« PreviousContinue »
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR,
Washington, D.C., June 14, 1971. Hon. EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Chairman, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution, Committee on Public Works, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your letter of May 14, 1971, requesting certain information about active research programs in environmental science and technology.
The mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is to carry out space research and applications and the development of aeronautics and space technology. However, while NASA is not an environmental agency and does not carry out environmental research as such, some of the NASA mission programs and projects can have application to the monitoring, measuring, understanding, and perhaps even modification and control of the natural environment. Those activities we have so identified are:
a. The Earth Resources Survey Program, which is developing the efficient application of remote sensing technologies from aircraft and spacecraft to the needs and problems of the user community-the federal, state, and local line organizations charged with earth resources responsibilities such as agriculture, forestry, hydrology, oceanography, land use planning, and environmental management.
b. The Meteorology Program, which is developing the efficient application of aerospace technology to support the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its responsibility for understanding the atmosphere, predicting weather, and establishing a basis for weather modification and climate control.
c. The Earth Physics Program, involving the application of geodetic satellite and precision tracking astronomical techniques to measurements of the dynamics of the solid earth and oceans in support of NOAA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Department of Defense.
d. The Aeronomy Program, in which studies of the upper atmosphere using sounding rockets and satellites supports the NOAA activity.
e. The Aircraft Noise Program, in which development of the technology for low-noise aircraft propulsion systems and research on the propagation of noise and its effect on humans, is carried out in support of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
f. The Aircraft Propulsion Program, which contains elements contributing to improved measurement of air pollutants, reduced emissions, and greater understanding of mixing and transport processes of gases.
The foregoing program are funded at a total of about $175 million for Fiscal Year 1971. with the bulk of the funding in the Earth Resources Survey and Meteorology Programs.
In addition, a number of other NASA activities may contribute to environmental research. Examples of these are: (1) the radio interference and propagation program, which provides greater understanding of these phenomena affecting communications: (2) the solar astronomy program, which contributes to the understanding of earth-sun relationships through measurements of solar activity : (3) the planetary atmospheres program, through which a better understanding of the earth's atmosphere may be acquired by studying the atmospheres of other planets; and (4) the manned spacecraft life support program, where the technology of closed cycle life support systems may eventually contribute to water and waste management systems technologies for units on earth.
In all of these activities, NASA interferes directly with the user agencies through a number of formal and informal mechanisms. Examples of these are as follows:
a. The Earth Resources Survey Program Review Committee (ERSPRC) has been established to review the total program and to provide advice and recommendations including the establishment of user requirements. The member agencies are the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce (NOAA), Interior, Navy, and Army (Corps of Engineers). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon become a member of the Committee.
b. NASA is providing facilities at the Mississippi Test Facility to support a number of activities of other Agencies, many of which deal with environmental considerations. These include projects of NOAA (the National Data Buoy Project, the National Marine Fisheries Remote Sensing Project, and instrumentation work), the U.S. Geological Survey (hydraulic research), and EPA (pesticide analysis and water quality studies). NASA has an earth resources survey analysis activity at MTF, and its proximity to the foregoing user programs should be highly beneficial to all parties.
c. The Meteorological Satellite Program Review Board, with membership from NASA and NOAA, serves to ensure review of the NASA Meteorology Program by the prime user in a manner analogous to that of the ERSPRC.
d. The Geodetic Satellite Program Board serves the same purpose for the Geodesy and Earth Physics Programs, with membership from NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense.
e. Overall coordination with the DOD is effected through the Aeronautics and Astronautics Coordinating Board (AACB) and its various Panels in specific disciplines or systems areas. The Department of Transportation sits with the AACB as an observer.
f. Overall coordination with the Department of Transportation in aeronautical research and development is effected through the NASA/FAA Coordinating Committee, where the Federal Aviation Administration represents the DOT.
g. Specific coordination in the Aircraft Noise Program is afforded by the Noise Research Panel of the Interagency Aircraft Noise Abatement Program. A number of Federal Departments and Agencies are represented in this program.
In summary, though NASA does not carry out environmental research as such, Agency activities in a number of areas can and have contributed to the environmental activities of the responsible Federal Agencies. NASA cooperates closely with these agencies and finds that the injection of NASA technology frequently serves as a catalyst to open new avenues to exploitation. Both formal and informal working relationships have been established to afford the necessary coordination, and they appear to be working.
The specific programmatic details (funding levels, where funded, manpower, fields of specialization, etc.) can be developed if you so desire. However, they have not been submitted at this time because it appears they would not be gerinane to your survey. Sincerely yours,
GEORGE M. Low, Deputy Administrator.
Washington, D.C., June 23, 1971.
DEAR SENATOR MUSKIE: In your letter of May 14, 1971 you asked a series of questions regarding the Smithsonian Institution's research activities in the environmental sciences. The questions were in furtherance of hearings on S. 1113, a bill to establish a series of National Environmental Laboratories. Although the Smithsonian is an independent establishment for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge," rather than a Federal agency, as such, we have cooperated with various Federal agencies in projects concerned with the environment. A number of our activities may be relevant to your inquiry.
Question 1.-The Office of Environmental Sciences is the office in the Smithsonian Institution under which the major programs directly concerning the environment are coordinated. Directly under the Office of Environmental Sciences is the Chespeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies. This Center conducts field research relating to land use and its effect on the adjacent estuary. However, almost every bureau of the Institution conducts research which has at least an indirect bearing on the subject, and the information from this research is regularly brought to bear on the environmental programs:
The Radiation Biology Laboratory, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, conducts research on measurements of solar radiation and the effects on living plants and animals.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, located in the Canal Zone in Panama, is concerned with all aspects of the tropical evinronment and parts of its program serve as a comparison with the temperate conditions being investi. gated at the Chesapeake Bay Center.
The National Museum of Natural History houses and curates the national collections of plants, animals and the ecological data relating to them which form the core of all the aforementioned research.
The National Zoological Park is concerned with the role of animals as secondary influences on the environment, especially of forests.
While each of these bureaus are separate, they participate in certain Institution-wide programs which are administered under the auspices of the Office of Environmental Sciences.
The Office of Environmental Sciences employs 70 people including professional, technical, secretarial and other supporting personnel. The Radiation Biology Laboratory employs 42 people representing the same categories. There are 304 employees of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 51 at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 224 in the National Zoological Park, and 300 at the National Museum of Natural History.
Question 2.-With very few exceptions our scientific staff members hold Ph.D.'s in their respective fields. These include Zoology, Botany, Ecology, Geology, Anthropology, Physics, Astrophysics, Astrochemistry and the mineral sciences. Most have specializations under these headings viz. genetics microscopy, physiology, etc.
Question 3.-In a special analysis forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (Fall 1971), we indicated that the Institution would spend about $10,400,000 on environmental research and related activities. The basic legislation under which the Institution conducts its environmentally oriented activities is found in Chapters 3, 4 and 5 of Title 20 of the United States Code, which includes the original charter of the Institution "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” 20 U.S.C. Sec. 41.
Question 4.-The basic research programs of the Instituton which relate to the environment include the systematics of plants and animals, their adaptations to ecological niches and the direct and indirect influences of the environment on the evolution of organisms. With the exception of a few federal grants for studies of specific problems, all of our research can be defined as basic in accordance with the definition you have put forward. A minor portion of our effort is devoted to technological development. This includes the development of in-' strumentation for the measurement of environmental factors. This instrumentation is often useful in monitoring programs undertaken by industry and governmental agencies. We consider all of our research, however, directly applicable to the identification and solution of environmental problems.
Question 5.-Two of our research programs examine ecosystem structure and function: The Coral Reef study of the International Decade of Oceanographic Exploration; and the study of the Rhode River Watershed of the Chesapeake Bay.
Question 6.-All of our research is conducted at our own facilities as described in the response to question one. Under our Foreign Currency Program, however, we have been able to make grants to United States institutions for research abroad, often in collaboration with scientific specialists at foreign universities.
Question 7.-Being primarily a basic research organization, we have not addressed ourselves to large-scale environmental questions. Discussions were initiated sometime ago with the scientific staff of the Environmental Protection Agency to identify ways in which the activities of our individual research units (mentioned above) might be pertinent to such programs.
Question 8.–Our very broad range of research activities are based on the competence and interest of our staff members. As in the case of most other basic research estabiishments, our efforts continue to be hindered by inadequate support-funds, space and personnel.
I trust that this brief review is of assistance to you. If you wish, I will be very happy to enlarge on any aspect of our program. Sincerely yours,
S. DILLON RIPLEY,
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY,
June 18, 1971. Hon. EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Chairman, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution, Committee on Public
Works, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. DEAR SENATOR MUSKIE: This is in reply to your letter of May 14, 1971, request. ing information concerning TVA's environmental research and development program to be included in the Hearing Record on S. 1113.
TVA has engaged in environmental research and development activities for many years. Our efforts have included development of air and water pollution abatement methods as well as studies of the interrelationships of various environmental control technologies. We have conducted extensive investigations on the effects of water resource development projects on water quality and reservoir ecology and on the atmospheric dispersion of emissions from fossil-fired power plants and their environmental effects, as well as on the manner and methods of effectively reclaiming lands stripmined for coal. In cooperation with the U.S. Public Health Service, we designed, constructed, and operated a demonstration plant for composting and utilizing municipal refuse and sewage sludge. Although these activities have been carried out as a part of TVA's overall mission of resource development and the maintenance of a quality environment in the Tennessee Valley, much of this work has had results that are applicable in other parts of the Nation.
The Tennessee Valley region comprises a natural laboratory where processes of urban, industrial, and agricultural change affecting the environment are in early stages relative to the extent and character of changes already evident in some other parts of the country. We believe that TVA is in a unique position ot utilize this laboratory for research and demonstration which would contribute further to development of needed solutions of national environmental problems. TVA has under unified management the most extensively integrated river control system in the world : one of the Nation's largest power systems with many types and sizes of generating plants (i.e., hydroelectric, fossil fuel, gas turbine), together with nuclear plants under construction; a variety of techniques for controlling the environmental effects of heated water discharges at its thermal power plants; chemical fertilizer research, development, and demonstration facilities; and a national outdoor recreation demonstration project.
TVA's experience has demonstrated that an interdisciplinary approach provides the best solution to problems of resource development as well as those of environmental quality improvement. We believe TVA's history over the past three and one-half decades stands as a unique example of what can be accomplished by such an approach. We are glad to respond to the subcommittee's questions and hope the information given in the enclosure will be useful to you. Sincerely yours,
TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
A STATEMENT PREPARED FOR THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON AIR AND WATER
Question 1.- What is the organization structure of your environmental research program? How many separate laboratories or installations in your agency are engaged in this research? What is the size and composition of the staff of each!
Answer.-TVA has a congressional mandate to plan and carry out the integrated development of all the resources of a major watershed. Its staff is, therefore, accustomed to viewing and seeking solutions to environmental problems in an interdisciplinary fashion. The chart marked Appendir A shows TVA organizations involved directly or indirectly in environmental research and development.
The Tennessee River system, most completely developed in the world, is a ready-made, full-scale laboratory for conducting water-related research. TVA's precise control of the huge reservoir system makes it a natural research tool. TVA's operating fossil-fuel plants and nuclear power plants under construction-part of the largest power production system in the Nation-give TVA a responsibility for air and water pollution control as well as the facilities