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Lyndon B. Johnson: Memorandum on Air Pollution
Lyndon B. Johnson
186 - Memorandum on Air Pollution
April 21, 1967
Public Papers of the Presidents
Lyndon B. Johnson<br>1967: Book I
Lyndon B. Johnson
1967: Book I
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Memorandum for Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Secretary of State, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Transportation, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Director of the Bureau of the Budget, Director of the Office of Science and Technology, Director of the Office of Emergency Planning, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Chairman of the Federal Power Commission

SUBJECT: Air pollution

The control of air pollution is a matter of highest priority, and I intend to continue the battle for clean air with all the resources at my disposal.

The Air Quality Act of 1967, which I have submitted to the Congress, is an indication of my concern with the threat that polluted air poses to the Nation's health. The Act will give us the tools needed to assist the States and localities in providing every American with a healthy and satisfying environment.

Air pollution is primarily a health problem, and thus the primary responsibility for its control rests with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. I shall continue to depend on Secretary Gardner for leadership in all aspects of air pollution control.

At the same time, each of the departments and agencies named above also has a role to play in dealing with the problem of air pollution, since their programs affect and are affected by the problem of pollution abatement. I am asking each of you to cooperate with Secretary Gardner to insure that the full resources of the Federal Government are effectively used in this effort.

There are two areas toward which the Federal Government must turn its immediate attention. The first of these is air pollution control research and development. We need a greatly accelerated program to develop methods to control sulfur emissions. This must be a targeted program directed at providing control technology for existing and new facilities at the earliest possible time. I am taking steps to provide additional funds to HEW for such an effort, and I expect Dr. Hornig to provide advice on the allocation and use of these funds. Maximum use should be made of the expertise of other Federal agencies, particularly the Department of the Interior's knowledge of the production, treatment, and utilization of fossil fuels. I also expect Dr. Hornig to advise me on the appropriate research role of the various Federal agencies.

The other area requiring attention is the consideration of economic incentives for pollution control and the determination of the economic effects of pollution control. In my message to the Congress on Protecting Our Natural Heritage, I asked Secretary Gardner and the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to explore appropriate measures to encourage industry and local governments to abate pollution. This effort should be expanded to cover the effects of air pollution control on industry and trade, both foreign and domestic.

To provide sufficient funds for a greatly accelerated research and development program, I am directing Secretary Gardner to inform the Congress that an additional $2.7 million in the 1967 supplemental request will be devoted to research on controlling pollution from sulfur oxides. This will make a total supplemental request of $4.2 million for the development of pollution control technology. To provide increased research funds in 1968, I am recommending an increase of $15 million in the 1968 authorization level proposed in the Air Quality Act of 1967. Larger sums will be needed and will be requested in future years, but the amounts cannot be determined until we have had a chance to measure our progress in 1967.

The Federal Government should not be asked to shoulder the entire burden of air pollution control research. I am asking Secretary Gardner, with your assistance, to develop a plan to encourage the coal, oil, and power industries--whose very life is vitally affected by the air pollution control problem-to contribute substantially towards those parts of the directed and targeted research which relate to the desulfurization or other means of utilizing fossil fuels in accordance with existing and potential control regulations. Together we have the resources and knowledge to insure the American people of a healthy environment.


Note: In the memorandum the President referred to Dr. Donald F. Hornig, Special Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology.

The Air Quality Act of 1967 was approved by the President on November 21, 1967 (see Item 503).

Citation: Lyndon B. Johnson: "Memorandum on Air Pollution," April 21, 1967. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=28212.
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