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Remarks Announcing Nominees to the Council on Environmental Quality

January 29, 1970

Ladies and gentlemen:

You will recall that the first bill that I signed on January 1, 1970, was the Jackson bill, which set up the Council on Environmental Quality.

Today I am presenting to you the three members of the Council which is set up under that bill: Mr. Russell Train, who is from the District of Columbia; Mr. Robert Cahn, who comes from the State of Washington, but lives in Washington, D.C., at the present time; and Dr. Gordon MacDonald, who is from the State of California, who is an expert, incidentally, on the Santa Barbara oil problem. That is where I first became acquainted with him.

This Council, to give you who are members of the White House press corps an understanding about it, is parallel in responsibility to the Council of Economic Advisers. For example, it will prepare for the President a report that will be made annually, the first one on July 1, on the environment.

The Council will also have responsibility for examining the facts on the environment, for setting up an early warning system with regard to how we can avoid some of the problems which may come back to haunt us, 5, 10, 15, even 20 years from now, and setting up programs for legislation as well as programs for the Federal agencies which may not require legislation, to deal with environmental problems.

I think this is not only an historic occasion, because it happens to be a new organization, but I think it is most appropriate to present the three members of the Council to the members of the press and to the Nation at this time because, as I indicated in my State of the Union Message, a major priority--it could turn out to be the major domestic priority for the 1970's--will be problems of the environment, in the very broadest sense.

This Council has a broad charter. The members of the Council have my complete confidence, and they will have my support. Of course, the members of the Cabinet and the Cabinet Committee on the Environment Dr. DuBridge, of course, is here, who has been working with that Committee as the White House representative--we will depend upon the Council for its advice, and we trust that they will give us some of the answers to some of these problems that we have been looking for.

The members of the Council will have their names sent to the Senate today. Senator Jackson has indicated that he believes that Senate confirmation will be much easier than it is when we send down a name for a Justice of the Supreme Court. But at any event, we expect confirmation very soon.

Their offices will be in the White House area, just as is the case of the Council of Economic Advisers, and you will be seeing a lot of them, I trust, during the next few years as members of this Council.

Gentlemen, you can answer any questions you would like.

Mr. Train, we are sorry to lose you at Interior but we are glad to get you here at the White House.

MR. RUSSSELL E. TRAIN. Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT. You don't mind moving from California?

DR. GORDON J. F. MACDONALD. Yes, I do, but it is a great opportunity.

THE PRESIDENT. He is from the smog-free part--Santa Barbara.

You are already here, anyway.

And incidentally, I asked the three gentlemen, "Now, which one of you shall I call a doctor?" Of course, Dr. MacDonald is from the University of California, at Santa Barbara. Russell Train said, no, don't call him a doctor, although I do think he has an honorary degree, and Mr. Cahn said, "No, I am just a journalist."

Note: The President spoke at 9:34 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

Richard Nixon, Remarks Announcing Nominees to the Council on Environmental Quality Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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