The New York Times
July 22, 1985,
HEADLINE: Wise and Timely Use of Cleanup Funds Is Environmentalist Goal
To the Editor:
James Bovard completely misrepresents the environmentalist position on
toxic-waste control by claiming (''Bankrupt Environmentalism,'' Op-Ed, July 10)
that we advocate nothing more than throwing money at the problem. To the
contrary, since environmentalists began supporting Superfund legislation in the
1970's, we have endorsed an approach that integrates an adequate Superfund
budget with a sensible cleanup schedule and effective cleanup standards.
That is why we object to passage by the House Subcommittee on Commerce,
Transportation and Tourism of H.R. 2817, a bill that almost doubles the Reagan
Administration's fund request, but obliterates any Environmental Protection
Agency responsibility for spending the money wisely or in a timely fashion. In
fact, H.R. 2817 would allow the E.P.A. to authorize cleanups that violate the
standards established under other Federal pollution-control laws. It would also
prevent states from imposing more stringent standards than those set by the
E.P.A. And H.R. 2817 would not require the agency to clean up sites any faster
than the snail's pace of the last five years.
Mr. Bovard clearly has an ax to grind when it comes to pollution control. His
claim that the Clean Water Act is ''a landmark of ineffectiveness'' is without
merit. According to the 1982 national water-quality inventory report to
Congress, progress has been made in water-pollution control in 21 states, while
no states reported trends in water-quality degradation. And the National Stream
Quality Accounting Network, which is operated by the U.S. Geological Survey,
reported that ''large-scale degradation of the nation's streams has been
stopped, even though both population and industrial activity have increased.''
Pollution control is not only a dire necessity, but it also works.
The Sierra Club and other conservation organizations accept responsibility
for the development of cost-effective programs and policies that respond to
increasingly complex environmental problems. This forward thrust has been
demonstrated by the club's own programs and by the recent release of ''An
Environmental Agenda for the Future,'' prepared jointly by the leaders of the
environmental community. I commend this report to Mr. Bovard and all who share
our concern for environmental quality.
DOUGLAS P. WHEELER Executive Director,
Sierra Club Washington, July 11, 1985