President Carter will send Congress on Monday major new legislative proposals and executive orders dealing with water and air pollution, chemicals in the enviroment, restrictions on energy development and protection of wildlife and wilderness.
Major emphasis of the message, which does not include any massive new spending programs, is better mangement. "The primary need today is not for new comprehensive statutes, but for sensitive administration and energetic enforcement of the ones we have," Carter says.
Nonetheless, the President, in his 37-page message laying out the package, calls it "the most far-reaching environmental program ever put forward by any administration."
In its uncompromising support for tough pollution controls, it marks a significant departure from the policy of his Republican predecessors. The message, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, is the first environmental message since 1973.
The main elements include:
Sticter enforcement of existing water and air pollution laws, supplemented by economic penalties.
A coordinated attack on chemicals in the environment and workplace, including a crackdown on pesticides.
A prohibition against federal support of development in wetlands or foodplains.
New restrictions on leasing federal lands for hardrock mining, coal and offshore oil development.
Designation of nine new wilderness area, eight new scenic rivers and three new scenic trails, including one along the Potomac River.
Carter's belief that energy development and a strong economcy can be achieved without environmental sacrifice is reflected in the message. The program includes almost every initiative favored by environmentalists. Industry, timber and farm interests are likely to oppose parts of the package.
The main legislative news in the message in Carter's strong support for maintaining strict water pollution law, despite a move in Congress to relax them. "Mush remains to be done to achieve the . . . goal of fishable and swimmable water," Carter says.
He instructs the Environmental Protection Agency to develop standards requiring industry to use the best technology available to clean up chemical discharges by 1983. The program would cost industries millions of dollars.
Farmers and developers have been complaining about Army Corps of Enginners regulations requiring permits to dredge or fill wetlands, but Carter firmly supports the program. The issue is expected to be holy debated in Congress this year.
To protect further the swamps and marshland that nurture wildlife and purify water, two executive orders will prohibit federal agencies from supporting any development in wetlands or floodplains. Over the next five years, the federal government would spent $50 million to buy wetlands, which have been disappearing at the rate of 300,000 acres a year.
Carter says he will submit even tougher water pollution legislation to "make enforcement more stringent" and make pollution unprofitable as well as illegal by imposing penalties on firms" that delay cleanup.
EPA will forced to regulate caner-causing substances in drinking water - something the agency had not done though it has been required by law since 1947.
"The presence of toxic chemicals in our environment is one of the grimmest discoveries of the industrial era," Carter says. "Rather than coping with these hazards after they have escaped into our environment, our primary objective must be to prevent them from entering the environment."
To avoid duplication in various federal agencies that control chemicals - the Food and Drug Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and EPA - Carter directs the Council on Environmental Quality, and executive office group, to coordinate regulation.
He also will submit legislation to have EPA regulate the 1,400 chemical ingredients of pesticides. The agency has fallen drastically behind in banning poisonous pesticides because it must treat 40,000 commercial brands individually.
Much of Carter's program for preventing environmental damage from energy development was contained in the energy message, including safe-guards on nuclear development, strict control of coal plant pollution and strip mining.
But the new message includes measures for environmental controls on offshore oil development the coal leasing. Millions of acres of public lands leased to caol companies in the West will be scrutinized for possible environmental damage. Carter will submit legislation allowing him to revoke leases on environment grounds.
Carter pledges to replace the Mining Law of 1872, still in effect, which allows mining of public lands for hard-rocks minerals without environmental controls for royalties to the federal treasury. The new law would set up a leasing system and establish environmental standards and land use plans.
"Too often, narrow economic interests have enjoyed undue influence over the use of our public domain," Carter says.
New energy technologies, such as conversion of coal to synthetic fuel, will come under closer environmental scrutiny. EPA and the Energy Research and Development Agency will jointly establish evironmental standards within a year.
While the message stops short of endoring a national beverage container deposit law - the so-called "bottle bill" which environmentalists strongly favor - it calls on EpA to make a recommendation within six months on disposal charges for all kinds of packing, not just bottles.
The message also makes no mention of land use legislation, which was soundly defeated in Congress last year, of mass transit or of a ban on phosphate detergents, a critical factor in pollution of the Great Lakes and other waters.
However, with Carter-style symoblism, the federal government will be required to set an example for environmental behavior. The White House will use recycled paper and the General Services Administration will set up a waste paper recycling program for federal agencies.
To promote architectural preservation, federal offices will be encouraged to locate in historic buildings, Carter will also propose comprehensive legislation establishing a "National Heritage Trust" to protect historic areas.
Despite moves in Congress to relax the Endangered Species Act, Carter proposes to accelerate the program by protecting from development areas that support endangreed wildlife. Federal projects, such as dams, that pose a serious threat to endangered species should be "reassessed," he said.
In other provisions, the message:
Contains and executive order restricting introduction or exotic plants and animals into the United States.
Proposes to increase funding to protect non-game wildlife, supports the ban on poisoning predators on public lands and prohibits whaling within 200 miles of U.S. coasts.
Asks Congress to stop permanently construction of the Cross-Florida Barge canal and restore the Oklawaha River.
Directs the Agriculture Department to study further federal environmental controls on 296 million acres of privately owned forest - a possibly controversial move.
Excludes off-road vehicles, such as motorcycles and snowmobiles, from public lands where they cause environmental damage - a move which has already aroused opposition.
Allows the Council on Environmental Quality to issue regulations streamlining environmental impact statements.
Proposes more than 24 million acres of new wilderness areas, 1,3030 miles of scenic rivers and three new scenic trail, including 847 miles along the Potomac River.