Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links

** NOTE: The American Presidency Project will soon launch a new website with a more contemporary look and improved search capability. While we continue "beta testing" the new site, please excuse lapses in updating this site.
We expect to have the new site on-line in June.

• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Farewell Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2016 Election Documents
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1996 Election Documents
• 1968 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2017 Transition
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
• White House Media Pool Reports
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 

Limit by Year

To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals

You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
Franklin D. Roosevelt: Message to Congress on Water Pollution.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
31 - Message to Congress on Water Pollution.
February 16, 1939
Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt<br>1939
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Font Size:
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

To the Congress:

The last congress recognized the national importance of pollution abatement in our streams and lakes by passing, during its closing days, an Act providing for the creation of a Division of Water Pollution Control in the United States Public Health Service and for the establishment of a permanent system of Federal grants-in-aid and loans to assist in constructing pollution abatement projects. Although fully subscribing to the general purposes of that Act, I felt compelled to withhold my approval of it because of the method which it provided for the authorization of loans and grants-in-aid. It would have prevented the consideration of such appropriations as a part of the annual budget for all purposes. My reasons are set forth in detail in my memorandum of June 25, 1938. I hope that at this session the whole problem of water pollution may again receive your attention.

To facilitate study of the problem by the Congress, I am transmitting a report on "Water Pollution in the United States," which outlines the status of pollution, the cost of bringing about a reasonable degree of abatement, and the financial, technical, and administrative aspects of such a program. The document was prepared at my request by a special advisory committee of the National Resources Committee composed of representative experts from the departments of War, Treasury, the Interior, Agriculture and Commerce, and from private and state agencies.

No quick and easy solution of these problems is in sight. The Committee estimates that an expenditure by public and private agencies of approximately two billion dollars over a period of ten to twenty years may be required to construct works necessary to abate the more objectionable pollution. Inasmuch as the needed works are chiefly treatment plants for municipal sewage and industrial waste, the responsibility for them rests primarily with municipal government and private industry. Much construction work is in progress. Many State agencies have forced remedial action where basic studies have shown it to be practicable.

Unprecedented advances in cleaning up our streams have been made possible by the public works and work-relief programs during the past six years. The report states that more progress has been made in abatement of municipal waste during that period than during the entire twenty-five years preceding, chiefly as a result of Federal financial stimulation. As in many other fields of conservation, great improvement in the Nation's basic assets of water has been incident to the fight against unemployment. If this construction work is to continue at a substantial rate, and if the necessary research, education, and enforcement activities are to be carried out most effectively, the Federal Government must lend financial support and technical stimulation.

It is my opinion that pending further experimentation with interstate and state enforcement activities, Federal participation in pollution-abatement should take the general form of establishing a central technical agency to promote and coordinate education, research, and enforcement. On the basis of recent experience, it should be supplemented by a system of Federal grants-in-aid and loans organized with due regard for the integrated use and control of water resources and for a balanced Federal program for public works of all types. The time is overdue for the Federal Government to take vigorous leadership along these lines.

Citation: Franklin D. Roosevelt: "Message to Congress on Water Pollution.," February 16, 1939. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15713.
© 1999-2018 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project ™
Locations of visitors to this page