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tv   Reel America Environmental Protection Agency History 1970-1985  CSPAN  August 16, 2019 6:38pm-6:59pm EDT

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will all all all all will
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>> dark skies and ruined water. burning rivers, oil spills, closed beaches, silent spring. 20 years ago the wealthiest nation the world had ever known , the people who enjoy the level of private consumption undreamed of in the past found itself in an a in environmental squalor. our cars were comfortable, but our children couldn't play outside because of the smog. our clothes were clean, but our
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days were choked with sewage and the lakes were slowly dying. a wave of horror swept the nation as we began to realize what we had done to the natural systems that supported all life the environmental movement was born. governments at all levels responded with programs aimed at controlling pollution. by 1970 it became obvious that further progress would require a strong national effort. as a result on december 2 the 1970, president richard nixon consolidated 15 environmental programs from across the federal government to form the united states environmental protection agency. not only did the the new epa inherit responsibilities from its parent programs, but it
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soon had a raft of new ones. the passage of the clean air act in 1970 meant that epa's management had to simultaneously organize dozens of different laboratories to develop the national air quality standards required by the act. while at the same time join the american people that something was being done to stop air pollution. epa went to court, factories were shut down. the message got through that gross pollution would no longer be a part of business as usual in the united states. the clean water act passed in 1972 and it required enormous and unprecedented efforts on the part of the new agency. 60 million people were on sewage systems discharging 2 million tons a year overall. the new law mandated the system of universal sewage treatment
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and gave epa the job of bringing it about. a job that meant running one of the largest public works programs in the nation's history. these water protection programs were hardly underway when congress gave epa new ones. an expanded pesticide program to examine and register new agricultural pest killers to ensure that these chemicals do not menace human health or the survival of natural systems. a program to set standards for the nation's drinking water. a program to control the disposal of solid waste including hazardous waste. a program to help clean up the potentially dangerous hazardous waste dumps that are from the careless past. a program to control various sources of radioactivity. and a group of other responsibilities that reflect
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our concern with the character of the american land, including the requirement for environmental impact statements the establishment of sanctuaries and wetlands. epa has demonstrated over the last 15 years that the ideals of 1970 could be forged in instruments of national policy. their large lender can control. between 1970 and 1981, although there is the products by nearly 6% they reduced the missions by 50 for 53%.
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>> you will stop using leaded gas. we provided municipal sewage treatment for oval over 80 million americans. they've been reduced by 38%. when currently mandated controls are in place discharges of toxic pollutants will have been reduced by 96% from 1972. a number of widely used chemicals with unacceptable toxicities such as ddt and pcbs have been successfully banned. we set up a regulatory system to track hazardous wastes to the point of disposal to prevent any disasters like allowing it to happen to our children. the superfund program has located the most important
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abandoned waste sites and has moved to prevent any damage to the surrounding communities. all this has been accomplished through the dedication of epa's people. some 13,000 of them. they are organized in for program offices that administer the major regulatory laws. air and radiation, water, solid waste and emergency response, and pesticides and toxic substances. agency as a whole is directed by an administrator with assisted administrators in charge of each program office. the administrator deputy administrator and assistant administrators are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. in addition there is administrators with appropriate staffs for research and development. enforcement and compliance monitoring. administration. policy planning
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and evaluation. and external affairs. general counsel and a general's office round out the basic organization. epa is a largely decentralized operation. they require that a major part of the job be done by the states. epa staff has to work closely with protection organizations to get the job done. there's 10 regional headquarters housing staff that's responsible for the major regulatory programs in boston, new york city, philadelphia, atlanta. chicago. dallas. kansas city. denver. san francisco, and seattle. the scientific work is also decentralized and takes place
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in laboratories located across the country. their pollution work takes place in north carolina. groundwater research in oklahoma, pesticide biology in florida, and ecosystems research in oregon. the scientific effort is essential to the environmental challenges that lie ahead. we need to know a lot more about how toxic substances behave in the environment, and what effects various exposure levels have on human health and the environment. this knowledge would help us control the risks from these substances without sacrificing the benefits of the technologies that produce them. we need more information on long-range pollutants through the air. acid rain is an example of this transport. we also must do better at
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tracking the flow of pollutants through the environment. much of our pollution control apparatus was designed with one environmental medium. pollutants can crossover between come and present risks in their new state as well. we cleaned the water, but produced millions and tons of slippage a year. we could incinerate the sludge, but at what cost to the purity of the air. new and creative technologies are needed. they reduce the emissions from coal burning is one example. another is the blue goose a block long incinerator and a product of the research facility at edison new jersey. they use intense heat to eliminate much of the toxicity of hazardous waste.
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epa has also helped to develop new sewage treatment technology, and new ways of preventing the groundwater. the work of the people of epa, and thousands of colleagues with environmental protection has been rewarded by the response of the natural environment. there is fishing and water recreation on many major rivers and bays and places that many people bought with forever. with improve water quality on 40,000 miles of streams since 1972. lake erie did not die. there's fish in the trinity river at dallas. a stretch once written off as a sewer. the most symbolic achievement has been the return
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of a symbolic achievement at all has been the return of the bald eagle, endangered populations of the national bird have come back more quickly than expected. scientific evidence shows that the eagles are flying again largely because of a ban on ddt. new problems have taken the place of old ones, and each program at the epa confronts a fresh task. the air program is developing a strategy to deal with noncompliance. it is also shifting its attention to inhalable articulate, the tiny fragments that cause the most significant health effects. and to deal with changing energy sources such as woodburning furnaces. the control of toxic substances in the air remains a problem as does developing a workable solution to the damage done by acid rain. the water program has completed its monumental task of issuing
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affluent guidelines, rules that tell major industrial sources what concentrations of polluting substances they can allowed to flow into surface waters. the construction grants program continues, but plans are being made to turn this responsibility over to the states. emphasis at epa has turned to assuring that the plans are running properly. new emphasis is also being placed on protection of the nation's groundwater resources and on ensuring that all americans can drink your water into the indefinite future. finally, we are starting to realize that the goals of the clean water act will not be fully met unless we deal with polluting training from farms and cities. this nonpoint source pollution is responsible for half the water quality problem in some areas. the water office is working with landowners and other government agencies to
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handle this problem. epa's solid waste problems are relatively new. the problems are old and will take a long time to solve. 6 billion tons of solid and hazardous waste are produced in the united states each year. and deciding what to do with this mass, or better yet, how to reduce it, will not be easy. we have made a good start. regulations governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste are now in place. we have also moved forward against the problems arising from inactive sites under our superfund authority. epa and the states have almost completed the inventory of potentially hazardous sites and the complex process of determining what to do with particular sites and who should do it is underway at many of
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them. the effort to control the harmful effects of the toxic chemicals used by our technological society is one of the most difficult and complex tasks ever devised. there are over 60,000 chemicals . between three and 4 billion pounds of pesticides are used each year. it is the job of the office of pesticides and toxic substances to determine which chemical uses are unacceptably risky and to control them. its mission is the stuff of headlines when the names of obscure or every day chemicals identified as risks burst into the public consciousness. dioxin, asbestos, pcbs, ethylene dibromide. the office now concentrates on speeding the registration of pesticides and stopping their misuse, texting for toxicity the thousands of new chemicals and continuing the control of
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widely used chemicals to that may cause serious disease. asbestos and pcb are the most familiar. all these efforts are connected. the environmental protection agency was born out of the idea that nature is a seamless web of life. a poet once said you cannot touch a flower without the troubling of the star. so we have to protect the whole environment. we are not in business to move pollution around from one place to the other. we have to realize that pollution control itself generates some risk and that the art is in deciding as free and responsible people what risks we are willing to live with and what we are willing to spend to reduce them. we have come a long way in just 15 years. the american people have risen to the challenge of
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living more gently in the natural world. with the continuing support, we and the environmental protection agency can move on to fulfill our mission in its deepest sense. and that is to shape the nation and the planet we intend to leave to our children. >> we are featuring american history programs as a preview of what is available every weekend. lectures in history, american artifacts, will america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nations history. enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span three. tonight we take a look at
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world war ii. we begin with a high school teacher on food rationing and food that led to modern processed food. she discussed wartime policy dealing with food rationing on the home front. saturday at 10 pm eastern unreal america, the film communists on campus. >> they are communists and their mission is the violent overthrow of the democratic system and yet our nation seems unbelieving, even unconcerned. the woodstock cocreator
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details how the festival came together.>> i said if we took it outside, i suppose we had joplin and all these people. and he said about 50,000, and i said has to be 100,000. and my wife said more than 300,000. and i looked off the terrace and i actually saw that field. and everyone says i spaced out. i was looking at a dream that came true.>> and on american artifacts, the virginia museum of history on their exhibit on 400 years of african-american history.>> they wanted to resist the enslavement and they tried to run away. unfortunately they were not successful and as punishment for their attempt to escape, robert carter got permission from the court in 1708 to have
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their toes cut off. the new york times staff photographer talks about photographs covering president trump. >> he enjoys having us around. i think that despite his constant comments about big news, i feel he enjoys having us around because it helps to drive his message and the news of the day that he can do every day. and therefore, having us around allows him to do that. march 28, 1979, the


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