12-Thursday, February 15, 1979-The Michigan Daily
DISCUSSES POLLUTION STANDARDS'
Muskie calls for tight controls
by MARIANNE EGRI
Senator Edmund Muskie (D-Maine),
speaking before about 600 people in
Rackham Auditorium last night, at-
tacked the new mood of those opposed
to environmental regulation because
they say "It is. too costly and burden-
some to protect people from the hazar-
ds of pollution."
Blaming economists and cost-benefit
analyses for the new sentilhents,
Muskie gained a round of applause
from the crowd when he said: "In
trying to protect health from the en-
vironmental impacts, we can't wait for
precise, clinical, and positive evidence.
We must measure the risk and build in
a margin that protects the public
"THE ENVIRONMENT is being at-
tacked by people who believe in num-
bers," he said. "We need better eviden-
ce on health effects of pollution, trends,
is what it
used to be at
Open 10 am
and abetter techniques to measure
Citing the dumping of hazardous
wastes in the environment as a major
problem, Muskie said, "We must
develop procedures and techniques to
render hazardous ways of ,dumping
harmless prior to disposal. This is
something Congress should address
this year, but the mood of the anti-
regulators is preventing it."
He said the Environmental Protec-
tion Agency (EPA) has spent two years
developing rules to guard against dum-
ping, and too much emphasis is being
placed on costs, practicality, and effec-
"THERE ARE a group of economists
who second-guess environmental
regulations," said Muskie. "The com-
panies producing the wastes won't bear
Another major problem Muskie cited.
was the new draft legislation for a
regulatory reform bill of environmental
protection. This will require review of
all environmental rules, regulations
"This would stop the agency from
providing new protection, and would
override every existing environmental
statute," said Muskie.
"UNDER DRAFT legislation the
health standard would be eliminated,
and instead the standard would be
based on most-benefit analysis," he
said. "This is not* the minimnum
requirement of public health, but it is
the least burdensome alternative."
"The draft bill is a bone tossed to the
individual by the bureaucratic
economists, and the bone is the health
of the nation," said Muskie.
Since measuring the effects of
pollution in "dollars and cents" is very
difficult, it is used as an "economic veto
fo environmental regulations," said
HOWEVER, Muskie said "pollution
has costs - lost jobs, lost health, lost
recreation and sfewer options for the
Stressing his point, Muskie said the
.Environmental Protection Agency was
going to relax its ozone standard so that
the allowable level was increased by 50
per cent. Furthermore, he cited the
problem of acid precipitation.
Despite the anti-regulator mood,
Muskie said he was optimistic because
f the people." Muskie said only a poll
indicated that pollution control had a
great deal of public support, and a
study which indicated that the costs of
control are not as great as they appear.
INDICATING HE was "sorry to be
trapped by a specific title and subject,"
Muskie added that although it was a
boring topic, it was extremely impor-
The senator's visit, sponsored by the
School of Public Health, the Public
Health Student Association, and the
University's Council on Environmental
Programs, was connected to his leading
role in environmental activities.
Muskie is chairman of the Public
Works Subcommittee on Environmen-
tal Pollution, and was a key figure in
the passage of the Clean Air Act and
Clean Water Act.
A former governor of Maine, Muskie
entered national politics as the 1968
Democratic vice presidential can-
didate, and was also an unsuccessful
candidate for President in 1972.
NEW YORK (AP)-W. S. Merwin
has been awareded the 1979 Bollingen
Prize in Poetry.
Given "in recognition of his
achievement in poetry over 25 years,"
it carries a stipend of $5,000.
Merwin received the Pulitzer Prize in
Poetry in 1972, and in 1974 he was awar-
ded the Fellowship of the Academy of
His most recent collection was "The
Compass Flower," published in 1977 by
Merwin is also noted as a translator
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