals in weather and politics.
In fact, one expert has predicted  that we
will need to grow more food by the end of
this century than has been produced since
world agriculture began.
   Will the United States be able to take
advantage of either the economic or the
humanitarian opportunity that this world-
wide food demand presents? I believe
strongly that the answer will be no, if we
don't steady the farmland base and solve
these other problems with American

• The remaining agricultural land left in
production will require more inputs of fer-
tilizer to maintain our fevel of production.
• Costs of mechanization and agricultural
chemicals are increasing rapidly along with
the price of the fossil fuels on which they
• Chemical technology, as applied to mod-
ern agriculture, can hardly keep up with
the growing  resistance of insect pests and
weeds to the compounds used. Environ-
mental legislation has necessarily re-
stricted the use of many once-routine
agricultural chemicals because they are
toxic to mankind and to fish and wildlife
as well as to the organisms they were de-
signed to inhibit.
0 Competition for water, rising pumping
costs, and declining water tables may
cause the abandonment of farming activ-
ities in many areas of the western U.S. So
will the significant salinity present in the
upper layers of 20 percent of the soils in
the western U.S. Production has been
eliminated or significantly reduced on
1 50,000 to 200,000 acres because of
increased salinity, and the number of acres
is increasing annually at a rate of about
10 percent.
  As if those weren't enough troubles for
American agriculture, an "oil backout
plan" proposed by the Administration with-
out the necessary environmental  safe-
guards could accelerate the acid rain prob-
lem in the United States and Canada, just
as industrial growth has in Europeand
Scandinavia. Acid rain and other forms of
atmospheric deposition can cause the
leaching of valuable nutrients from the soil
as well as directly affecting forest and crop
   Finally, we  know that vast amounts of
American land will be required to grow
crops that can be used for  alcohol produc-
tion—a further demand on what is already
a limited resource.

An Environmental Resource
Aside from its importance for producing
crops, of course, and for providing a satis-
fying way of life and means of livelihood
for several million people, farmland also is
an important environmental resource. Open
agricultural land provides a recharge area
for groundwater supplies. Metropolitan
areas have used agricultural land to recycle
wastes. Cultivated and forest lands absorb
great amounts of carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere. The only better sinks for this
pollutant are the oceans. Agricultural areas
in or near metropolitan areas provide ways
for urban citizens to learn  about agriculture
and the natural environment. I could list
many more positive contributions of agri-
cultural land to America, but most should
be obvious.
   If there is an agricultural land problem,
what can be done about it? Even those who
agree that there is a problem have trouble
answering the question. Some of them are
asking the question I
   Few of us want national land use plan-
ning. Yet, if we continue to wait, as we did
with energy, a massive Federal response
will be  inevitable. The prospect of the
Washington bureaucracy's taking over the
management  of America's farmlands is
frightening. Is it inevitable?
   Many people inevitably argue that any
discussion of a national public policy on
agricultural lands protection implies that
the discussant is for national land use
planning. Such an argument is ironic  in-
deed—the Federal Government has had a
pervasive influence for many years on how
land is used in this country. During discus-
sions of proposed national land use policy
legislation  in  the 92nd Congress, a list was
prepared of about 75 major Federal legis-
lative enactments, policy  statements, and
governmental reorganization efforts for the
period  1944-71  that related to land use.
Within the Executive Branch, 23 Federal
departments and independent agencies
were identified as having programs related
to land use policy and planning; 11 2  Fed-
eral land-oriented programs were identi-
fied. The  National Agricultural Lands Study
recently identified more than 11 0 Federal
programs that might impact on  agricultural

Encouraging Local Government
The issue, then, is not national  land use
planning, but rather how to minimize the
impact of Federal programs on  the conver-
sion of productive agricultural land, how to
encourage  State and  local governments to
consider  the protection of productive agri-
cultural land during their own planning
processes, and how to help people who
want to continue farming  or ranching with-
stand the pressures to get out.
   In this session of the 96th Congress, 80
of my colleagues joined with me in spon-
soring  legislation to encourage the protec-
tion of  agricultural land. The legislation  1
introduced had  two purposes: First, to
encourage States and local units of govern-
ment to develop programs to protect  agri-
cultural land. The best and most appropri-
ate land use policy, I  believe, is that which
is developed  and implemented  at the local
level. Second, the bill as drafted would
have required that Federal actions would
have to be consistent with State and local
plans for agricultural land.
   The bill failed in the House of Repre-
sentatives on February 7 of this year, but
the need  to further the protection of pro-
ductive agricultural  land is still very much
alive. I am encouraged that many  State and
local governments have developed unique
ways to protect this vital resource of stra-
tegic importance to the future of ourNation.
Most of these techniques recognize that
the farmer's equity in his land must be
protected. I also am encouraged that at
least two Federal agencies—the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and the Envi-
ronmental Protection Agency—have de-
veloped internal policies relating to
productive agricultural land.
   The remaining challenge  is not only to
have other Departments and agencies
develop similar internal policies, but also
to have better coordination among these
agencies and between levels of govern-
ment. A further challenge is to greatly
increase the flow of information to com-
munities that need to make difficult choices
regarding their land base and other natural
   i am very encouraged by a recent Louis
Harris poil that indicated that 53 percent of
Americans consider the loss of productive
agricultural land to be a "very serious"
problem. The public seem to understand an
old saying by Will Rogers that "land is
something that they don't make much of
these days."
   As a representative of the people of
Vermont, and as one of 435 Congressmen
interested in the long-term future of our
Nation and all its citizens and neighbors, I
will continue my efforts to encourage and
support efforts by landowners themselves
—and by the organizations  and govern-
ment agencies that assist them—to protect
one of our most important natural and
economic resources, agricultural land. D
Representative James M. Jeffords is a
key minority member of the House
Committees on Agriculture and Education
and Labor. He has sponsored legislation
16-help farmers and local governments
protect and strengthen American agri-
                                                                                                            EPA JOURNAL

Energy  From  Biomass
By Philip H. Abelson
fBiomass is organic material
such as trees, crops, seaweed,
and a/gae that has captured and
stored energy from the sun.
This energy can be re/eased
through conversion processes
to produce various fuels, with
byproducts for food, fertilizer
and chemicals. The following is
a summary of the World Con-
gress and Exposition on Bio-
Energy, held in Atlanta last
April, where specialists from
40 countries met to discuss
progress in utilizing this energy
      [ any countries are mov-
        ing with increasing
        urgency to obtain larg-
er fractions of the'ir energy from
biomass. It is evident, based on
their presentations at the World
Congress, that Brazil, China,
Sweden, and the United States
are leaders  in  this field. The
Brazilian program is impres-
sive, especially in the pro-
duction and use of alcohol.
At present, most Brazilian auto-
mobiles burn gasohol, which in
their case contains 10 to 20
percent alcohol in comparison
to 10 percent used here in the
United States. Butthe Brazilians
are  moving beyond gasohol to
employ only alcohol as a motor
fuel. This is advisable, since
an automobile can burn 80
percent alcohol-water mix and
thus avoids the expenditure of
much energy in distillation.
  This year, Brazil will  build
250,000 cars designed  to use
alcohol, and will convert
another  70,000 existing auto-
mobiles to burn alcohol. The
source of their fuel is fermen-
tation of sugar from sugarcane,
and hundreds  of distilleries
are being built in rural areas.
  Another very interesting
effort is  being  made by Sweden,
which is in the initial stages
of a great program to shift from
its present 70  percent depend-
ence on imported oil to achieve
complete energy independence.
The Swedes have no coal, no
oil, no natural gas. The thought
of a sudden cutoff of oil is
something to make them liter-
ally shiver because about 40
percent of  the imported oil is
used for home heating.
Prudence dictates they adapt
to other energy sources. For-
tunately, a large area of the
country is  covered with trees.
The Swedes estimate there is
sufficient forest potential to
shift to wood asaprimesource
of energy,  and they can even
visualize that the gross national
product could increase while
they do so.
  They plan to grow fast rota-
tion trees that can be harvested
every three to five years, and
they are experimenting with
willow and birch. The trees are
mowed down and collected
in winter and the next spring
new shoots arise from the
stumps so the tree does not
have to use energy in estab-
lishing a new root system.
  The efforts of the People's
Republic of China to produce
methane from biomass wastes
are very impressive. They have
about 71 5 million biogas
                              Dr. Me/vin Ca/vin of the University of California, Berkeley, examines
                              a member of the poinsetta family (Eurphorbia lathy risi, a weed now
                              growing wild that could be cultivated to produce petroleum.
installations. One of the dark
things happening today is that
in many countries the forests
are being cut down for cooking
fuel, with consequent defores-
tation and soil erosion. In the
Chinese case, replacement of
wood with methane derived
from human and animal wastes
makes a program of reforesta-
tion feasible.
   In the United States we are
conducting at least six hundred
different research and develop-
ment projects aimed at increas-
ing use of bio-energy.  Most
impressive was the display of
equipment at the exposition.
Particularly noteworthy was a
tree chipper that could reduce
a sizable tree, branches and
all, into chips about the size of
an old silver dollar in about
thirty seconds.
   Other pieces of equipment
were designed to handle the
collection and processing of
biomass. One item, available
for $6,000, was a complete
portable alcohol production
device that included all phases
necessary to obtain alcohol
from grain. One can visualize
that alcohol production equip-
ment for the farm will  eventu-
ally be even cheaper and would
fit  into a total system.
   One of the problems of
processing biomass is that the
material usually must  be
collected and hauled to a
production plant with high
transportation costs. For ex-
ample, a man from International
Paper told me he could get only
$30 a ton for wood in Maine,
while 200 miles away  in Boston
he could get  $60 a ton. Most of
that difference in cost  was in
handling and transportation.
   A small item that drew
attention at the exhibit was a
solar still that operated under a
partial vacuum. Many  of the
other exhibits at the exposition
were capable of playing a role

in small, decentralized energy
  One of the lessons to be
learned is that each country has
its own opportunities for pro-
duction of energy. For example,
in Brazil the emphasis is on
sugarcane and cassava, while
in Sweden the energy source
will principally be wood.
  In terms of renewable re-
sources, the various regions of
the United States aiso have
different opportunities.  Trees
will be inportant in tha  south-
east, in the Atlantic states, in
Michigan, and in Oregon and
Washington. In certain areas,
wind energy will be useful; in
others, geo'.hermal. In the
southwest, solar energy will
have a particular advantage.
  The crucial determinant in
the adoption of bio-energy will
be economics. Governments
can encourage the production
of fuels such as alcohol through
subsidies. But the large-scale
use of bio-energy will depend
on competitive costs. If big
money could be made now in
bio-energy, many volunteers
would jump in.

Food Versus Fuel
One issue that surfaced re-
peatedly at the Congress can
be described as food versus
fuel, or lumber,  pulp, and paper
versus energy.
  Consider the economic situa-
tion of the large forest product
companies in the United States.
   EPA And  Bio-Energy
   By  Don Lief
   EPA's role in the development of bio-energy includes many
   activities directly related to renewable energy sources. The
   reasons for EPA's involvement include:
   •  Environmental benefits from reduced consumption of
   polluting hydrocarbons and fossil fuels.
   •  Slowing the cost-spiral of collection, treatment, and dis-
   posal of biomass.
   •  Incentives for innovative technologies to meet clean air
   and water standards while spawning new fuel production.
      From an environmental perspective, biomass converted to
   energy offers considerable promise. Reclaiming the products
   of photosynthesis, however, will not be without side-effects,
   some of which are not yet fully understood. Full-scale com-
   mitments to bio-energy development will have to deal with
   questions of human health, ecosystems, and economics.
      Several of EPA's laws encourage research and develop-
   ment in bio-energy, particularly the provisions for innovative
   technology  in the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conser-
   vation and Recovery Act. Those laws, plus the Clean Air Act
   Amendments, also have direct regulatory bearing on bio-
   mass-derived fuels, especially alcohol and wood.
      With its broad interest in bio-energy, EPA was among the
   first Federal agencies to support research dealing with oil
   production from wastes, conversion of wood wastes to
   sugars (the raw material for distilled alcohol), pyrolysis of
   municipal and industrial waste, and sylviculture. The Agency
   continues to support the concept of bio-energy in several
   program activities.
      The rapidly growing popularity of household woodburning
   stoves  may  pose a serious environmental problem.  Airtight
   stoves  emit high levels of carbon monoxide and polynuclear
   organics. EPA has commissioned the Battelle Memorial
   Institute to study stove emissions, and eventually the study
   wili lead to proposed improvements in the design and manu-
   facture of woodburning stoves, making them safer and more
   heat-efficient. Without improvements—and better public
High-grade lumber can be sold
for as much as S1,000 a ton.
At present, the price of oil is
about $200 a ton. There is
about twice as much energy in
a ton of oil as  in a ton of wood.
Thus, there is  a difference
energy cost of those two items.
  A similar situation prevails
with some of the paper prod-
ucts. The cellulose in them  is
much too valuable to be used as
energy. The going price of
paper is on the order of $400 a
ton. Again, there is a difference
factor of 4 in favor of produc-
ing paper. Only the wastes and
residues that cannot readily
be used for products are today
economic when used as energy
sources. The situation in the
future, of course, could change
greatly depending on oil prices
and on the availability of tree
materials grown by fast
  Wood has some advantages.
It can be gasified at about 700
degrees Centigrade, against
1000 C. for coal. In addition,
there are far fewer problems
with sulfur in the use of wood.
Nevertheless, the present eco-
nomics in most places favors
coal as the source of the gas.
However, if concerns about
carbon dioxide problems are
demonstrated to be valid, a
great social pressure could
arise that might curtail the use
of coal.
                               understanding of the problem—residential use of wood
                               could undo some cities' advances in air quality.
                                 On the horizon, Federal subsidies for gasohol will inspire
                               expanded production of grain-derived alcohol. As research
                               in cellulose conversion shows results, wood waste may also
                               become a primary raw material for this fuel. Meanwhile,
                               however, EPA is conducting an assessment of the environ-
                               mental impacts of gasohol production facilities (e.g., treat-
                               ment of high-volume sludges). The conclusions will be used
                               by State permit-granting agencies in considering  industry
                               site applications.
                                 In addition, the actual use of gasohol is being tested by
                               EPA's Motor Vehicles Emissions Laboratory at Ann Arbor,
                               Mich. Its recent studies have  found that gasohol-powered
                               autos have much lower emissions of carbon monoxide but
                               hydrocarbon levels increased 18 percent. There were also
                               slightly increased nitrogen oxide and aldehyde emissions.
                                 Solid waste is a major EPA concern. The Agency gives
                               strong support to localities that are interested in different
                               approaches to waste-to-energy conversion. One of the most
                               sophisticated examples of this use of bio-energy is Akron,
                               Ohio's new recycling plant. When in full operation this fall,
                               the plant will supply steam heat for 250 downtown busi-
                               nesses. Air quality will improve because Akron does not
                               have to burn 500,000 gallons of oil a year. In addition, land-
                               fill requirements there will drop by an  estimated 70 per cent.
                                 EPA planning grants in resource recovery—including
                               waste-to-energy conversion—have gone to more than 60
                               U.S. cities. These grants are further supported by technical
                               assistance. A detailed model  for resource recovery project
                               management has gained wide acceptance, and more than
                               2,000 persons have attended EPA's regional seminars for
                               detailed "how-to" information.
                                 Ultimately, bio-energy must compete in economic terms
                               to make a significant contribution to America's energy
                               independence, it will require  extensive research and devel-
                               opment, effective technologies, long-term supplies of raw
                               materials, and public acceptance. Although other agencies
                               retain primary responsibilities for biomass development,
                               EPA will continue to support this trend, while assuring that
                               environmental considerations are not overlooked. D

                               Don Lief is energy coordinator for EPA's Office of Public
                               A wareness.
                                                                           EPA JOURNAL

Production of
Ethyl Alcohol
At this time, an important
application in which bioenergy
is competitive, or nearly so,
isintheformofa liquidfuel
such as ethyl alcohol. Already,
from the standpoint of Brazil's
national economy, domestic
alcohol is superior to imported
oil. Considering the trend in
world oil prices, the economics
will soon be much more favor-
able in Brazil.
   Economics will also be favor-
able here, even without the
present tax subsidy. The crea-
tion of an expanded capacity to
produce alcohol in the United
States is now proceeding.
   If 10 percent of the corn crop
were devoted to alcohol an
annual production of 1.8 billion
gallons would result. This
would rep lace a bout 1.6 per-
cent of the annual consumption
of gasoline. If larger amounts
of grain were used, the argu-
ment about food versus fuel
would begin to become loud.
Already, higher prices have led
to a decrease in the use of
gasoline, much higher prices
seern inevitable, and interrup-
tions of supply are  likely. These
factors could result in a much
larger demand for the use of
   Only part of a  large demand
could be obtained from grain.
The remainder must come from
wood. In addition,  methanol
derived from wood or coal is
likely to be used. At the confer-
ence, many presentations were
made on the use of wood as a
source of alcohol. They dealt
with some of the major prob-
lems that are involved, largely
due to wood's complex molec-
ular structure.

Increasing Production
of Biomass
When one surveys the overall
situation—demands for food,
materials, paper, wood—it
becomes apparent that it is
necessary to expand the bio-
mass supply. Instead of having
a fight about dividing a small
pie, let's expand the size of
the pie.
   For example, there are large
areas of scrublands around the
world that are not suitable for
agriculture. Some are too hilly
for agriculture, and tilling them
would bring about soil erosion,
but the trees on them could
be usefully harvested.
  As another example, the
Brazilians also have great areas
that are suitable for cassava,
a plant that can be grown in
very poor soil. We here in the
United States have very large
areas that now have only scrub
brush on them. We could
expand our production of bio-
mass substantially if old
abandoned farms were turned
into tree plantations.
  Yields of biomass are already
being increased by genetic
improvement. A highly practi-
cal method is genetic selection,
that  is, selecting the best trees
and planting their offspring.
Improvements potentially could
be expedited by cloning, using
tissue cultures that can provide
fast reproduction of superior
   One of the exciting distant
possibilities is expansion of
marine culture. Typical ocean
water is rather barren of
nutrients, but in the parts of
the ocean where upwelling
brings up nutrient-rich water
from the deeps, great produc-
tion  of algae and fish occurs.
Efforts are now being made to
artifically induce the upwelling
of water.
   There is a pilot installation
off southern California, for
example, where a plastic pipe
60 centimeters in diameter
(about 24 inches) reaches 500
meters below the surface to tap
nutrient-rich water and bring it
up to about 10 meters from the
surface. The energy required
to do this is really trivial, and
large quantities of cold,
nutrient-rich water can be
brought up.
   A framework is provided on
which kelp can attach them-
selves, grow and be protected.
The experiments so far have
shown that a very good growth
of kelp can occur there.

Chemicals from Biomass
At this conference, most
emphasis was placed on the
role and importance of bio-
derived chemicals to be used
as energy sources. A broader
view of the situation should be
taken. After all, a substantial
fraction of petroleum is not
burned as gasoline, but is
converted into high-priced
petrochemicals. Some day
those petrochemicals are not
going to be available, and  then
high-priced chemicals from
biomass will be able to com-
mand a market.
  There can be no question of
the long-term importance  of
renewable energy and renew-
able  material sources. Some
countries, such as Sweden, will
probably move rapidly toward
almost complete utilization of
biomass. Many other countries
that lack coal or other fossil
fuels will find it necessary to
depend on the sun and its
photosynthetic products.
  To have an advanced society
will require the use of large
quantities of organic chemical
for materials and for liquid
fuels. Thus, I project that in the
future, at least half  of the
world's energy requirements
will be furnished by biomass.
  There are those who are very
impatientfor an immediate
transition, unhappy such major
changes cannot be made over-
night. They should remember
that earlier transitions from
wood to coal and coal to oil and
natural gas required about 50
years. Because oil will be-
come scarce and very costly
much sooner than in 50 years,
the transition this time will be
  Others tend to be dis-
appointed that bio-energy at
this moment supplies only a
small percentage of total
energy requirements, but  bio-
energy is already a multibillion-
dollar industry. For this genera-
tion, association with the
development of bio-energy is
one of the most challenging
existing opportunities. There is
scientific research to be con-
ducted, many processes to be
developed by engineers. Imagi-
native entrepreneurs will  find
many ways to make their
fortunes by inventing processes
and  producing equipment to
meet the needs of this multi-
billion-dollar industry. D

Philip H. Abelson is editor of
Science magazine.  The above
article was adapted from his
remarks to the Bio-Energy Con-
gress last April.
Sources of Further


on Bio-Energy

The Bio-Energy Council
1625 I St.. N.W.
Suite 825A
Washington. DC. 20006

International Biomass Institute
1522KSI  NW
Suite 600
Washington. D C  20005
202 783-1 133

National Wood Energy Association
P 0 Box 534
Bloomfield Hills. Michigan 4801 3

National Gasohol Con-
521 S. 14th St
Suite 5
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

National Alcohol Fuels
Information Center
Solar f
Research Institute (SERI)
161 7 Cole Blvd
Golden. Colorado 80401
     •29 5555
i.ln Colo  800 332 8339)

Technical Information Center
PO. Box 62
OakRi<:            .17830
61 5/574 1000

Institute of Gas Technology
3424 South State St
Chicago, Illinois 6061 6

National Center for Appropriate
P.O. Box 3838
Butte. Montana 59701
406 494-4572

California Energy Commission
1111 Howe Avenue
Sacramento, California 95825
916 920-6033

CVarks Regional <
1 100 North Univcrsil1
Suite 1 09 i •
Littln Rock, Arkansas 72207
501/378 5905

Wood Energy Institute
1 101 Connecticut Ave  N W
Suite 700
Washington. DC  20036
202/857-1 181

Alternative Energy Proi
Nation;)! Rural Electri,:
Cooperative Association
1 800 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC. 20036

      an Public Power Association
2600 Virginia Ave .N.W.
Washington. DC  20037

National Alcohol Fuel's Commission
412 First St., S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20003
202/426 6490

By Dean Rebuffoni
                                     Towboat and barges carrying coal on the Mississippi. (Minneapolis Tribune photo.)
 In northern Minnesota, beside a creek that
  slips quickly through a grove of tall
  pines, there is a post upon which is
carved a short, simple message:

1475 ft above the ocean
the Mighty Mississippi
begins to flow
on its winding way
2552 miles to the
Gulf of Mexico

  That creek, the tiny beginning of the
Nation's greatest river, flows clear and
clean through the conifers, and  remains un-
spoiled for 53 miles downstream, to the
city of Bemidji, Minn.
  And there purity ends. From Bemidji to
the sea, the Mississippi River is, albeit in
varying degrees, a polluted stream. Only
along those first 53 miles downstream from
its source at Lake Itasca  is the great river
truly free of man's wastes.
  But strides have been made in recent
years in abating pollution ail along the
Mississippi's long, meandering course.
Indicative of that progress is what has hap-
pened at Bemidji, the city with the unen-
viable reputation of being the river's first
  The community of 12,000 people sits on
the shore of Lake Bemidji, a wide reservoir
through which the Mississippi flows. It's a
popular lake, ringed with homes and
cabins and crowded with fishermen and
boaters on warm summer days.
  For years, the city discharged its sewage
directly into the lake. Because of its size—
nearly 7,000 acres—and because of the
ceaseless influx of the Mississippi's clean
waters, Lake Bemidji was able to assimilate
the effluent.
  But the city was growing, and its treat-
ment plant couldn't properly handle the in-
creasing load of sewage. By the early
1950's, lakeshore residents were com-
plaining about foul odors, algae and water-
quality problems.
  To quiet the clamor, Bemidji  officials in
1956 came up with an ingenious idea—or
so it seemed at the time. They built a pipe-

 line that skirted Lake Bemidji. That al-
 lowed the city to pump its inadequately
 treated sewage—up to a million gallons a
 day—direct.y into the Mississippi down-
 stream from the lake.
   That was good for Lake Bemidji, but
 bad for downstream riverfront property
 owners, who became the reluctant recip-
 ients of the odor, afgae and water-quality
 problems. They began demanding that
 Bemidji clean up its pollution.
   The controversy came to a head in 1978,
 when the Minnesota Pollution Control
 Agency directed the city to switch its sew-
 age discharge back to Lake Bemidji. The
 agency acted on the advice of an inde-
 pendent State hearing examiner, Howard
 KaibeiJr.,whohad listened to the com-
 plaints of downstream residents.
   Moving the sewage discharge back to
 the lake, said Kaibel, would provide
 Bemidji's town fathers with a "built-in
 policing system" and encourage them to
 upgrade the 45-year-old treatment plant.
 He said the city, faced with water pollution
 at its very doorstep, would be motivated to
 "move as quickly as possible to minimize
 the amount of time it will have to live with
the problem."
   Minnesota officials were able to require
 Bemidji to accept Kaibel's plan because, to
 continue operating its antiquated treatment
plant, the city needed a permit under the
 EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimi-
nation System.
   As a condition for getting its NPDES
 permit, Bemidji also was required to install
 phosphorus-removal equipment at its plant.
Although the city's sewage is again going
into Lake Bemidji, the equipment removes
enough of the nutrient to prevent a recur-
rence of the algae and odor problems.
   Also, the EPA is preparing an environ-
mental-impact statement that may call for
 Bemidji to build a new treatment plant. A
new plant would protect both  Lake Bemidji
and the Mississippi from again being sub-
jected to inadequately treated sewage.
   The solution to Bemidji's pollution of
the river was a  rather radical one. But it
appears to be working, and things are im-
proving near the river's headwaters.
   But that's only a short segment of a very
long river, and much more remains to be
done a long the Mississippi from the pine
forests of northern Minnesota to the cypress
bayous of southern Louisiana.
   The cleanup effort is a big one,  because
nearly everything about the Mississippi is
big. "It is not a commonplace river,"
Samuel Clemens wrote in 1883, "but on
the contrary is in all ways remarkable."
Almost a century later, his observation re-
mains quite correct.
   The Mississippi's vital statistics are
awesome: Along with such major  tribu-
taries as the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, it
drains a 1.2-rnillion-square-mile basin. It
receives its waters from 31 States and two
Canadian provinces. Its average volume of
discharge into the Gulf of Mexico  is 350
billion gallons per day. It carries more than
250 million tons of barge cargo a year.
   But it also receives the sewage—some
poorly treated—of more than a dozen
metropolitan areas and hundreds  of small
towns. It receives  the pesticide-tainted run-
off from thousands of farm fields.  It re-
ceives the toxic wastes of a host of
   No one knows just how much sewage,
runoff and toxic wastes enter the river be-
cause no single government agency is
responsible for the entire Mississippi. The
river wanders through 10 States, and re-
sponsibility for its myriad problems is par-
celed out to a myriad of Federal, State and
local government agencies.
   Other great rivers have similar  problems
created by the overlapping of governmen-
tal responsibilities, but the problem is par-
ticularly acute on the Mississippi.
   As a State-Federal task force studying
the river said last year:

"The Mississippi belongs to no one and it
belongs to everyone. No  one 'owns' the
river, yet we all  make demands on it to
bring us economic wealth, aesthetic
beauty, fish and wildlife resources, and
recreational  enjoyment."

   Compounding those conflicts and con-
tradictions is the fact that, in a very real
sense, there are three Mississippi  Rivers,

each with its own distinct character and
physical appearance.
   The "first" Mississippi is the river that
lies entirely within Minnesota, from Lake
Itasca to the head of commercial naviga-
tion in Minneapolis. Within this segment, it
begins as a quick creek, passes through
dense northern forests and marshes of wild
rice, through a chain of lakes, then grows
into a fine stream dotted with small islands
and filled with smallmouth bass and wall-
   This portion of the Mississippi has re-
tained so much of its natural beauty that
President Carter last year said it "deserves
the protection of a wild and scenic desig-
nation as pressures slowly are threatening
to mar its unspoiled wild character."
   Because of strong local opposition in
1978, the U.S. House of Representatives
deleted the upper Mississippi from a
Carter-backed bill that would have in-
cluded the river in the National Wild and
Scenic River System.
   But the President has again called for
Federal protection, and has directed the
National  Park Service to prepare a manage-
ment plan for including 353 miles of the
river between Lake Itasca and Minneapolis
in the national system.
   in an effort to block Carter's proposal,
eight Minnesota counties along the upper
river joined forces this year. They entered
into a joint-powers agreement, under which
they propose  to protect the river within
their boundaries from uncontrolled shore-
line development through their own river-
management  plan.
   That plan is to be completed this
autumn, after which its sponsors will begin
looking for congressional support. The fi-
nal decision—Federal or local control—
apparently will be made by Congress.
   Whatever the outcome, 52 miles of the
Mississippi upstream from Minneapolis
already have a strong buffer against ticky-
tacky shoreline development. That seg-
ment is part of Minnesota's own Wild and
Scenic Rivers System, which is modeled
after the  protective Federal program.
   The "second" Mississippi River begins
in downtown  Minneapolis, and the change
is abrupt. Here was once the site of the
only true waterfall on the river, discovered
in 1680 by Father Louis Hennepin, the
Belgian missionary and explorer:

   "I named it the Falls of St. Anthony of
Padua , .  . whom we chose as patron and
protector of ail our enterprises," he wrote.
"The waterfall is forty or fifty feet high and
has a small rocky island, shaped like a
pyramid, in the center."

   Today, 300 years after Father Hen-
nepin's discovery, St. Anthony's Falls is
largely hidden by a lock and dam, the first
of 29 such massive concrete-and-steel
structures that span the Mississippi be-
tween Minneapolis and St. Louis.
  The river at Minneapolis, the stream
upon which Hennepin and other explorers
once paddled their bark canoes, today is
the busy commercial highway for mid-
America's barge industry, plied by tow-
boats and barges filled with coal, grain and
a hundred other commodities. From Min-
neapolis to the sea, the tows come and go.
  Just downstream, in St. Paul, the Mis-
sissippi also becomes the depository for
the sewage of a major metropolitan area
and, unfortunately, much of the effluent is
inadequately treated. It is discharged into
the river from the sewage-treatment plant
operated by the Metropolitan Waste Con-
trol Commission. The plant, located at
Pig's Eye Lake in St. Paul, treats 85 percent
of the sewage produced in the Twin Cities
  The inadequately treated sewage from
this plant has been the subject of Federal
and State enforcement actions since the
early 1960's. In 1967,  after a detailed Fed-
eral study was completed on the pollution
in the Metro area, a Federal-State enforce-
ment conference called by the Governors
of Minnesota and Wisconsin under the old
Federal Water Pollution Control Act, estab-
lished a clean-up action plan and time
tables for the entire metropolitan area with
special emphasis on the Mississippi River.
Full compliance was to be achieved by
1972. While extremely good progress was
achieved, the Pig's Eye plant has never
consistently been in compliance with
Federal and/or State requirements. As a
result, there have been various Federal and
State enforcement  actions against the plant
over the past few years. The plant is now
operating under a stipulation agreement
entered into by the Minnesota Pollution
Control Agency and Metro Waste Control
Commission. EPA does not agree with the
program specified and is negotiating a
more complete control program with the
Commission. The longstanding pollution
problem has aroused the ire of river front
residents in Minnesota and Wisconsin,
below Minneapolis-St. Paul.
   The wastes from the Pig's Eye plant also
have created a furor between Minnesota en-
vironmental officials and their counterparts
in Wisconsin. Wisconsin officials, backed
by private environmentalists in both States,
contend that Minnesota has failed to take
tough action to bring the Pig's Eye plant
into compliance with EPA and State
effluent-discharge standards. The State of
Wisconsin has served  a 60-day notice to
EPA saying it will proceed with litigation if
the Pig's Eye plant is not cleaned up.
   Terry Hoffman, executive director of the
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, re-
cently defended her agency's actions in a  •
letter to EPA Administrator Douglas Costle.
   Ms. Hoffman tofd Costle that attempts
to decrease pollution from the plant have
been hampered by construction delays and
installation of new equipment designed to
improve the facility's effluent standards.
   The Metropolitan Waste Control Com-
mission also insists that the solution to the
problem is under construction, a $300-
million dollar expansion and improvement
project at the plant. The project originally
was scheduled for completion in 1977,
but now is expected to be done in 1982.
That should bring the big facility into com-
pliance with EPA water-quality standards.
   Despite the problems at the Pig's Eye
plant, the water generally has shown im-
provement over the last decade.
   "There are no floating sludge balls going
down the Mississippi River any more,"
said Helen Boyer, water-quality manager
for the Metropolitan Waste Control
   But she added, "Having addressed the
primary problems, we're now in for the
long-haul program. We've achieved per-
haps 85 percent of our primary goals. ..  .
The remaining goals are going to take time
to resolve and they're going to cost an
enormous amount of money."
   Salisbury Adams, the waste-control
commission's chairman, also raised the
question of how much money the public is
willing to pay to improve the river's water

   "Should we attempt to make the Mis-
sissippi (within the Twin Cities) com-
pletely fishable and swimmable?" Adams
asked. "To do both  could cost an additional
$200 million to $300 million, with an
additional annual operation  cost of about
$10 million."
   While officials attempt to clean up the
Mississippi's polluted waters below St.
Paul, nature provides its own help in the
form of the St. Croix River. According to
officials of EPA's Region 5, the influx of
clean waters from the St. Croix, which is
part of the National Wild and Scenic River
System, helps significantly to improve the
Mississippi's water quality.
   At its confluence with the St. Croix, the
Mississippi also takes on a new character
and loveliness, flowing between the high,
wooded bluffs that have remained largely
unchanged since the days of Samuel

"The majestic bluffs that overlook the
river," he wrote in Life on the Mississippi,
"charm one with the grace and variety of
their forms, and the soft beauty of their

   This portion of the Mississippi, from the
Twin Cities downstream 240 miles to
Guttenberg, Iowa, has for the last six years
been the subject of an intensive study by
GREAT, the acronym of the Great River
Environmental Action Team.
                                                                                                           EPA JOURNAL

  The team, which is made up of State and
Federal officials including EPA representa-
tives, was formed as a direct result of a
controversy over the dredging practices of
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  The Corps has been active  on the upper
M ississippi since 1824, when it began re-
moving snags, boulders and other obstruc-
tions from its main channel. In 1878, Con-
gress directed the Corps to deepen the
channel to 4'/i feet so that larger, deeper-
draft boats could operate on the river.
  In the 1930's, the Corps was authorized
by Congress to construct a 9-foot-deep
navigational channel in the riverfrom
Minneapolis downstream to St. Louis. This
was a massive undertaking, achieved by
building 29 locks and dams on the river,
which converted the upper Mississippi into
a series of wide, placid pools or lakes.
  That ended the upper river's free-flowing
nature, but it also created a watery  para-
dise for fish and wildlife. The dams raised
the river's water level, creating many back-
waters and sloughs where once there were
hay meadows and woods. Some of the
backwaters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa
and Illinois are incredibly fertile in  aquatic
life,~1n some cases producing 300 pounds
of fish per acre, a near-optimum for fresh
  And that has provided a bountiful re-
source for fishermen and hunters, because
waterfowl love the backwaters. Two
sprawling national refuges—the Upper
Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Refuge
and the Mark Twain National Wildlife
Refuge—were created from riverbottom
lands acquired by the U.S. Fish and Wild-
life Service. The refuges cover more than
200,000 acres, and serve millions of mi-
grating waterfowl.
  In recent years, however, human activ-
ities along the upper Mississippi have
hastened the natural decline—the slow
process of eutrophication—of the fertile
backwaters. After more than 30 years of
"pluses"—the creation of the backwaters
and the increasing public awareness of
their benefits—the backwaters have begun
to decline.
  "It's a sad thing to think about, but most
of the shallow, floodplain lakes and
sloughs and marshes are being filled with
sedimentation," said Calvin Fremling, a
biologist at Winona State University in
Winona,  Minn. "There's simply no fresh
water flowing through them anymore and,
eventually, they will be choked with silt."
   In the early 1970's, Fremling and other
scientists interested in the river were con-
cerned that the Corps of Engineers might
be the key culprit in the decline of the
backwaters. The overall problem, they
said, was far more serious a threat to the
upper river's rich resources than water
  Although the Corps built the 9-foot-
channel project and was responsible for
creating the backwaters, it also must main-
tain the navigational channel and dredge
the river annually to remove the silt and
sand which endlessfy ooze into it, reducing
its depth.
  Wisconsin officials, charging that the
Corps' dredging was harming water qual-
ity, went to court to force the Federal
agency into complying with State water-
quality standards. Private environmental-
ists and the Fish and Wildlife Service also
were at odds with the Corps, contending
that it was disposing of the dredged sand
and silt across channels leading to the
fertile backwaters—thus stopping the flow
of freshwater into them—and was also
harming valuable fish and waterfowl
  Amid the controversy, GREAT was
initiated in 1974.
  Three States—Minnesota, Wisconsin
and Iowa—and five Federal agencies, in-
cluding EPA and the Corps of Engineers,
became members of GREAT. The team
operated under the auspices of the Upper
Mississippi River Basin Commission.
  As  part of the GREAT program, the
Army engineers and the Fish and Wildlife
Service financed several research projects
to determine what might be done to save
the declining backwaters.
  But GREAT's basic charge was to study
how the upper river might be better man-
aged. As part of that, GREAT was to de-
velop ways to reduce the volume of sand
and silt dredged from the channel.
  Last autumn, GREAT released its draft
report, which was based on numerous
studies and public involvement meetings
throughout the upper Mississippi valley.
That report surprised many people who  had
followed the progress of the Federal-State
  Among  other things, the report identified
sedimentation—the result of upland and
stream-bank erosion—as the upper river's
most damaging problem. It said sedimenta-
tion threatens to change much of the
aquatic habitat to marshland within the
next 100 years. Wisconsin's Chippewa
River, a major tributary of the upper Mis-
sissippi, was cited as the greatest source
of sand sedimentation in the Mississippi
  The report also recommended the alter-
ing of side channels leading into the fertile
backwaters to prevent further decline of
fish and wildlife areas.
  Working with Calvin  Fremling and
other scientists, the Army engineers al-
ready have taken steps to reopen some of
the side channels, and pilot projects have
been quite successful. The Corps is being
given high marks by environmentalists
because of its willingness to undertake
those projects.
   Also, Minnesota and Wisconsin won
their battle with the Corps in 1977, when
Congress amended the 1972 Clean Water
Act to give States the right to regulate
dredging.  For example, the Army engineers
now must  dispose of the dredged material
at selected on-land sites along the upper
Mississippi in Minnesota's portion of the
   GREAT'S draft report also summed up
some of the problems facing the upper
Mississippi, and some of the conflicts and
contradictions preventing quick solutions:

"We expect much of the Mississippi River
—commercial navigation, recreation, and
preservation of habitat which sustains fish
and wildlife," the report said. "We look
upon the river as a means of diluting our
wastes, providing freshwater supplies, and
providing the cooling water for our electri-
cal production and industrial uses—while
still expecting it to spawn northern pike;
provide a home for the soaring eagle; and
sustain the lush marshes and other habitat
for egrets, ducks, geese and fish. We  want
to enjoy its beauty by building houses near
its banks, yet we are angered when we get
flooded in the spring."

   Also, the report said that a "new way of
doing business on the river" is needed,
adding that "it's now up to the member
agencies, the public, and our State and
Federal legislative and administrative
bodies to respond to that call."
   While government officials attempt to
put GREAT's recommendations into ac-
tion, they also are concerned about another
problem facing the upper Mississippi: the
chemical contamination of fish.
   For the  last two years, Minnesota and
Wisconsin health officials have urged the
public to restrict its consumption of fish
taken from a 100-mile stretch of the
Mississippi from Minneapolis downstream
to Alma, Wis. That includes Lake Pepin,
the widest part of the upper river.
   Certain species including carp and other
rough fish taken from that segment of the
river may have high levels of polychlorin-
ated biphenyls, or PCB's, which are sus-
pected of causing tumors, birth defects
and other serious ailments.
   PCB's accumulate in the fat of fish
living in waters that have received dis-
charges or atmospheric fallout of the
chemicals. Although the use of PCB's in
industry has been greatly restricted since
1971, they persist in some wastewater
effluents and river-bottom sediments.
   Despite the persistence of PCB's in the
upper Mississippi, there have been signifi-
cant pollution-control efforts in recent

years. Some of those success stories have
occurred in EPA's Region 7, which encom-
passes Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and
Nebraska—four States within the river's
sprawling watershed. Region 7 includes
about 750 miles of the river's west bank in
Iowa and Missouri, where there are very
heavy concentrations of industry.
  Among thepollution-abatement suc-
cesses in which EPA has played a role was
one involving Clinton Corn Processing Co.
and a sister firm, Julius Wile Sons and Co.,
a liquor distiller.
  The two firms had long been criticized
because they were dumping industrial
wastes into the M ississippi from a waste-
treatment plant they share at Clinton, Iowa.
They recently promised to stop polluting
the river and consented to pay $213,000 in
fines for violations that occurred in 1979.
Additional penalties have been paid under
the current decree with the companies.
  That was part of a settlement with the
Iowa Department of Environmental Qual-
ity, which had sued the two firms. The
settlement requires the two companies to
comply with NPDES permit requirements.
   EPA officials also have participated in
several other enforcement  actions that
have reduced point-source pollution of the
upper Mississippi.
   For example, EPA sued the city of
Dubuque, Iowa, in 1979 to halt polluting
discharges. That case is pending in Federal
court, but the city has substantially re-
duced its pollution, and additional reme-
dial steps—part of a $15.5-million sewage
treatment project—are being taken to
maintain compliance with Dubuque's
NPDES permit.
   At Davenport, !owa, construction is well
underway on a $47-million project that
includes a regional,  activated-sludge plant
to provide secondary treatment and several
major interceptor sewers. The last inter-
ceptor sewer is nearing completion, and
the entire project is to be finished this year.
   In another major development, EPA filed
suit in 1977 against NL industries, the
largest St. Louis-area industrial discharger
into the Mississippi. The company, for-
merly named National Lead, at that time
held the dubious distinction of having paid
the highest civil penalties ever collected
for polluting the Nation's streams—a  dis-
tinction since gained by several other
polluting industrial firms.
   In a consent decree signed in 1977, NL
Industries agreed to pay more than
 $245,000 in fines for polluting the river
from its titanium-pigment  plant in St.
 Louis, and was paying $1,000 a  day until
 pollution control equipment was installed.
   The company had until April 1980 to
 meet EPA standards for Wastewater Dis-
 charges, but it decided to exercise its
 option to close the antiquated plant in
 1979 because of economic considerations.
NL paid $1.4 million in penalties prior to
closing the plant.
  The major controversy on the upper
Mississippi in recent years has focused on
Locks and Dam 26, which spans the river
at Alton, III., just north of St. Louis. In the
mid-1970's, the Corps of Engineers pro-
posed to build a new and larger-capacity
locks and dam to handle increasing barge-
traffic demands. The Corps and agricultural
interests argued that Locks and Dam 26
was one of the worst transportation bottle-
necks in the Nation, pointing out that the
deteriorating structure was the scene of
long, costly delays for barges.
   But the project was temporarily delayed
through legal action by the Sierra Club, the
Izaak Walton League and 21 major rail-
roads. They contended that the Corps in-
tended to use the project at Alton as the
"opening wedge" for a $3-billion, publicly-
financed program that would quadruple the
barge-traffic capacity of the upper Missis-
sippi waterway system.
  And that, argued the environmentalists
and the railroads, would cause more chan-
nel dredging and widespread environ-
mental harm throughout the upper water-
way. They said it would have "catastrophic
effects" on mid-America's railroads, which
traditionally have competed with barge
interests to handle the region's com-
   However, Congress has given the Corps
the go-ahead, approving more than $470
million to replace Locks and Dam 26.
Opponents were able to convince the Fed-
eral lawmakers to tie their approval to a
user fee for commercial shipping interests.
Also, the Federal-State Upper Mississippi
River Basin Commission was ordered to
produce a master plan for managing the
Mississippi from the Twin Cities to Cairo,
III. That plan is being prepared, and it is
to weigh environmental, economic, and
recreational objectives along the upper
   Just below St. Louis, downstream from
the last of the 29 locks and dams, is the be-
ginning of the "third" Mississippi River.
Here begins the "OK Man River" of a
thousand stories and legends. This is the
portion of the great river that, in  the early
1800's, was the home of some of the rough-
est and toughest American pioneers: the
   These men worked the wooden flatboats
and keelboats in the early days of com-
merce on the river. They worked hard and
played harder; drinking, fighting and gam-
bling. The greatest, and the toughest, of
the boatmen was Mike Fink, whose chal-
 lenge to would-be  rivals has been recorded
in all its color and unparalleled
"I'm a ring-tailed squealerl I'm a regular
screamer from the ol' Massassip! Whoop!
I'm the very infant that refused his milk
before its eyes were open, and called out
for a bottle of old Rye! I love the women
an' I'm chockful o' fight! I'm half wild horse
and half cock-eyed alligator and the rest o'
me is crooked snags an' red-hot snappin'
turklel I can out-run, out-shoot, out-brag,
out-drink, an' out-fight, rought-an'-tumble,
no holts barred, ary man on both sides the
river. . . M"

   The Mississippi  of Mike Fink's time was
as rought-an'-tumble as the boatman, and
remained  much that way for a hundred
   Then came the flood of  1927, which
changed forever the character of the river
downstream from Cape Girardeau, Mo., to
the Gulf of Mexico.
   Within  recorded history, there have
been many great floods on the lower Mis-
sissippi: in 1849, 1850, 1858, 1903, 1912,
1913, 1916. But the biggest of them all
was in 1927. A rainy winter, a wet spring,
and the result was disaster. More than 17
million acres of flood plain were inundated.
There was an estimated $235 million in
property damage—the equivalent of con-
siderably  more than $1 billion today. At
least 300  lives were lost.
   That destructive deluge prompted Con-
gress to pass the Flood Control Act of
1928, which authorized the Army Corps of
Engineers to develop a unified flood-
control system for the lower river.
   Today, from Cape Girardeau to the Gulf
of Mexico, the river is walled by a series of
high, earthen levees, built to prevent a
recurrence of the type of flood that swept
the valley in 1927. There  are more than
2,000 miles of levees along the lower river.
   The levee system was sorely tested in
the spring of 1973, during the last major
flood on the lower Mississippi. The Corps
says the system "performed splendidly"
in preventing damage along the river.
While there was an estimated $1.2  billion
in damage, the Corps says there would
have been an incredible $15 billion without
the levees and other components of the
flood-control system.
   As it flows between the levees, the
Mississippi gains enormous strength. Just
above St. Louis, it receives the combined
flows of the Missouri and Illinois Rivers.
But within the levees, at Cairo, III., it re-
ceives the even greater flow of the Ohio
River. This swelling of its waters is of great
benefit, because it gives the Mississippi
more ability to absorb man's wastes.
   But the natural landscape, and the
levees, change the appearance of the lower
Mississippi. No longer is it a river bordered
by bluffs and high hifls, but a stream with a
certain monotony, although one still
marked by majesty.
                                                                  EPA JOURNAL

Sailboat on Lake Pepin, the widest part of the upper Mississippi, as it flows between
Minnesota and Wisconsin. (Minneapolis Tribune photo.)
   Samuel Clemens wrote in 1883 that the
 river from Cairo to Baton Rouge, La., was
 "a thousand-mile wall of dense forest that
 guards the two banks all the way . . .
 gaped only with a farm or woodyard open-
 ing at intervals . . . you can't 'get out of
 the river' much easier than you could get
 out of a fenced lane."
   Today, you can't "get out of the river"
 for the levees, but they have helped pre-
 vent some of the devastation that was
 caused by floods during the days of the
   Farther downstream, the Mississippi en-
 counters a heavy dose of pollution as it
 flows past Memphis, Tenn. Officials of
 EPA's Region 4—one of four EPA regions
 with jurisdiction over portions  of the river
 —have long been at odds with the oper-
 ators of the  city's two big treatment plants.
   "Both plants have discharged polluting
 effluents that ended up in the Mississippi,"
 said Joan Boilen, an EPA Region 4at-
 torney. "Some city officials think the
 Mississippi  is big and can handle the
 effluent.  We don't care: we don't want the
 river to get any worse than it is."
   The EPA  has sued Memphis in an effort
 to force the  city into meeting standards of
 the  Clean Water Act. As part of a project
 that could cost more than $1 50 million,
 including $50 million in EPA grants,
 Memphis hopes to bring both treatment
 plants into compliance, said Boilen.
   Among other measures, the  plan is de-
 signed to eliminate the discharge of sew-
 age sludge  into the Mississippi, a step
 taken in  the past by city officials to relieve
 pressure on overloaded sludge lagoons.
   Farther downstream, in the state of
 Mississippi, 10 major facilities—including
 three power plants—-discharge directly
 into the river. Only two of those facilities
 are  not in compliance with effluent limits
 set by the Mississippi Board of Pollution
   But the Mississippi then flows into Lou-
isiana and, once again, it encounters major
pollution problems.
   According to officials of EPA's Region 6,
which includes Louisiana, the deterioration
of the lower  Mississippi's water quality
closely paralleled the rapid growth of a
petro-chemical industrial complex which
began in the mid-1950's. By the end of the
1 960's, there were more than 60 major in-
dustries along the river from Baton Rouge,
La., to the river's mouth. Most of them dis-
charged their partially-treated or raw
wastes into the river.
   Studies by EPA in the late 1960 s
showed that the wastes were contributing
significant quantities of undesirable pol-
lutants to the Mississippi. That was  caus-
ing taste and odor problems in public-water
supplies and the tainting of fish taken from
the river. Industrial waste-abatement prac-
tices on the lower river were not adequate
to control the discharge of  organics.
   But there  has been progress. As a result
of the NPDES permit program, all existing
—and planned—industrial sources have
begun waste-abatement programs to en-
sure the continued reduction of industrial
pollutants into the lower river in Louisiana.
   Still, there is New Orleans. The Missis-
sippi there is the end of a huge funnel,
carrying to the sea what is, in effect, the
collected garbage of mid-America. And its
waters, as they flow past the city between
high levees,  look the part: Murky, brown,
dirty and greasy.
   But despite its appearance, the Mis-
sissippi provides the drinking water used
by the city of 600,000 people. In the late
1960's and early 1970's, that fact raised
concerns among a small group of Louisiana
environmentalists. The EPA also got in-
volved, and  after extensive field studies
issued a report in 1972 which concluded
that trace amounts of organic chemicals
were present in the drinking water sup-
plies, creating a potential health threat.
  Another survey by the EPA came out in
1974. It, too, warned of potential health
problems by drinking New Orleans' water.
At the same time, the Environmental  De-
fense Fund, a private organization, issued
a study which reported that death rates
from cancer in a test group were 1 5 to 20
percent higher in 11 Louisiana parishes
(counties) that got drinking water from the
Mississippi than in other Louisiana areas
that get their water from other sources.
  The two studies gained national atten-
tion, and concern over the New Orleans
situation prompted Congress to pass the
1974 Safe Drinking Water Act. That law
had,  in one form or another, been before
the lawmakers for several years, but had
never gotten out of congressional com-
  But the Federal law has created con-
siderable controversy, pitting city officials
—including the Sewerage and Water
Board in New Orleans—who want more
proof of the water hazards against environ-
mentalists who want the chemicals re-
duced immediately.
  Accordir a 10 officials of EPA Region 6,
the controversy of 1974 caused city
officials to refuse to take part in studies in
1975 and 1976 on municipal drinking-
water supplies throughout the nation.
  Because of that, EPA has no data to
show that the drinking water in the New
Orleans area is improving through the
recent construction of new wastewater
treatment facilities in the city.
  But Region 6 officials do know that taste
and odor are no longer a  problem, and
that the river thus has improved—at  least
in esthetic water quality. Also, new treat-
ment facilities in New Orleans are to be
completed this year.
  Downstream from New Orleans, there
is another environmental problem, one
cited recently by the President's Council
on Environmental Quality. The Council
pointed out that in the Mississippi Delta
area, a substantial loss of wetland forests
has occurred. Of almost  1 2 million Delta
acres in forest in the early 1930's,  some
40 percent have been converted  to soy-
bean cultivation and other nontimber uses,
the CEO said.
  That could be one of the key problems
facing the river in the coming decades,
and it's likely to be a problem that
stretches far upstream: The remaining
wetlands and bottomland forests are fast
disappearing in some areas, and in others
are threatened with degradation.
  But while there has been progress  in
abating some of man's degradation of the
Mississippi, nobody is predicting that the
river's problems soon will be solved.
People simply  are too busy along, and on,
its waters for that to happen. D

Dean Rebuffoni covers environmental
affairs for the Minneapolis Tribune.

EPA's  Unique
Soil  Research
By William C. Galegar
     The mantle of soil is as vital to life on
     earth as the air we breathe or the
     water we drink. Although land is not
 protected by specific pollution control
 legislation such as the Clean Water and
 Clean Air Acts, it can also be harmed by
 pollutants such as acid rainfall or careless
 disposal of toxic and hazardous wastes.
 These pollutants also contaminate our
 rivers and ground water resources.
   Protecting soil and its interaction with
 surface and ground water is the function of
 the Robert S. Kerr Environmental Research
 Laboratory, located in Ada, Okla., and
 named after the late Senator by Act of Con-
 gress. Since the Ground Water Research
 Center is located at the Laboratory, close
 cooperation is possible between programs
 studying the role of the soil as a natural
 waste treatment system and methods for
 protecting our ground water resources.

 Land Treatment of Sewage
 The application of wastewater to the land
 has been practiced for hundreds of years
 throughout the world in one form or an-
 other. Until very recently, the primary ob-
 jective was to dispose of the wastewater,
 and very little consideration was given to
 pollution control, rational design criteria, or
 the best method of operation. Within the
 past decade, however, the concept of land
 treatment of wastewater has changed
 drastically. Such systems are now thought
 of as those that can be designed to achieve
 a predetermined result just like the more
 conventional mechanical treatment pro-
 cesses. They also have potential for waste-
 water renovation for beneficial reuse.
   The dramatic increase in interest in land
 treatment systems was stimulated to a
 great extent by the passage ofthe 1977
 Amendments to the  Federal Water Pollu-
 tion Control Act. These amendments re-
 quired land treatment and other innovative
 and alternative wastewater treatment pro-
 cesses providing for reclaiming and reuse
 of water to be fully evaluated when
 projects were considered for  funding under
 the Municipal Construction Grants
  The Laboratory's research program in
land treatment supports EPA's Construc-
tion Grants Program by developing reliable
design and operating criteria which may be
applied under varying climatic, soil, and
wastewater characteristics and operating
  Slow-rate systems are the most ad-
vanced and most widely used of three
types of land treatment systems. They use
ordinary farm technology and practices for
the production of a crop that uses the nu-
trients in the wastewater. Although this
provides an immediate and direct reuse of
the wastewater, the primary consideration
must be the proper treatment and disposal
of the wastewater in a safe and environ-
mentally acceptable manner.
  Rapid infiltration systems are used on
coarse textured soils that can receive high
application rates. If the treatment area has
vegetative cover, it plays a  minor role in the
treatment process. Treatment and renova-
tion of the wastewater is achieved by
physical, chemical, and biochemical inter-
actions as the wastewater percolates
through the soil.
  Overland flow, the least  developed of
the three systems,  is used on impermeable
soils with minimal  percolation (that is,
hard-packed or rocky surfaces that do not
absorb water well). A vegetative cover is
necessary to stabilize the carefully graded
slopes and prevent erosion. The waste-
water is treated through physical, chemi-
cal, and biochemical  processes that take
place as the wastewater moves slowly over
the surface of the soil by sheet flow,
  A different type of natural system, aqua-
cultural wastewater treatment, could pro-
vide a simple and effective alternative to
conventional municipal systems for treat-
ment and management of wastewaters. The
major areas considered for development  of
aquacultural processes include aquatic
plants, natural and artificial wetlands, and
integrated or combined systems.

Managing Animal Wastes
Land has been used for disposal of animal
production wastes since the dawn of his-
tory. However, post-World War II growth
of confined feeding operations for livestock
soon produced mountains of wastes which
overwhelmed the old disposal methods.
The first concern of the Laboratory's Ani-
mal Production Waste program was to
prevent pollution of lakes and  streams by
direct runoff from animal feeding opera-
tions which caused such adverse effects as
fish kills and the closing of lakes for swim-
ming and other water sports. Research cen-
tered on the larger animal feedlots which
were later subject to the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System permit pro-
gram. The very early efforts investigated
treatment and discharge of these wastes.
However, it soon became apparent that
conventional treatment was very costly and
for the most part unsuccessful. Research
again turned to the land as a receiver of
the wastes.  The containment of both storm-
generated runoff wastes from open lots and
the proper storage of manure and the
wastes from barn and other farm buildings
along with land disposal of these stored
wastes, became the only option open to the
industry after the passage of the  Federal
Water Pollution Control Act and the devel-
opment of the effluent guidelines "zero
discharge"  for feedlots.
  Animal wastes contain a large amount of
salt and nitrogen along with a host of other
pollutants—some of which would and did
destroy the  structure of the soil, reduce or
destroy plant growth, and in some cases
leak into the ground water supply.
  Research developed  realistic loading
rates for animal wastes on agricultural
land, to insure proper utilization of the
nutrients for plant growth. These loading
rates along  with the development of proper
application  methods and timing of applica-
tions have allowed the wastes from animal
production  systems to be used as a valu-
able resource without causing undue dam-
age to the land or water.
  The most recent direction of the pro-
gram has been to characterize the pollu-
tion effects  of production of animals in
such settings as range and  pasture and the
smaller dairies, feedlots, and hog farms
not covered by the permit program. It is
interesting  to note that when sound land
and grass management practices are car-
ried out, the pollution problems caused by
animals using the land are  minimal.
   The first  stage funding for the  Rural
Clean Water Program under the U. S. De-
partment of Agriculture in  Fiscal 1980 has
involved the research staff in the develop-
ment of guidance documents for that pro-
gram in the actual planning and evaluation
stages of the first 13 areas  of the program.

Irrigation  Problems
A large part of the Nation's food and fiber
produced annually comes from irrigated
land. While only 10 to 12 percent of the
total crop land in the U. S.  is irrigated, it
produces over 25 percent of the total crop
value of the nation. Other economic bene-
fits include  creating employment oppor-
tunities in harvesting, processing, and mar-
keting of agricultural products. Unfortu-
nately, the use of this technology and the
agricultural chemicals to optimize the pro-
duction system has created major land and
                                                                EPA JOURNAL

water quality problems. Leaching of nat-
urally occurring salinity from the soils and
subsurface has polluted ground water and
surface water. The Colorado River in the
West-Central United States is grossly con-
taminated by a high salt load as a result of
leaching action of water percolating
through soils into subsurface saline shale
beds and then returning to the river.
   Development of synthetic fertilizers
following World War II increased the use
of these chemicals markedly over the next
30 years with a corresponding increase in
nitrates in some area waters. Merrick
County, Neb., is an example of an area
in which nitrate concentrations have in-
creased significantly in the ground water.
Other agricultural chemicals, some repre-
senting immediate health hazards, are
showing up in our water supplies.
   The purpose of our research program is
to find practical and economically accept-
able means to control pollutants from
irrigated agriculture to surface and sub-
surface water resources. Many of our
projects and investigations have focused
upon development of technologies  relating
toimproving water management, i.e., re-
ducing water losses in conveyance systems,
optimizing water application in the fields,
reducing tail-water losses,  controlling sed-
iment losses by reducing transport  veloci-
ties, and controlling nutrient availability.
Case studies provided the necessary ex-
perience to help apply these technologies.
   These field experiences, combined with
studies made on legal approaches and
socio-economic considerations, have pro-
vided valuable insights on alternatives
available to carry out irrigation return flow
   The Rural Clean Water Program  in con-
junction with Sec. 208 of the 1977  Clean
Water Act, as amended, is presently
providing a vehicle for applying many of
these research results. Monitoring and
evaluation will help to document water
quality improvement.

Controlling Toxic Chemicals
Industrial wastes may contain toxic and
hazardous substances which pose a serious
threat to the  well-being of the American
people. Current treatment processes tend
to concentrate many of these substances
in the sludges and residuals. Constraints
on ocean  dumping and indiscriminate
buria! of wastes are forcing research on
safer disposal techniques such as incin-
eration, pyrolysis, encapsulation, and land
treatment. Research conducted at the Lab-
oratory includes treatment and control of
wastewaters and residuals from petroleum
refining, petrochemical production, pre-
treatment and areawide combined wastes.
   Bedford  Narrates
   EPA Film On  Land
   "Hold This Land," a 23-minute color
   film narrated by actor Robert Redford
   under auspices of the Office of Re-
   search and Development, is now
   available from a number of EPA
     This film was sponsored by the
   Robert S. Kerr Environmental Re-
   search Laboratory in Ada, Okla.,
   and shows various methods of con-
   trolling erosion and sedimentation
   problems from irrigated land. Filmed
   in Idaho, Washington, and California,
   the film explores the subject of soil
   run-off and shows how progressive
   farmers  are able to halt the loss of
   topsoil.  One method makes use of
   settling basins to collect eroded soil,
   where it is then redistributed by farm
   equipment back on barren,  rim-rock
   land to create new, fertile cropland.
   Other methods of avoiding erosion by
   careful watering techniques also are
   demonstrated. Redford, who nar-
   rated the film as a public service, is
   well known for his interest in environ-
   mental protection. He previously has
   addressed audiences under EPA
   sponsorship in Region 8 and at Head-
   quarters in Washington, D.C.
     Persons interested in borrowing a
   print of the film may request it from
   any EPA Regional office; from the
   Kerr Laboratory, P.O. Box 1198,  Ada,
   OK 74820; or from the Snake River
   Conservation Research Center,
   USDA-SEA-AR, Kimberly. Idaho
   Petroleum refineries are located in 39
States; concentrations in Region 6 provide
45 percent of our domestic refined prod-
ucts. Refineries have been researching the
use of land treatment technology for dis-
posal of oily sludges for some time with
promising results.
   The petrochemical industry located
along the Gulf Coast produces nearly 80
percent of the Nation's petroleum-derived
chemicals. It, like the refining industry, is
one of the five major industrial water users
in the United States.
   The combined wastes research pro-
gram is unique among EPA industrial en-
vironmental research efforts in that it is
concerned with the control of point sources
on an area-wide rather than individual basis.
As such, this program is involved in wastes
from all types of industries plus wastes of
a domestic origin. This program deals
with such programs as the establishment
of centralized facilities to treat industrial
wastes generated within a defined geo-
graphical boundary, pretreatmentof in-
dustrial wastes prior to discharge into
a publicly-owned treatment plant, and the
area-wide management of industrial

Protection of Ground Water
Ground water supplies drinking water to
one-half of the American people and is
the source of over 20 percent of fresh
water used for all purposes. Subsurface
waters supply the total needs of 20 of our
100 largest cities; in addition, approxi-
mately 200,000 well supply systems pro-
vide water to industry, parks, restaurants,
mobile home parks, recreational areas,
shopping centers, and for irrigation of land.
Over 500,000 new  wells are constructed
   The extremely slow movement of pol-
lutants through the subsurface environ-
ment is the reason that the protection of
ground water quality is so important to the
future water resource needs of the country.
While the residence time of contaminants
in air is measured in hours, and that in
streams and rivers in days,  the natural
restoration of ground water after contami-
nation requires years and even centuries.
   Ground water research was begun in
1967 with an attempt to understand better
the magnitude  of the contamination of un-
derground water and the means by which
this occurs. Such information was para-
mount to developing sound, long range
goals for research in this area.
   Efforts have resulted in a significant
advancement in technology necessary for
conducting sophisticated ground water
investigations. Apparatus has been de-
signed and constructed for  drilling, coring,
and sampling for trace organic and biologi-
cal contaminants, and methods are under
development for tracing the transport and
transformation of contaminants in the sub-
surface environment. These techniques are
now being applied to systems in locations
such as Long Island, N.Y.; Muskegon,
Mich.; and Palo Alto, Calif, to evaluate the
pollution potential of waste treatment
facilities to ground water quality.
  Additional research is showing signifi-
cant promise in the ability of predicting
contaminant concentrations as the waste
moves through the subsurface. These
efforts are directed mainly at organic con-
taminants, including pesticides. Q

William Ga/egar is Director of the Robert S.
Kerr Environmental Research Laboratory.

Li Chaobo, head of the environmental protection delegation from
the People's Republic of China, and Administrator Costle recently
signed annexes to the U.S.-China protocol duringa visit by the
delegation to EPA facilities. The new agreements cover coopera-
tion in environmental health research, pollution control, and
research on environmental processes and effects. At right are Qu
Geping, deputy head of the delegation, and Stephen Gage, Assist-
ant Administrator for Research and Development.
William W. Rice
He has been named Deputy
Regional Administrator for
Region VII after serving in an
acting capacity since 1979.
Before that he was Director of
Region Vll's Surveillance and
Analysis Division.
   From 1970 to 1978 Rice held
various positions in EPA's In-
dustrial Environmental Re-
search Laboratory in Research
Triangle Park, N.C., among
them Chief, Planning, Manage-
ment and Administrative Staff.
In 1977 he was the EPA nom-
inee for the William A. Jump
Memorial Award for Distin-
guished Career Service in Pub-
lic Administration.
   Rice graduated magna
cum laude with a B.S. in
industrial engineering from
Oregon State University in
1969 and received an M.S. in
management from Duke Uni-
versity in 1977.
A nice M.  Reynolds
She received the Agency's Gold
Medal for Distinguished Career
Service at her recent retirement
as administrative officer of the
EPA Laboratory in Gulf Breeze,
Fla., after almost 28 years of
government service. Laboratory
Director Henry F. Enos pre-
sented the award.
   Reynolds' career mirrors the
Laboratory's involvement in the
Federal effort to evaluate haz-
ards caused by pollutants. She
is credited with the develop-
ment of a blueprint for admin-
istrative services as the mission
of the Laboratory expanded,
and the staff grew from five to
51 full-time employees.
   She also helped plan and
implement many alterations of
the Laboratory site, an island in
the Santa Rosa Sound. Dr. Enos
called her a "pioneer in the ad-
ministration of a Federal re-
search facility involved in the
formulation of national environ-
mental policies."
Dr. Joellen L. Huisingh
She has been named Chief of
the Genetic Bioassay Branch at
EPA's Health Effects Research
Laboratory in Research Triangle
Park, N.C. She was most re-
cently the Chief of the Cellular
Biology Section there.
   At her new post, Huisingh
will direct a staff of approxi-
mately 20 scientists and tech-
nicians who study complex
chemical mixtures to determine
whether they might cause can-
cer or genetic mutations.
   Since joining the lab's Bio-
chemistry Branch in 1975 as a
research chemist, Huisingh's
work has included studies on
the potential health effects of
gasoline and  diesel-powered
vehicle exhausts; use of short-
term toxicity and mutagenicity
assays to screen pollutants
from industrial and energy pro-
duction sources; development
of a liver cell toxicity assay;
and comparative bioassay
studies on lung and liver cells.
   Huisingh began her research
career in 1966 as a chemist at
the Bremerton Naval Shipyard,
Bremerton, Wash. She held
subsequent teaching, research
and administrative posts with
Christian Brothers Coliege,
Memphis, Tenn.; Memphis City
Schools; Memphis State Uni-
versity; North Carolina State
                                                              University; and Duke Univer-
                                                              sity, Durham, N.C.
                                                                A nationally recognized bio-
                                                              chemist, she received the Out-
                                                              standing Young Woman of
                                                              America Award in 1978 and a
                                                              National Research Service
                                                              Award for Environmental Toxi-
                                                              cology in 1975.
                                                                Huisingh received her bach-
                                                              elor's degree from the Univer-
                                                              sity of Puget Sound in 1966 at
                                                              which time she received an
                                                              award from the American
                                                              Chemical Society as the out-
                                                              standing chemistry  major in her
                                                              class. She attended graduate
                                                              school at Memphis  State Uni-
                                                              versity and later at North Caro-
                                                              lina State University, Raleigh,
                                                              where she received her doctor-
                                                              ate in biochemistry  in 1973.
                                                              EPA's Director of the Office of International Activities, F. Allen
                                                              Harris (left), attends the first International Conference on Noise
                                                              Abatement Policies in Brussels, Belgium, with Deputy Administrator
                                                              Barbara Blum and Charles L. Elkins, deputy assistant administrator
                                                              for noise abatement control. At the May conference, sponsored by
                                                              the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
                                                              (OECD), a unanimous conclusion was reached that noise emission
                                                              levels on new motor vehicles should be reduced by an additional five
                                                              to 10 decibels by 1 990. The conference also accepted a United
                                                              States proposal that an ad hoc meeting be held in the U.S. by the
                                                              end of 1 980 to resolve policy issues on coordination of noise
                                                              measurement procedures. Blumco-chaired the conference.
                                                                                                            EPA JOURNAL

Engineering Award
The consulting engineering
firm of Williams and Works
from Grand Rapids, Mich., was
this year's recipient of the
Grand Conceptor award, the top
prize "for Engineering Excel-
lence given by the American
Consulting Engineers Council
during ceremonies held in
Washington, D.C. recently. The
firm won for its design of modi-
fications for the wastewater
treatment plant in the city of
Detroit, Mich.
   The Williams and Works
project involved study and tests
of modifications to increase the
capacity of the final clarifiers
of the treatment plant by 33
percent. The increase was  re-
quired by changes in EPA and
Michigan Department of Nat-
ural Resources regulations.
The Detroit wastewater treat-
ment  plant is one of the largest
in the world, serving almost
three million people and thou-
sands of industries located in
more than 70 separate govern-
ment units in the Detroit Metro-
 politan Area. Effluent from the
 plant could not meet the new
 regulations, and construction
 of new facilities would have re-
 quired extensive land acquisi-
 tion and relocation of residents
   The firm designed changes
 in the inlet structure to the
 clarifiers, reducing the velocity
 of the flow of waste into the
 clarifiers, raising the level at
 which waste was introduced
 and adding a series of fiber-
 glass battles to further disperse
 the flow of phosphorus-remov-
 ing liquid across the face of the
 clarifiers. A full-scale test
 model was installed in the plant
 at a cost of $411,000. Based on
 the results achieved, the city is
 proceeding with plans to in-
 corporate the inlet modification
 into the remaining clarifiers.
 The estimated cost of installa-
 tion is $4 million, a savings of
 $27 million over the cost of
 constructing additional
   The Detroit project was one
 of six emphasizing resource
 protection through wastewater
 treatment in this year's com-
 petition. Energy was a major
 thrust of six other award-
 winning projects concerned
 with the treatment of coal gasi-
 fication, offshore oil and gas
 development, production of
 electricity, and conservation in
new building design and reno-
vation. The remaining projects
concerned industrial expansion,
historic preservation, and safe-
ty. A total of 1 6 awards were
given by a panel of 11  judges
representing government, in-
dustry, and other fields.
T. C. Williams (right) of Williams & Works with Henry Longest
(left), EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Program
Operations, and Joe Moore, Jr., Assistant Administrator for the
City of Detroit.
Dr. Donald E. Gardner
He has been named Director of
the Environmental Toxicology
Division at EPA's Health Effects
Research Laboratory in Re-
search Triangle Park, N.C.
Gardner assumes the position
after having served with the
laboratory for 1 0 years. For the
past five years, he was Chief of
the Inhalation Toxicology
   At his new post, he will
manage an animal toxicology
and analytical chemical re-
search program, which studies
potential health problems
caused by exposure to environ-
mental chemicals.
   An internationally recognized
expert in environmental toxi-
cology, Gardner has published
over 100 scientific manuscripts
and contributed to several
books and documents. He has
been active since 1973 in the
U.S.-Soviet Union joint re-
search program on the effects
of atmospheric pollutants on
public health.
   He represented the United
States on two World Health
Organization Task Groups on
Environmental Health and is
U.S. Coordinator for an envi-
ronmental health study being
conducted for EPA by the
Silesian Medical School in
Katowice, Poland. He was
awarded the U.S. Public Health
Service Bronze Medal in 1977
for his contributions to envi-
ronmental toxicology research.
  Gardner is an adjunct pro-
fessor of biology at North Caro-
lina State University in Raleigh
and assistant adjunct professor
of physiology and pharmacol-
ogy at Duke University in
Durham, N.C.
  He received his bachelor's
and master's degrees from
Creighton University in  Omaha,
Neb., and his  doctorate  in envi-
ronmental health from the Uni-
versity of Cincinnati.
Four Join
Water Council

EPA has appointed four new
members to the National Drink-
ing Water Advisory Council,
replacing members whose
three-year terms have expired.
The new council members are:
Frederick H. Elweil, Director
and Chief Engineerfor the Man-
chester, N.H. Water Works; Ira
M . Markwood, Manager of the
Public Water Supplies Division,
State of Illinois Environmental
Protection Agency; Dr. Evelyn
Murphy, Chairman of the  Na-
tional Advisory Committee on
Oceans and Atmosphere and
Senior  Lecturer in Urban Stud-
ies at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.,
and Leon L. Williams, Council-
man for the Fourth District of
San Diego,  Calif., since 1969.
A fifth member, Dr. Robert
Neal, Director of the Center for
Environmental Toxicology at
the Vanderbilt University
School of Medicine, was re-
appointed for a second term.
   Congress created the 15-
member Council when it passed
the 1 974 Safe Drinking Water
Act. The body's purpose is to
provide expert advice to EPA
on drinking water matters and
make recommendations to the
Agency on activities and poli-
cies needed to meet the Act's
requirements. To ensure that
different concerns are repre-
sented on the Council, members
are chosen from relevant State
and local agencies, private or-
ganizations interested in the
water supply field, and the
general public.

 Around the Nation
Hazardous Chemicals    State Water Plan
EPA Region 1 has con-
firmed contamination of
surface waters in the area
of three hazardous waste
disposal sites in Rhode
Island, Massachusetts,
and New Hampshire, and
has invoked the hazard-
ous pollutants section of
the  Federal Clean Water
Act. This action commits
the Agency to a program
of investigation and con-
tainment of the hazard
from the three sites.
  In Coventry, R.I., EPA
investigators discovered
levels of the industrial
solvents toluene and ben-
zene in a marsh area
adjacent to the Picillo
hazardous waste disposal
  The Picillo site is lo-
cated on about 7.6  acres
of cleared land sur-
rounded by woods and
swamps in Coventry.
Approximately 79,000
barrels of wastes are esti-
mated to be buried  on the
  In Raymond, N.H.,
toluene and other organic
contaminants are being
discharged as leachate
from a disposal site on
Blueberry Hill Road. The
leachate drains into a
small stream that flows
into the Exeter River. EPA
estimates that there may
be 1,000 barrels buried
on the site.
  In Holden, Mass., EPA
investigators have discov-
ered organic contami-
nants including toluene,
benzene, and trichloro-
ethane in groundwater
near the area of the
Holden municipal landfill.
The groundwater drains
into the Quinipoxet River
which flows into Wachu-
sett Reservoir. This reser-
voir supplies drinking
water for metropolitan
Region 2 has given its
conditional approval to
the statewide portion of
New York's plan to re-
solve serious water pollu-
tion problems contribut-
ing to contamination of
drinking water, restric-
tions on fishing in some
rivers and lakes,  limita-
tions on shellfishing in
tidal waters, and summer
beach closings.
   Charles Warren, EPA
Regional Administrator,
commended the New
York Department of Envi-
ronmental Conservation
and the citizens' advisory
committees for their
commitment and concen-
trated effort over the past
three years in developing
the plan.
   However, EPA cannot
yet approve the strategies
and  recommendations in
the plan for controlling
non-point sources of pol-
lution, a problem of seri-
ous significance not only
in New York but across
the Nation. Much more
information is required on
how specific sources
affect actual stream qual-
ity and how well  specific
control measures work
before cost-effective con-
trol measures will be gen-
erated that will produce
tangible water quality
   It is expected that by
October 1, 1980, the
State will submit a re-
vised plan to EPA for final
approval which incor-
porates all  the certified
area-wide plans, as well
as EPA's findings and rec-
ommendations, into one
statewide plan.
PCB Lawsuit
The Department of Jus-
tice, on behaif of EPA, has
brought suit against Metal
Bank of America for pol-
luting the Delaware River
with poiychlorinated bi-
phenyls (PCB's). Also
sued were Metal Bank's
parent company, the
Union Corporation of New
Jersey, and the owners of
the site in Philadelphia
where Metal Bank is
   Metal Bank operated a
metal recycling operation
from 1968 through 1972.
Among the items recycled
were electrical transform-
ers which contained
PCB-contaminated oil.
The oil was drained from
the transformers into an
underground tank for
storage until an off-site
disposal could be ar-
ranged. However, the
tank developed a leak and
one or more pools of oil
and PCB's formed under-
ground. Groundwater,
moving through the site,
has caused the PCB's and
oil to leach slowly into the
Delaware River.
   Metal Bank is located
near the Torresdaie Water
Treatment Plant, which
provides drinking water
for over half the popula-
tion of Philadelphia. EPA
believes that PCB's from
Metal Bank could contam-
inate the Torresdaie water
supply, although routine
testing by the Philadel-
phia Water Department
has not detected PCB's in
water in recent months.
   EPA has asked that the
court order Metal Bank
and the other defendants
to remove all PCB-con-
taminated oil and water
from under the ground
through recovery wells.
The water would be fil-
tered to remove the pollu-
tant, and then discharged
into the river. The Agency
has also asked that the
site be regraded, a water-
proof cover placed over
the ground, and an under-
ground containment wall
placed around the site to
prevent further water
from entering the site and
leaching PCB's into the
river. Monitoring wells
would  also have to be in-
stalled and monthly sam-
ples taken. Finally, EPA
has asked that Metal Bank
repay the money that the
Federal government has
already spent at the site.
Toxics Briefing
A Consumer Exchange
Meeting on Toxic Sub-
stances is scheduled for
October 7 at EPA's offices
in Atlanta. The meeting is
designed to offer leaders
of groups representing
consumer interests in the
Southeast an opportunity
to learn about government
policy and regulations re-
garding toxic substances
and to offer their  com-
ments to the agencies
  The Interagency  Regu-
latory Liaison Group
(IRLG) is sponsoring the
meeting. IRLG members,
in addition to EPA,  are the
Food and Drug Adminis-
tration, the Consumer
Product Safety Commis-
sion, the Occupational
Safety and Health Admin-
istration, and the Food
Safety and Quality  Ser-
vice of the Department of
Agriculture. The agencies
administer 25 laws deal-
ing with protection  of
public health and safety.
The IRLG was organized
in 1977 in an attempt to
improve the effectiveness
of agency programs,
while eliminating dupli-
cation and inconsistent
regulatory actions and un-
necessary paperwork.
Hazardous Waste
Region 5's recent cleanup
operation at the Seymour
Recycling Company in
Indiana generated a con-
siderable amount of Con-
gressional interest in the
Agency's hazardous
waste management activ-
ities. In response to this
interest, the Chicago Re-
gional office sponsored a
three-hour briefing on
hazardous wastes in Indi-
anapolis for the staff of the
Indiana Congressional
delegation and State offi-
cials concerned with haz-
ardous waste issues.
  Ten of Indiana's  Con-
gressmen and Senators
were represented. Also
in attendance were
representatives of the
Indiana State Board of
Health, the Indiana
Stream Pollution Control
Board, the office of Lt.
Gov. Robert Orr, and as-
sociates of the Holcomb
Research Institute,  which
provided meeting facil-
ities and staff for the
afternoon briefing session.
   Region 5 prepared a
15-page background doc-
ument, which was dis-
tributed with  brochures
and fact sheets. Regional
Administrator John Mc-
Guire opened the session
with an overview of the
hazardous waste problem.
Windborne Pesticides
The Department of Jus-
tice, Houston District, has
filed a lawsuit on behalf
of EPA asking the present
and past owners of a for-
mer pesticide formulating
plant at Mission, Tex., to
                                                                                   EPA JOURNAL

cleanup and secure the
  The site is flat, dry,
dusty and windy, and
dangerous concentrations
of pesticides and related
chemicals are blowing
onto nearby homes, two
elementary schools and a
school bus depot. The
pesticides and chemicals
include  DDT, lindane,
dieldrin, aldrin, toxa-
phene, heptachlorand
chlordane—all banned
for most uses in the
United States. The con-
centrations are thousands
of times higher than the
concentrations of these
chemicals on agricultural
or rural  land in the area,
and exceed water quality
standards for these
  The complaint alleges
that, because of the trans-
porting through the air of
these chemicals, area
residents and children are
being exposed to danger-
ous levels of these sub-
stances which may cause
cancer,  birth defects,
aplastic anemia and other
poisonous effects. These
chemicals are bio-accu-
mulative, meaning they
build up in human fatty
  Franklin J. Dusel, the
present  owner who is in
control of the property at
this time, and Helena
Chemical Company, with
Tex-Ag, Inc., former own-
ers and  operators of the
plant, are named as

Farmers Honored
Del and Val Akerlund,
brothers who jointly oper-
ate a 780-acre farm near
Valley, Neb. received a
Region? 1979 Environ-
mental Quality Award at
a ceremony held recently
in the office of Nebraska
Governor Charles Thone.
   In the 13 years since
the Akerlunds discon-
tinued the use of synthetic
fertilizers, herbicides and
insecticides, they have
seen the return of natural
productivity and fertility
to the soil and the re-
surgence of wildlife in the
area. In fact, their experi-
ment in organic farming
has been so successful,
the brothers have opened
their farm to scientists,
farmers and others—as
many as 600 visitors a
year—in an  effort to dem-
onstrate that natural farm-
ing methods can be as
profitable as more widely
accepted chemical
   In 1946, the Akerlunds
were the first farmers in
their area to begin using
the petrochemicals that
promised to produce high
yields and greater profits.
Two decades later, their
1967 chemical bill
reached $24,000. Bare
spots, totally devoid of
life, appeared in their
fields. Weeds and pests
were worse than ever as
natural predators fled the
chemical-laden land.
   In 1976, the Akerlund
farm was made part of a
study conducted by
Washington University in
St. Louis, Mo., to compare
1 6 organic farming opera-
tions and 1 6 conventional
farming operations in the
Midwest corn belt. The
study concluded that or-
ganic farmers were mak-
ing just as much profit as
conventional farmers
using inorganic fertilizers,
while using  only one-third
as much fossil fuel
have such a law. This law
establishes Inspection/
Maintenance programs in
nine Colorado Front
Range counties and is
aimed primarily at reduc-
ing carbon monoxide and
hydrocarbon  levels.
   The Colorado Legisla-
ture worked on an auto
emissions control pro-
gram for four years with-
out success. During its
1979 session the legisla-
ture set a deadline of
March 1, 1980, to enact
Legislation but failed to
meet that date, prompting
the EPA to limit Federal
funding on certain sewer
and highway projects.
This move was delayed,
however, by court action
and the State was given a
stay. Once that deadline
passed, EPA's Regional
Administrator Roger
Williams set the limita-
tions in  place, thereby
freezing millions of dol-
lars in Federal funds for
the State.
   Within days a legis-
lative committee repre-
senting both Houses
developed an auto emis-
sions control bill which
was later acted on favor-
ably by  the full legisla-
ture. Lamm signed the
bill, the funding limita-
tions were lifted, and
consequently Colorado
lost no  money.
   The new program will
begin January 1, 1983,
with certified private
garages doing the tests
under the close supervi-
sion of  the Colorado De-
partments of Health and
Colorado Auto
Governor Richard Lamm
recently signed an auto
emissions control pro-
gram bill making Colo-
rado the 25th State to
Resource Recovery
Region 9 has awarded six
grants to determine the
feasibility of implement-
ing resources recovery
projects. The grants are
funded under the Presi-
dent's Urban Policy pro-
gram and authorized by
the Resource Conserva-
tion and Recovery Act.
The municipalities receiv-
ing this Federal assist-
ance are: San Francisco,
Long Beach, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles County,
Berkeley, and Kauai,
Hawaii. Except for Los
Angeles County, each
project will examine the
feasibility of installing a
facility to recover energy
and materials from solid
waste. Los Angeles
County will be studying
the feasibility of imple-
menting a source separa-
tion program for salable
materials. The total Fed-
eral participation in  these
projects is approximately
Volcanic Ash
Residents of the North-
west digging out from the
fallout of volcanic ash
from Mount St. Helens
were urged by the EPA
to cooperate fully with
local officials and  health
agencies dealing with
clean-up efforts in their
  EPA's chief concern is
the potential for long-
range health effects
stemming from the in-
halation of fine paniculate
matter contained in the
ash deposits, according
to Donald P. Dubois,
EPA's Northwest regional
administrator in Seattle.
  "Safe removal of the
ash isa priority," said
Dubois, "in order to
reduce public exposure to
particles that, once
inhaled, often can never
be expelled from human
  "While asthmatics,
emphysema victims and
heavy smokers are among
those who are  most
susceptible to  long-term
health effects from small
particulates, even other-
wise healthy non-smokers
would be well-advised to
limit their exposure.
Small particulates, as
long as substantial quan-
tities of ash remain on
the ground, are certain
to be kicked up by winds,
by motor vehicle traffic
or by other human
   Refined estimates of
the amount of small
inhalable particulates and
data about the  exact
chemical make-up of the
particles will be made
available upon comple-
tion of EPA's evaluation
of information.
 States Served by EPA Regions

 Region 1 (Boston)


 Region 2 (New York

 212 264 r

 Region 3

 Region 4 [Atlanta)

 Region 5 {Chicago)


 Reg ion 6 (Dallas)

 214 .

 Region 7 (Kansas


 Region 8 (Denver)

 North Dakota. South

 Region 9 (San
 Nevii'1 .

 Region 10 (Seattle)

    Just over 1,000 years ago,
     the Mayan civilization
     was at its peak. One of its
centers, in the tropical forests
of what is now northern Guate-
mala, supported some five mil-
lion people. But in the span of
just three or four generations,
parts of the civilization suffered
almost total collapse. Popula-
tion levels plummeted, and
some areas remained virtually
uninhabited until recent years.
  The abrupt demise of this
Central American civilization
has puzzfed archaeologists and
historians for decades. There is
no shortage of possible expla-
nations, ranging from epidem-
ics to peasant revolts, but the
event has remained one of the
deep mysteries of human his-
tory. Recently, however, a new
theory has been advanced:
environmental degradation,
caused by overpopulation and
mounting pressures on the frag-
ile tropical  ecosystem, may
have been a major culprit.
  The possibility that the
Mayan civilization was under-
mined by ecological stresses is
of more than academic interest,
for hundreds of millions of
people in the Third-World are
trying to eke out a living under
equally tenuous environmental
conditions today. The plight of
the Mayans may thus hold
some important lessons.
  According to archaeological
evidence amassed by scientists
at the University of Florida and
the University of Chicago, the
Mayan population in the Guate-
malan rain forests grew stead-
ily for about 17 centuries
before its collapse around A. D.
800. The growth rate was slow,
however, for it took about 400
years for the population to
double in number. By con-
trast, the population in some
developing countries today is
doubling every 30 years.
                            Why the
                            By Colin Norman
  Population growth may have
been so slow that its impacts
were not perceived until too
late. By about the third century,
much of the forest cover
around the Mayan settlements
had been cleared for agricul-
ture, exposing the soil to the
full  impact of the region's heavy
rainfall. The result, according
to the recent findings, was ex-
tensive soil erosion. Massive
amounts of fertile soil were
washed into lakes and streams,
leaving the land seriously de-
pleted of essential nutrients.
  Direct evidence of this envi-
ronmental degradation has
come from a study of the soils
and lake beds in a region of
northern Guatemala that con-
tained a major Mayan center.
Exceptionally high levels of

phosphorus in the lake sedi-
ments can be explained only by
extensive soil erosion that
placed an "undoubtedly se-
vere" strain on the region's
agricultural resources, the sci-
entists suggest in a recent
Science article.
  While other forces, such as
disease or internal strife, may
have contributed to the final
collapse, the cumulative dam-
age from mounting pressures
on the region's agricultural
base may have undermined the
stability of the civilization.
   Such pressures are depress-
ingly familiar in many parts of
the developing world today.
Farming practices that were
sustainable when population
levels were relatively low are
breaking down under the de-
mand for increased food pro-
duction. Extensive areas in
Africa, Asia, and  Latin America
have been stripped of trees as
more and more people need
land to plant crops and require
firewood for heating and cook-
ing. And overgrazing on grass-
lands in arid regions is con-
tributing to the malignant
spread of deserts in many parts
of the world.
  As with the collapse of the
Mayan civilization, the full im-
pact of gradual ecological
deterioration may be felt sud-
denly and dramatically. Per-
sistent and devastating floods
in northern India, for example,
are partly the result of defor-
estation in highland areas,
which has led to rapid runoff,
soil erosion, and silting of
waterways. The ecological
calamity triggered by the
drought in the southern fringe
of the Sahara in the early seven-
ties also had its roots  in over-
exploitation of the region's
fragile environment.
   Rising demands for food
from  a burgeoning population
are pushing farmers onto mar-
ginal lands where traditional
agricultural techniques are un-
sustainable. But many other
forces are also contributing to
the problems. Feudal landown-
ership patterns in many coun-
tries, for example, mean a few
rich farmers own the fertile
bottomlands while poor farmers
are forced to scratch out a liv-
ing from the deteriorating soils
on hillsides. And as  rising
world oil prices drive the cost
of kerosene beyond the reach of
many poor people, they have no
alternative but to cut down
trees for firewood.
   Curbing the slow  deteriora-
tion of the ecosystems in many
developing countries will thus
entail a  broad range of social
and political reforms. Two
countries with markedly differ-
ent political systems—China
and South Korea—have suc-
cessfully launched major re-
forestation programs, however,
and some community-level
efforts are under way in parts of
India. These actions indicate at
least a spreading awareness of
the urgency of tackling the
most conspicuous environmen-
tal problems.  But unless such
programs are undertaken in
many parts of the world, some
ecosystems may be  pushed
past the point of no return. It is
sobering to note that some of
the Mayan farmlands have not
yet recovered their full produc-
tivity, 1,000 years after the
Mayan collapse. Q

Colin Norman is a researcher
at WorldWatch Institute in
Washington, D.C.. and co-
author of Running on Empty:
The Future of the Automobile
in an Oil Short World ( W. W.
Norton, November 1979}.
                                                                                              Mayan statues remain /.-.
                                                                                              reminders of a once-grc-it

                     News Briefs
EPA has  proposed  a  ban on most  uses of lindane, an
insecticide commonly  used in homes, on farms,  and
in treating hardwood  lumber.  EPA proposed  the ban
because  of findings that lindane causes  cancer,
adverse  effects on  the unborn,  and nerve  damage in
test  animals.  Studies on humans have associated
aplastic anemia wit-h  lindane exposure, and  lindane
residues have been  found in human fat tissue.   Res-
idues  have also been  found in city air,  rain  water,
and drinking water.  The proposed ban would affect
about  80 percent  of the almost  1 million  pounds of
lindane  used annually in the U.S.
EPA announced a  $55  million government-industry
demonstration project to cut  sulfur emissions from
coal-fired plants.   The project  will demonstrate
a new  process for  removing sulfur from gaseous
emissions common to  all coal-fired power  plants.
Under  the new project, flue gas  desulfurization, or
scrubbing, traps sulfur oxide  contained in  exhaust
gases  produced by  the combustion process.   These
discharges are a major source  of acid rain.   EPA
will provide $9-5  million for  the five-year cooper-
ative  design, construction, testing, and  demonstration
project.   The additional funds will be contributed
by New York State  and the electric utility  industry.
The method differs from the majority of the currently
installed methods  in that pure sulfur is  produced as
a byproduct, which can be sold to offset  part of the
costs  of environmental protection.
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                                                     EPA JOURNAL

     The  Islands of  Sinepuxent  Bay
     By bteve  uawson and  lom Cotield
         Rarely do man's often violent
         "improvements" to the
         environment—usually in
     response to the needs of mod-
     ern society—result in measur-
     able benefits to the wild
     creatures that share this earth
     with us.
        This is especially true when
     the "improvements" fall into
     the category of excavations,
     such as channel dredging.
        But today, located west of
     Ocean City and Assateague
     Island in Sinepuxent Bay, on
     the Atlantic coast of Maryland,
     a solid example of mutual bene-
     fit to man and wildlife exists in
     a series of small islands which
     literally were not there before
     the Sinepuxent Bay Channel
     was dredged to accommodate
     commercial and private boat
     traffic using that coastal
        When it became necessary in
     1950 to dredge the Sinepuxent
     Channel, little if any thought
     was given to what nature had
     in store for the small islands
     literally created by depositing
     the dredging spoils.
  Wisely though, the Maryland
Department of Natural Re-
sources retained ownership of
the islands which today repre-
sent an outstanding example of
the benefits to be derived from
the creation of wildlife habitat.
  Thanks more to good fortune
and remote location than to any
preconceived plan, the newly
formed "dredge-islands" were
left to mature and develop on
their own.
  As time is measured in na-
ture, it wasn't long before vari-
ous indigenous plants and other
dense salt marsh vegetation
took hold and flourished, even-
tually  covering and helping to
protect the small spits of land
from erosion.
  Then,  in what modern wild-
life managers now regard as
"expected response," birds
common to this unique region
began taking advantage of the
budding  habitat, nesting in iso-
lation  from invasion or disturb-
ance by man.
  Soon these truly small bits
of land became the summer
residences for such colony-
nesting species as the Little
Blue Heron, Common Tern,
Forester's Tern, Glossy Ibis,
Black-Crowned Night Heron,
Herring Gull, Cattle Egret, and
  In addition, other non-
colony-nesting species of bird
life began using parts of the
islands for nesting sites. These
included such species as Amer-
ican Oystercatchers, Mallards,
Black Ducks, Gadwall, and nu-
merous small shore birds.
  Recently a Pintail nest was
discovered on one of the
islands. The Pintail previously
was not recorded as a nesting
species in Maryland.
  One impressive aspect of
this "colonization" is the many
species of bird life nesting with-
in a few feet of each other and
in complete harmony.
   Since the various species of
birds are known to prefer
slightly different nesting vege-
tation, it is the variety of in-
digenous plants and grasses
that is credited with the suc-
cess of this commune-like
example of nature's willingness
to take up residence whenever
and wherever natural surround-
ings attract them.
  One of the most interesting
but as-yet-unsolved mysteries
involved here is the fact that
nesting periods of the same
species have been observed to
vary somewhat from one island
to another nearby.
  Despite losses in total area
due to violent storms, the Mary-
land Wildlife Administration
will continue to keep a close
watch on this unique though
largely accidental peep-preview
of what miracles nature can
  At the very least, the saga of
the Sinepuxent Islands must
stand as a breakthrough in the
as-yet unplumbed depths of
wildlife habitat management. D

The above article is excerpted
from the Maryland  Conserva-
tionist, Jan.-Feb. 1980.
      ULY/AUGUST 198'

A review of recent major
EPA activities and devel-
opments in the pollution
control program areas.
EPA Assistant Adminis-
trator for Air, Noise, and
Radiation David G.
Hawkins recently outlined
plans for adding new
requirements for five
pollutants to the regula-
tory program to prevent
"significant deteriora-
tion"  of air quality in
already clean areas of
the country.
   EPA previously pro-
mulgated regulations to
prevent significant de-
terioration (PSD). These
regulations require best
available control tech-
nology for all new sources
and provide specific
increments (limited pollu-
tion concentrations
increases) for sulfur
dioxide and particulates,
which are designed to
prevent deterioration of
air quality in the Nation's
clean air areas resulting
from these pollutants.
The program outlined will
provide additional protec-
tion to these clean air
regions from carbon
monoxide, hydrocarbons,
lead, nitrogen oxides, and
   "We intend to study
and implement a program
aimed at preserving the
Nation's air resources in
areas that currently meet
Federally mandated air
quality standards,"
Hawkins said. "We are
seeking extensive public
comment on this effort
before specific regula-
tions are proposed."
   The proposed program
to prevent significant
deterioration of sulfur
oxides and particulates
requires the management
of air quality increments.
The approaches being
considered for the new
regulations include
several other manage-
ment options such as
emission management or
control and economic
incentive systems where
industries would be
charged according to the
amount of pollution they
emit. The more they
emitted, the more they
would be required to pay.

Supreme Court Decision
A recent Supreme Court
decision may mean less
time spent in court by the
EPA in its efforts to imple-
ment the Clean Air Act.
By a vote of seven-to-two,
the high court said Con-
gress in 1977 did expand
significantly the jurisdic-
tion of the appeals court
to review EPA decisions.
This ruling, in favor of the
EPA, is important because
it answers the question of
whether challenges to
EPA final decisions
should be heard in the
district court, which is
often a long, drawn out
process that could result
in an appeal, or go
straight to the appeals
   Prior to 1977, actions
of an EPA Administrator
under provisions not spe-
cifically enumerated in
section 307 (b)(1) of the
Clean Air Act were re-
viewable only in district
court under its Federal-
question jurisdiction.
However, amendments to
the Act in 1977 added to
the list of actions review-
able exclusively in the
appropriate courts of
appeals both actions of
the Administrator under
other specifically enumer-
ated provisions of the Act
and any other final actions
of the Administrator un-
der the Act.
   Because there are 11
appeals courts as com-
pared to over 90 district
courts, the Agency feels
that it can now look for-
ward to more uniformity
in decisions in the 200
plus appeals that may be
pending at any one time.
  The case involved
arose when the EPA
through its Region 6 office
informed PPG Industries,
Inc., that certain new
source performance
standards under the Clean
Air Act applied to its
chemical plant in Lake
Charles, La. PPG ap-
pealed on the grounds
that the equipment in-
volved was in the plan-
ning and initial construc-
tion stages in 1970, a year
before the standards took
effect. The Agency, how-
ever, contended that
since  the equipment was
not assembled until 1976,
it was subject to the
  PPG filed a suit seeking
review of the Agency's
decision in the Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Cir-
cuit, and a complaint for
injunctive relief against
the regional administrator
in the United States Dis-
trict Court for the Western
District of Louisiana.
  The Court of Appeals
dismissed PPG's petition
for lack of jurisdiction
under the Clean Air Act.
EPA then appealed to the
Supreme Court.
  The Supreme Court
based its decision on the
plain meaning of the same
section  under the Act,
specifically the phrase
"any other final action."
PPG had defended the
appeals court decision on
the grounds that the Ad-
ministrator's decision
should not be reviewed in
the court of appeals since
no forma! proceeding
such as a hearing pre-
ceded it.
  The case has been sent
back to the appea Is court
for review and the suit
filed in the district court

Firms Sued
The Department  of Jus-
tice, on  behalf of EPA,
recently filed a suit
against Ottati and Gross,
Inc. and the Great Lakes
Container Corp., charging
that improper disposal of
hazardous wastes by
these companies at two
adjacent sites near King-
ston, N.H., poses an im-
minent fire hazard and a
risk of contamination of
surrounding ground-
waters and surface
   Many of the chemicals
found at these sites are
suspect carcinogens.
Some of them also have
been found to adversely
affect the liver, kidneys,
heart, nervous system,
and respiratory system of
people. In  addition, a
number of the compounds
arehighly  flammable, and
some, including methyl-
ene chloride and chloro-
form, emit toxic phosgene
gas when exposed to
64,200 steel drums that
either did  or do contain
chemical wastes are
stored at the sites.
Noise Control
The EPA recently en-
dorsed a plan by the city
of Inglewood, Calif., to
establish one of the most
extensive airplane noise
reduction programs  in the
Nation. The program calls
for offering relocation
opportunities to quieter
neighborhoods for the
approximately 4,000 peo-
ple of the North Lock-
haven area in Inglewood
who live directly under
the flight paths of jet air-
craft. The airplanes are
landing or taking off at
Los Angeles International
   Present plans antici-
pate an expenditure  of
$200 million for the re-
project to be provided by
industry, private organi-
zations, and Federal and
local governments. EPA
will provide a $25,000
grant to help the project.
   EPA's endorsement of
the project represents part
of the Agency's initiative
under President Carter's
urban noise program, an-
nounced last year.

Herbicide 2,4-D
Barbara Blum, EPA Dep-
uty Administrator, an-
nounced recently that the
Agency is requesting ad-
ditional information from
manufacturers to deter-
mine whether 2,4-D, a
widely used herbicide, is
safe for humans and the
   "We have made this
decision following a re-
view of health-effects
studies of 2,4-D," said
Blum. "The review
showed that significant
information gaps exist on
the effects of 2,4-D, pre-
venting a definite conclu-
sion on the safety of the
herbicide.  We will ask the
manufacturer of the weed
killer to commence the
studies to provide the
missing evidence."
   Blum said that if the
manufacturers fail to
notify EPA within 90 days
that they will provide the
necessary  information,
EPA will use a stringent
new provision of the pes-
ticides law, which allows
the Agency to stop all
uses of the pesticide.
   If the manufacturers
comply, Blum said, EPA
will allow 2,4-D to con-
tinue to be used while
studies are underway.
However, should any of
the new studies demon-
strate a major health or
environmental problem,
she said EPA would then
take appropriate regula-
tory action without  wait-
ing for completion of all
the studies.
                                                                                                           EPA JOURNAL

The EPA says it may ban
future use of the pesticide
Perthane unless the man-
ufacturer agrees to con-
duct additional studies on
its effects on human
health and the environ-
ment. Perthane is a
chlorinated  hydrocarbon
insecticide chemically
related to DDT, a pesti-
cide banned in the United
States eight years ago.
The manufacturer of Per-
thane, Rohm and  Haas
Company of Philadelphia,
has not stocked or sold
it in the U.S. for two years
but wants to retain its
right to do so in the
   EPA told Rohm and
Haas it cannot agree to
this unless the company
is willing to conduct addi-
tional studies to fill sig-
nificant information gaps
on the effects of Perthane.
Incomplete  evidence at
hand, said EPA, suggests
it causes cancer and birth
defects in experimental
   If Rohm and Haas com-
plies, EPA will allow
Perthane to be sold so
long as the new studies
do not demonstrate it
poses a major health or
environmental hazard.


Guide Available
The EPA now has avail-
able a guide to assist mu-
nicipalities  with solid
waste management
through the development
of projects to recover ma-
terials and produce
energy from municipal
solid waste.
   The 600-page guide,
developed for EPA by the
MITRE Corporation, is
titled "The  Resource Re-
covery Management
  The Management
Model can be ordered for
$27 from the Superin-
tendent of Documents,
Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C.
20402. Refer to #055-
  To assist local project
managers in explaining
the guide, a document
called "Resource Recov-
ery Management Model
Overview" (SW-768) is
available free from the
U.S. EPA, Solid Waste
Information, 46 West St.
Clair St., Cincinnati, Ohio
45268 or from  the Super-
intendent of Documents,
U.S. Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C.


Changed Plans
A New York City chemical
company recently notified
the EPA that it  no longer
intends to manufacture a
new plastic compound
a bout which EPA had ex-
pressed concern. The
Argus Chemical Corpora-
tion decided to withdraw
its notice of intent to
manufacture the new
plasticizer at a  time when
EPA was considering lim-
iting production of the
substance until the com-
pany provided  informa-
tion on whether it could
cause immediate or long-
term harm to production
workers and the general
  Prior to this  announce-
ment, another company
also dropped plans to pro-
duce six new plasticizers
after the Agency barred
production until the firm
submitted information on
the new compound's po-
tential to cause cancer
among people and to
harm fish and other
aquatic life.
  Both withdrawals oc-
curred under an EPA pro-
gram that requires chemi-
cal makers to notify the
Agency of their intent to
market new compounds
so that EPA can review
the health and environ-
mental safety of these
substances. This program
was created by the 1976
Toxic Substances Control

EPA Assistant Adminis-
trator for Toxic Sub-
stances Steven Jellinek
says people concerned
about possible health haz-
ards from certain copying
"toners" should not be
alarmed about the safety
of using their  present
copiers or current copy-
ing practices based on the
information currently
available to the  EPA.
   The Agency gave this
advice as a result of nu-
merous public inquiries
both it and Xerox Corp.
have received about the
safety of Xerox toners and
copying machines since
news  accounts released
recently indicated that
certain toners contained
a chemical that gave indi-
cations of being a pos-
sible health hazard in
certain short-term tests.
   EPA officials  met with
Xerox representatives in
Washington, D.C. re-
cently to discuss these
tests and other informa-
tion related to the toners.


Cost Cutting
Special cost-cutting re-
views by the EPA have
saved about $141 million
in sewage treatment plant
cost, the Agency an-
nounced recently. To en-
sure that Federal funding
was being used  most effi-
ciently to protect public
health and the environ-
ment, the Agency detailed
"value engineering" re-
views of planned sewage
projects in 1976. Since
then, 87 high-cost proj-
ects have been reviewed
and as a result, estimated
construction costs of  $2.7
billion for those projects
were reduced by $141
million, or 5.1 percent.
  "Value engineering"
is the review of proposed
projects by an independ-
ent team of experienced
professional  engineers
prior to construction to
make sure the most cost-
effective plans and speci-
fications have been used.

Clean Lakes
Federal funds used to
clean up the Nation's
lakes pay off many times
over in benefits to the
public, according to a
new report prepared for
the  EPA. Specifically, the
study estimates that each
dollar of Federal lake
cleanup funds has re-
sulted in $8 in measured
benefits. Total govern-
ment investment in lake
cleanup, including match-
ing  State and local fund-
ing, is returned four-fold
to the taxpayer. The great-
est benefits were in the
form of  improved recrea-
tional opportunities and
  These findings are con-
tained in a 150-page re-
port titled An Assessment
of Economic Benefits of
28 Projects in the Section
314 Clean Lakes Program.
prepared under contract
by the JACA Corporation
of Port Washington, Pa.
New Rules
Thousands of industries
and muncipalities will
benefit from new regula-
tions announced recently
by the EPA that simplify
procedures for obtaining
necessary environmental
   A key element of EPA's
"permits consolidation"
effort is the use of a sin-
gle, simplified form to
apply for the different
types of permits. It speci-
fies the information need-
ed to apply, eliminating
unnecessary questions
and duplicative informa-
tion requirements which
would result from use of
a separate form for each
permit program.
  The rules apply to new
or existing permit pro-
grams designed to protect
the public from unsafe
treatment, storage or dis-
posal of hazardous chemi-
cals; the contamination of
underground drinking
water supplies; the pollu-
tion of waterways by in-
dustries and municipal
sewage  plants; air pollu-
tion caused by new
sources; and the improper
disposal of contaminated
dredge materials and
destruction of vital wet-

Public Participation
The EPA has proposed its
first Agencywide policy
on public participation to
encourage citizen in-
volvement in all of its
programs. Most EPA pro-
grams have been provid-
ing public participation in
the past, but each in its
own way. The proposed
policy would bring further
order to this situation by
providing a single set of
flexible guidelines for use
by all offices.
   In addition to clarifying
managers' responsibilities
for public involvement,
the policy emphasizes
participation at the early
stages of proposed pro-
grams and on issues
where alternatives exist.
   The new policy would
apply to EPA operations
at both its Washington,
D.C.,  headquarters and
10 regional offices. D

                             Environmental Almanac:  July/August  1980
                             A Glimpse of the Natural World We Help Protect
                             Whitewater Calling
                                  The novice river runners
                                  were soaked by waves
                                  breaking over their rubber
                             river raft as it wallowed,
                             bucked and lurched through the
                             rapids in the West Virginia
                             gorge of the New River, often
                             called the Grand Canyon of the
                                The drenched paddlers were
                             taking part in a recent trip in
                             the rapidly growing sport of
                             Whitewater rafting which is
                             attracting thousands  of people
                             this summer on suitable rivers
                             across the country.
                                The New River offers 21
                             major rapids in a 1 5-mile
                             stretch between Thurmond and
                             Fayetteville, near West Virgin-
                             ia's Hawks Nest State Park, an
                             hour's drive from Charleston,
                                The river crashes over and
                             around enormous boulders
                             which line its bed as the stream
                             passes between 1,000-feet
                             high banks and under the New
                             River  Gorge Bridge, the highest
                             steel arch span in the East.
                                Despite its name, the New
                             River  is estimated to  be 100
                             million years old and is consid-
                             ered the oldest in the United
                             States. Because of this distinc-
                             tion and its extraordinary and
                             unmarred scenic beauty, this
                             ancient river has been given
                             special protection by an Act of
                             Congress that proclaimed it a
                             National River.
                                River rapids in the  East are
                             rated  on a scale of Class I—
                             VI, with Class I having small
                             waves and Class VI extraordi-
                             narily dangerous rapids which
                             are almost impossible to navi-
gate. The difficulty of rapids
can fluctuate from day to day
depending on water level and
weather conditions.
  On a recent New River trip
that we took, the Whitewater
outfitter guides leaned far out
of the rubber raft and stroked
their paddles frantically
through the churning water as
they steered through several
Class V rapids.
  Between rapids the river
calms down and paddlers
sometimes use their plastic
bailing  devices for water fights
with neighboring craft as the
group glides through "flat-
water." On the towering banks
flashes  of cascading streams
can be seen through the thick
tree foilage as these tributaries
hurtle down to join the river.
  The American Rivers Con-
servation Council, a group
formed in 1973 with a Wash-
ington,  D.C., headquarters to
help protect wild and scenic
rivers, sponsors many white-
water river trips around the
  Some of the rivers on which
trips are planned this summer
and fall include the Gauley
(with rapids named "Mash,"
"Heaven Help You," and "Pure
Screaming Hell") and the
Cheat in West Virginia, the
Youghiogheny in Pennsyl-
vania, the Salmon in Idaho, the
Snake in Idaho-Oregon, the Rio
Grande in Texas and a stretch
of the Colorado in Utah.
  From an environmental per-
spective the surge  in white-
water boating has many advan-
tages and some drawbacks.
   People who were used to
having the Nation's wildest and
loveliest rivers pretty much to
themselves resent the sight of
large numbers of helmeted
paddlers in flotillas of rubber
rafts. They often look like glad-
iators preparing to do battle
with the river gods.
   Owners of land along these
rivers also complain about
occasional trespassing by the
rafters and object to litter
sometimes left on the shore.
   On the other hand, most
river outfitters who provide the
rafts understand that keeping
the river and beach areas clean
is essential for their success.
   When we rode the New River
rapids, a member of the tour,
despite stern advance warn-
ings about not littering,  threw
a cigarette overboard. The
guide provided by Wildwater
Expeditions Unlimited immedi-
ately spun the craft around in
a vain attempt to retrieve the
   One advantage of white-
water rafting is that it helps
introduce many city residents
to the beauty and charm of
river life.
  At day's end after the hurly
burly of the rapids, visitors can
enjoy the peace and calm of
the flatwater, notice trees
reflected in the shimmering
water surface, and listen to the
song of a water  thrush  as dusk
   River rafting provides many
sights and sounds that,  in the
words of an old Irish saying,
"brush the cobwebs from  your
                                                                                                      EPA JOURNAL

Timber cutting can lead to serious erosion of the land unless carefully managed.

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