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Train Stresses Long-Range Planning as the Environmental Movement Comes of Age

[EPA press release - April 22, 1975]

EPA Administrator Russell E. Train told graduates of Southeastern University in Washington, D.C. today that despite energy and economic difficulties, the environmental movement has matured since the first Earth Day and that now, with firm legal and institutional grounding, environmental commitments must be strengthened by long-range planning and management.

"Never before in history has a society moved so rapidly and so comprehensively to come to grips with such a complex set of problems," Train said in the commencement address. "Now this country must understand and accept the fact that the really critical issues before it are not the immediate and isolated ones, but the inter-related and long range ones - indeed, the day to day 'crises' that seem to capture all our attention and consume all our energies are, for the most part, simply manifestations of far deeper problems that we never seem to get around to acknowledging, much less addressing," Train said.

"We often forget," he said, "that time itself has become one of our most critical resources. It is not so much coal, or oil, or natural gas that we must worry about running out of. It is time - the time to accomplish the necessary adjustments in our way of life that will allow us to make the most of these resources - and time to make the necessary investments in the cleaner sources of energy that will enable us to live a decent life without denying it to those who follow us."

In the four years since the first Earth Day, Train said, the institutional and legal basis for environmental action has been firmly established. He cited the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act Amendments, the Resource Recovery Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Noise Control Act, the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuary Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Port and Waterways Safety Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The courts, State and local governments, and industry are now highly involved in environmental protection, he said. And "despite the fact that we have been sorely beset with energy and economic difficulties at precisely the time when the financial and other impacts of our environmental programs were beginning to be felt, the commitment of the American people to environmental progress has remained firm."

Throughout the world, Train said, departments and ministries of environment are now commonplace, and global conventions and agreements on environmental concerns are continuing and increasing.