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[jX)PAW OFCONS, LOS
LONG RANGE PLANNING
PREPARED FOR THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT
AND THE ATMOSPHERE
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Printed for the use of the Committee on Science and Technology
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
70-315 0 WASHINGTON : 1976
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
OLIN E. TEAGUE, Texas, Chairman
KEN HECHLER, West Virginia CHARLES A. MOSHER, Ohio
THIOMAS N. DOWNING, Virginia ALPHONZO BELL, California
DON FUQUA, Florida JOHN JARMAN, Oklahoma
JAMES W. SYMINGTON, Missouri JOHN W. WYDLER, New York
WALTER FLOWERS, Alabama LARRY WINN, JR., Kansas
ROBERT A. ROE, New Jersey LOUIS FREY, JR., Florida
MIKE McCORMACK, Washington BARRY M. GOLDWATER, JR., California
GEORGE E. BROWN, JR., California MARVIN L. ESCH, Michigan
DALE MILFORD, Texas JOHN B. CONLAN, Arizona
RAY THORNTON, Arkansas GARY A. MYERS, Pennsylvania
JAMES H. SCHEUER, New York DAVID F. EMERY, Maine
RICHARD L. OTTINGER, New York LARRY PRESSLER. South Dakota
HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
PHILIP H. HAYES, Indiana
TOM HARKIN, Iowa
JIM LLOYD, California
JEROME A. AMBRO, New York
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut
MICHAEL T. BLOTJIN, Iowa
TIM L. HALL, Illinois
ROBERT (BOB) KRUEGER, Texas
MARILYN LLOYD, Tennessee
JAMES J. BLANCHARD, Michigan
TIMOTHY E. WIRTH, Colorado
JOHN L. SWIGERT, Jr., Executive Director
HAROLD A. GOULD, Deputy Director
PHILIP B. YEAGER, Counsel
FRANK R. HAMMILL, Jr., Counsel
JAMES E. WILSON, Technical Consultant
J. THOMAS RATCHFORD, Science Consultant
JOHN D. HOLMFELD, Science Consultant
RALPH N. READ, Technical Consultant
ROBERT C. KETCHAM, Counsel
REGINA A. DAVIS, Chief Clerk
MICHAEL A. SUPERATA, Minority Counsel
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE ATMOSPHERE
GEORGE E. BROWN, JR., California, Chairman
MIKE McCORMACK, Washington MARVIN L. ESCH, Michigan
DALE MILFORD, Texas LARRY WINN, JR., Kansas
RICHARD L. OTTINGER, New York GARY A. MYERS, Pennsylvania
PHILIP H. HAYES, Indiana DAVID F. EMERY. Maine
JEROME A. AMBRO, New York
JAMES J. BLANCHARD, Michigan
JAMES H. SCHEUER, New York
OLIN T TeA B .. CHAIRMAN JOHN L. SWIGERT. JR.
OLUN B&. TB m a .. -EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
KEN HECHLE, W. VA. CHARLES A. MOSHERC OHIO
THOMAS N. DOWNING, VA. ALIONZO L A. HAROLD A. GCOULD
DON FUSUA. FA. JOHN JARMAN, OaLA. PHILIP B. YEAOER
JAMES W. SYMINGTON, MO. JOHN W. WYDLER, N.Y. PFMHILP MMIE JA R
WALTER F O ES. ALA. LARRY WINN J KANS. COM MY FRANK R. HAMMILL. JR.
wROERT A. ,E. N.. "LOWS WR" JR., FA. COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY JAMES E. WILSO
ROBECT A. ROE, N.J. LOUS IlREY. JR., FLA. J. THOMAS RATCHFORD
MIKE MC CORMACK, WASH. SARRY M. COLDWATER. JR..CALIF. J. THOMAS RATCMFEORD
OERGE K. BROWN. JR.. CAUF. MARVIN L.. ETCH. MICH. U.S. MO JOHN D. HO1LMFLD
GEORQLGE M OWN JR..WA. MANIN Ein. CL. U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AL" HR.MA D
DALE MILIFOD, TLE JOHN 8. CONLAN. ARIZ.. EA
RAE THORNTON. ARK.CGARY A. MYERS, PA. Z3I ROBERT C. KETCHAM
RAY TmHORNTON AM, I. AA A. YE PAr. SUITE Z321 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING REGINA A. DAVIS
JAM" H*. SCHBUER. N.Y. DAVID F*. EMERY. MAINE
,a'ARo Ls. T ,T N.Y. LER. SUM O.. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515 MINORITY COUnsE:
HENRY A. WAXMAN. CALIF. MICHAEL A. SUPERATA
PHIUP H. HAYES. IND.
TOM HARMO. IOWA
JIM LLOYD CALIF.
JEROME A. AMBO. N.Y.
HRSTOPHER J. DOODD. COa.
MICHAEL T. ULOUIN. IOWA
RO,, I"JEG. TU. LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
MARILYN LLOYD, TENN.
JAMES J. BLANCHAID. MICH.
TIMOTHY E. WIRTH, COLD
Honorable Olin E. Teague
Committee on Science and Technology
U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I am transmitting herewith a report prepared by the Congressional
Research Service pursuant to a joint request by myself and Representa-
tive Robert Leggett, Chairman, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife
Conservation and the Environment, Committee on Merchant Marine and
The Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment
Subcommittee joined with our Environment and Atmosphere Subcommittee
on July 31, 1975, concerning a study of the need for legislation to
improve long-term Federal policy planning. The study is being
jointly performed by the General Accounting Office and the Congres-
sional Research Service.
The long-range planning activities of selected key Federal
agencies and several private institutions are being examined and
evaluated. In addition, the multi-phased work effort has been designed
to compare and analyze selected models of structures, processes, and
mechanisms for long-range policy planning in Government as well as to
evaluate selected forecasting methodologies used to identify future
This study is an outgrowth of several House bills which
address the need for objective and impartial long-term strategic
policy analysis and development of alternative solutions. For
example, my Subcommittee held five days of hearings on H.R. 35,
the Environmental Research Centers bill, which is concerned with the
same broad objectives as embodied in this study. Although the res-
pective bills have emphasized specific environmental and science
policy information needs, the GAO-CRS study is broader in scope.
The two Subcommittees had a joint briefing on the progress of
this study on March 31. Congressman Robert Leggett, Chairman of
the Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment Subcom-
mittee, and I are planning to hold joint oversight hearings in May
April 23, 1976
to receive testimony of witnesses who will be invited to submit
their recommendations and suggestions.
The purpose of this document is to provide working background
papers for the May hearings. I have found that preparation of such
background papers facilitates the hearings by informing Members of
the broad framework of previous work in the area. Such a paper also
aids witnesses in preparing their testimony.
Reports of the GAO portion of the study will be printed by
the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee.
Mr. Chairman, I commend this report to you and other Members
of our Committee.
George E Brown, Jr.
Chairman, Subcommittee on the
Environment and the Atmosphere
o, The Library of Congress
S Congressional Research Service
Washington, D.C. 20540
LETTER OF SUBMITTAL
Honorable George Brown, Chairman
Subcommittee on Environment
and the Atmosphere
Committee on Science and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Mr. Chairman:
I am pleased to transmit to you this report entitled
"A Review of Long-Range Planning Institutions," which was
prepared by the Congressional Research Service pursuant to a
joint request from you and from Rep. Robert Leggett, Chairman,
Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the
Environment, Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, U.S.
House of Representatives.
The report is a compilation of four studies. The
first, prepared by Susan R. Abbassi of the Environmental Policy
and Natural Resources Division, is a survey of significant pro-
posals for the creation of institutions for environmental
research and planning. The second, prepared by Clay H. Wellborn
and John Ridley of the Government Division, presents a comparative
analysis of historical and proposed institutions for improving
the capacity of the Federal Government to conduct long-range,
comprehensive policy planning and strategic assessment. The
third study, which was prepared by Clay H. Wellborn, discusses
selected aspects of long-range planning in the private sector
and assesses the implications of corporate planning for long-range
planning in the Federal Government. The fourth study, prepared
by Dennis L. Little, Marvin Kornbluh, William L. Renfro and
Keith Alan Bea of the CRS Futures Research Group, reviews the
role of forecasting in long-range planning.
orman ec an
Acting Direc r
Letter of Transmittal . . . . . . . . . . . iii
Letter of Submittal . . . . . . . . . . . v
TABLE OF CONTENTS ...... ................. . vii
INTRODUCTION ........................................................ 2
The Planning Issue .............................................. 4
Selected Arguments in Favor of Long-Range Planning ............. 6
Selected Arguments Against Long-Range Planning.................. 7
Purpose of this Document ........................................ 8
SURVEY OF INSTITUTIONAL APPROACHES TO ENVIRONMENTAL
RESEARCH AND PLANNING ............................................... 10
Introduction............... ..................................... 11
National Environmental Policy Institute ........................ 13
National Environmental Laboratories ............................ 26
Regional or State Environmental Centers ........................ 37
National Environmental Data System ............................. 46
Council on Environmental Quality and the Office
of Environmental Quality .................................... 53
General Summary ................................ ................. 62
Bibliography ................................... ......... ........ 64
Summary Table: Major Institutional Proposals for
Environmental Planning or Research ........................... 67
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SELECTED ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
FOR LONG-RANGE PLANNING AND STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT IN
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ............................................. 70
Background ..................................................... 71
Framework for the Analysis ..................................... 73
National Resources Planning Board .............................. 76
Tugwell Proposal for a New Constitution ........................ 82
Institute for Congress ......................................... 90
Office for Strategic Policy Assessment ........................ 95
Balanced National Growth and Development Act of
1974 (S. 3050, 93d Congr.) .................................... 98
Balanced Growth and Economic Planning Act of
1975 (S. 1975, 94th Congr.) ..................................108
Balanced Economic Growth Act (H.R. 1037, 94th Congr.)...........116
Summary of Some Fundamental Issues .............................121
LONG-RANGE PLANNING IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR .......................... 125
Introduction ................................................... 126
Planning and Action ....................... ..... ......... 129
Types of Corporate Planning ................................... 132
Organization for Planning ......................................134
Corporate Responses to Subcommittee Questions .................. 145
TABLE OF CONTENTS, Continued
Implications of Corporate Planning Approaches for
Planning in the Federal Government ............................145
Appendices ................................. ...........following 162
I. Forms of Corporate Planning: Alternative
Approaches to Classification.......................... 163
II. Written Statements Submitted to the Subcommittee
by Corporate Respondants ............................... 171
III. Selected Examples of Corporate Planning Manuals.......... 310
IV. Congressional Seminar on Corporate Planning: Agenda,
Participants, and Summary of Proceedings ............... 358
FORECASTING AND FUTURES RESEARCH .................................... 381
Introduction ................................................... 382
History of Forecasting .........................................384
Selected Forecasting Methodologies ............................. 391
Introduction ................................................ 391
The Delphi .................................................. 392
Cross Impact Analysis ....................................... 404
Trend Extrapolation .......................................... 434
Trend Impact Analysis ...................................... 444
Computer Simulation Modeling ................................ 453
Methodological Annex ........................................ 466
Appendix: Some Forecasts That Have Not Come True--Fortunately.. 474
S*o 1THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Congressional Research Service
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20540
A REVIEW OF LONG-RANGE
A study prepared in response to a request by the Chairman,
Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and
the Environment, House Committee on Merchant Marine and
Fisheries, and the Chairman, Subcommittee on Environment
and the Atmosphere, House Committee on Science and Technology
Susan R. Abbasi
Keith Alan Bea
Dennis L. Little
William L. Renfro
Clay H. Wellborn
March 16, 1976
This document, which is a compilation of four studies prepared by
the Congressional Research Service at the joint request of the Chairman
of the Subcommittee on Environment and the Atmosphere of the House Com-
mittee on Science and Technology, and the Chairman of the Subcommittee
on Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment of the House
Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, is one in a series of Con-
gressional documents dealing with the problem of long-range planning and
strategic policy assessment in the Federal Government.
There are increasingly frequent calls both in and out of Congress
for the Federal Government to expand its policy planning horizons beyond
short-term immediate problems and to consider long-term issues, issues
that demand decisions which, although taken today, will shape the future
social, economic, and physical environment of our nation. Many observers
assert that although we generally recognize that today's decisions shape
our future, we do not have adequate governmental capacity to systematically
assess the future implications of present trends or to design and evaluate
alternate courses of action to avoid future problems or to realize future
Congressional interest in strengthening Governmental capacities for
dealing with the future can be seen in the Legislative Reorganization Act
of 1970, which augmented the policy analysis and program evaluation mandates
of the Congressional Research Service and the General Accounting Office, and
which stressed the need for a futures orientation in assessing legislation.
The continuing Congressional interest can be seen as well in the creation
of the Office of Technology Assessment and in the new Congressional
budget process. Proposals for further improvements continue to be made.
Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to establish
an economic planning capability in the Federal Government. There are
also legislative proposals before the Congress to establish an institution
for environmental planning and to establish an Office of Regulatory Policy
Oversight. Also introduced in legislative form have been proposals to
establish a process for formulating balanced national growth and develop-
ment policy and to create a Department of Social, Economic, and Natural
Resources Planning; and the Senate Committee on Government Operations
has recently conducted a symposium to discuss the need for improved pro-
cesses to set national goals and objectives and to devise policies and
programs to pursue those goals and objectives. Although each of the
legislative proposals must be judged on its own merits, the increasing
Congressional attention to the problem of national planning, strategic
policy assessment, and the establishment of national goals and objectives
is a clear indication that national long-range planning is a public
issue surfacing for debate.
The Planning Issue
Current proposals to establish improved policy planning processes
in the Federal Government have been formulated in response to a variety
of perceived societal problems. The proposals do not call for the creation
of static, inflexible national plans that would be blueprints for con-
trolling all important aspects of national life and activity. Those that
call for some form of plan, whether expressed as a set of targets or
through the use of maps to guide physical development, provide for fre-
quent and regular revision and updating. The emphasis of the proposals
is to improve the planning process through which national decisions with
long-range implications are made, not to prepare cast-in-concrete master
The classic model of rational, comprehensive planning includes the
1. Identification of goals and objectives;
2. Design of alternative policies and courses of
action to achieve the objectives;
3. Assessment of the costs and benefits of each
alternative in terms of the primary objectives and
in terms of secondary effects-both short and long
4. Selection of the most desirable policy or course
5. Implementation of the selected policy or
course of action; and
6. Monitoring the results, and evaluating progress
toward the stated objectives, with alertness for un-
expected secondary impacts.
This classic model leaves out some important elements, however.
It does not include the functions of (1) foresight, which consists of
continually scanning the national and international situation to recog-
nize signs of potential problems or opportunities, and (2) using the
full range of forecasting techniques to project possible future adverse
consequences of current policies and trends.
The planning issue is far from being non-controversial. Recent
legislative proposals have generated strong reactions in their favor
and in opposition. Although this is not the appropriate place for a full
discussion of the pros and cons of long-range national planning, some of
the central elements of the arguments on both sides of the planning issue
should be mentioned.
Selected Arguments in Favor of Long-Range Governmental Planning
Although there are many day-to-day problems for which policies and
governmental actions must be devised and for which short-term decisions
must be made, many of the crucial issues that require decisions today
have implications for the future. Careful long-range planning and as-
sessment of these future impacts are required if we are to avoid serious,
if not catastrophic difficulties in the future.
Establishing national goals and objectives is essential if we as
a nation are to grow and develop in ways that will ensure a satisfying
quality of life for ourselves and our posterity. At present we have no
way to develop and analyze alternative national goals and objectives.
Our policy making processes therefore lead to conflicting and overlapping
governmental actions. Long-range planning is required to help us clarify
national goals and objectives, to design sets of goals and objectives that
are attainable, and to provide the basis for more rational governmental
The free market is a well-recognized mechanism for the rational
allocation of scarce resources among competing uses, but in spite of its
virtues it has its imperfections. Among these imperfections are its
inability to handle the problems of indivisibilities and externalities.
Because of its imperfections, some form of intervention in the operation
is often required for the satisfaction of social needs. Such intervention,
be it in the form of governmental programs or governmental regulatory
activity (already part of the American governmental system), must be care-
fully planned if the desired ends are to be met.
The Federal Government operates through many different agencies,
each with its own mission. Often the activities of these agencies can
operate in mutual support to achieve social purposes; but they can often
conflict to impede the achievement of those purposes. Planning is re-
quired to achieve interagency coordination to ensure that mutual support
is the rule rather than conflict.
Selected ArLuments Against Long-Ran e Governmental Planning
Opponents of national planning assert that governmental planning and
tampering with the operation of the free market has led to major inefficiencies
in the economies of this and other nations. Large scale, long-term national
planninginsofar as plans are implemented, must so distort the market sys-
tem as to make it worthless as a guide to relative value and distribution
of goods and services.
Opponents also argue that national planning has not worked. The experi-
ence of some socialist countries, where planning was substituted for the free
market, is leading them to gradually reintroduce the use of competition and
the profit motive--basic elements of the market system--to improve the ef-
ficiency of their economic systems and to stimulate the production of a
wider variety of goods and services. In the United States during the New
Deal era, national planning and the associated governmental intervention
in the socio-economic system of the nation by way of now-dismantled New
Deal bureaucracies allegedly demonstrated the unsatisfactory nature of national
planning. It simply did not work, its detractors assert.
Governmental agencies have their individual mandates, their individual
missions. Sometimes these are defined in terms of function, sometimes in
terms of service to specified sectors of American society. If the output
of national planning is to be implementable, the entire structure of the
bureaucracy would probably require radical redesign, as would the committee
structure of Congress. Such redesign would probably be so disruptive that
any expected benefits of national planning would not be realized.
The foregoing arguments against national planning aside, the ideal of
comprehensive, rational policy planning sets a standard that is not achiev-
able. Though policy decisions must always be made with a view toward their
future impacts, we do not sufficiently understand the dynamics of our complex
socio-economic system to identify the ways it responds to changing public
policies. Our forecasting techniques, though promising and often helpful,
are not entirely adequate as bases for long-term, large-scale public
commitments, planning opponents would argue. We can at best deal with problems
as they arise or as we foresee the probability of their arising. These human
limitations, together with the pluralistic nature of American society, with
its constitutional limitations on centralized governmental powers, require
that our public policy decisions be made in an incremental, largely decentralized,
and problem-preventing and problem-solving system.
Purpose of This Document
The studies compiled in this document are not aimed at resolving the
conflicts between the pro-planning arguments and the anti-planning arguments.
Strong cases can be made on both sides of the issue. These studies do not
address the issue of whether, or to what degree, planning at the national
level is desirable. The function of the document is not to advocate in favor
or or against national planning. Rather it describes a number of the poten-
tial alternative approaches that might be worthy of Congressional considera-
tion. It also reviews a number of long-range forecasting tools that may be
of use in coming to grips with major long-rnge national policy problems and
70-315 0 76 2
SURVEY OF INSTITUTIONAL APPROACHES TO
Since the surge of interest in environmental problems which occurred
in the late 1960's, the issue of organizing to produce or facilitate environ-
mental planning and research has beenthe focus of much concern, especial-
ly with respect to the need for long-range perspective in these areas.
During 1968 and 1969, the years in which the National Environmental Policy
Act was debated and passed, several major studies were done onthe question
of institutional needs in environmental planning or research. The inade-
quacy of the current organizational framework was a recurrent theme in
Among these was the study of the Environmental Study Group of the
Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, with
its resulting report, "Institutions for Effective Management of the Environ-
ment, issued in January 1970. :/ It recommended a five-pronged insti-
tutional approach, including a policy-oriented Institute for Environmental
Studies, a Board of Environmental Affairs much like the present Council
on Environmental Quality, a Joint Committee on the Environment in the
Congress, a Federal monitoring and data program, and National Laboratory
for the Environmental Sciences. The Ecological Society of America issued
a report entitled "National Institute of Ecology: An Inquiry" which also
recommended similar institutional approaches. **/
*/ National Academy of Sciences, Environmental Study Group of the Environ-
mental Studies Board. Institutions for Effective Management of the Environ-
ment. National Academy of Sciences /National Academy of Engineering.
Washington, D.C. January, 1970.
*/ Ecological Society of America and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Compa-
ny. "National Institute of Ecology: An Inquiry. A study supported by a
National Science Foundation Grant. March 25, 1970.
Most of these institutional approaches were embodied in proposals that
were forwarded in the early 1970's. These proposals include such con-
cepts as a policy oriented environmental studies institute; national
environmental laboratories; university-associated State and regional environ-
mental centers; foundation-Government institutes; and a national data bank
system. This interest in better organizational approaches was evidenced
in 1970 in the establishment of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in
the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the creation of the Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA) by reorganization plan, and the consolidation
of scientific and data-gathering functions, also by reorganization plan in
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Both the several proposals and the establishment of these environ-
mental entities sprang up at roughly the same time. Some overlapping of
goals occurred, but the proposals described in this report are representa-
tive of the basic concepts advanced along these lines, and were perceived
by their proponents as separate efforts which could productively co-exist.
In all cases, the necessity for long-range planning which would avoid
the piecemeal responses of past environmental policies and laws was in-
tegral to the purpose of the institutional approaches under discussion. The
environmental awareness of the late 1960's brought forth a new realization
of the pervasiveness of environmental problems -- and with it, the reali-
zation that effective policies could only be born and carried out in insti-
tutions with the capability to look beyond the moment. Such institutions
were seen to need both excellent data gathering capacity and a comprehen-
sive perspective, in order to bring these to bear on policies which would
have lasting effectiveness in solving existing environmental difficulties and
avoiding future ones.
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY INSTITUTE
The concept of an institute for environmental studies and policy
analysis which would be independent of direct Government control, yet linked
to the Federal establishment by both personnel and financial involvement,
originated early in both the academic and Administration discussions of
how to create the necessary organizational structure for meeting the newly
perceived environmental crisis. It was a key component of the National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) study on "Institutions for Effective Management
of the Environment, and very nearly was established by administrative
action. Failing this, it was embodied in legislation introduced in the
92nd, 93rd, and 94th Congresses, and has been the subject of hearings.
As proposed in this legislation, the non-profit Institute would be
incorporated bythe Director of the National Science Foundation, the Chair-
man of the Council on Environmental Quality, the Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Inter-American Institute of Ecology.
It would have an eleven-member Board of Directors, including the
incorporators, two members appointed by the President with advice and
consent of the Senate, with expertise in environmental problems, and five
members appointed by the Comptroller General with advice and consent
of the Senate, to represent respectively interests of environmental expertise,
consumer affairs, labor, industry, and technology assessment or systems
analysis. A President of the Institute would be selected by the Board,
with such other officers as would be required. Between 200 and 300 professionals
would be expected to staff the Institute, with backgrounds in various physical
and social science disciplines.
Funding of the Institute would be approved in the legislation at the rate
of $10 million each year for five years, with matching funds available for
amounts received from non-Federalsources upto $5 million for each year.
A key characteristic of the Institute was to be its independence of both
Government and private enterprise in its policies and decision-making.
The "Findings" section of the proposed legislation states:
(1) There is a need for objective and impartial strategic policy
analysis, including a broad program of research and for the identi-
fication and development of alternative solutions to existing and emerging
environmental problems, to be conducted by an appropriate institute
which is independent of government and private enterprise;
(2) suchan institute should be the center for systematic environ-
mental problem solving and policy-oriented research conducted on a
broad, interdisciplinary basis;
(3) such an institute should be available to local, State, and Fed-
eral governmental agencies and the Congress to assist in the assess-
ment, development, and presentation of policy alternatives, but should
have the freedom and independence to extend its studies to matters
other than those specified by its governmental sponsors; and
(4) it is a responsibility of the Federal Government, in conjunc-
tion with appropriate charitable foundations, to establish, assist, en-
courage, and assist in the funding of such an independent institute. "*/
The Institute would have these duties:
-- development and analysis of policy alternatives for dealing with the
environmental problems, using a systematic interdisciplinary approach
-- identification and development of methods and procedures through
which presently unquantifiable environmental values may be given
consideration in policy evaluation;
-- making advice and information it developed available to Congress,
and to other government agencies;
*/ H.R. 14468 of the 93rd Congress, Sec. 302 (b).
-- undertaking contract studies for Federal agencies which involve
problems of environmental policy analysis of regional or national
-- identifying areas where additional environmental research and data
collection are needed; and reviewing on a continuing basis the
national capability and programs in technology assessment;
-- supporting laboratory research and the biome modeling and synthesis
research programs of the Institute of Ecology.
The basic rationale for an independent entity such as this was based
on the statement in the "Findings" section of the bill that "as presently
constituted, local, State and Federal governments do not have an adequate
capacity to analyze, integrate, and evaluate the growing body of environ-
mental research now underway, nor do they have the capacity for development
of new or restructured governmental policies and programs for environ-
mental concerns; further it states: "there are no existing independent,
nongovernmental institutions capable of adequately performing these func-
tions in an objective and comprehensive manner on a full-time basis. "
Upon introducing the bill (H. R. 14468) in the 93rd Congress, Congressman
John Dingell explained that its purpose was to provide a forum for developing
national long-term stategies; to stand back from day-to-day issues and
project issues coming in the more distant future. For example, he said,
the Environmental Institute would have been able to predict much about the
dimensions of the energy crisis before it happened.
The key issue in designing such an Institute, Mr. Dingell noted, is to
make it independent enough to be credible while being close enough to the
decision-making process to be relevant. His bill, H.R. 14468, would have
created the federally chartered corporation described above. All its studies
would be made public, and it would prepare an annual report.
History and Progress of the Institute Concept
The background of the policy institute concept goes back several years,
to 1968-69, when the National Academy of Sciences' Environmental Study
Group of the Environmental Studies Board undertook a study which culmi-
nated in the January 1970 report, "Institutions for Effective Management
of the Environment. The report identified inadequacies in the existing
institutional structure, and several institutional responses were recom-
mended by the NAS, including the Institute for Environmental Studies.
This was termed "perhaps most important" among the institutional needs.
The recommended institute closely resembled the concept which was
later embodied in the Dingell proposal. It was strongly urged in the report
that the Institute be organized as a non-profit corporation independent of
direct Government control, funded largely from the private sector, with
grants or contracts from the Government. Long-range planning, early warning
on potential environmental threats, and other studies were among the func-
tions of the proposed institute, with strong emphasis on the interdisciplinary
nature of the work that was needed. Independence from Government was
deemed to be important in order to assure wide latitude to the Institute
in determining for itself which problems it would address.
Meanwhile, in early 1970 the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)
was established, and, soon afterward, the Environmental Protection Agen-
cy (EPA) was established by Presidential reorganization plan. Gordon
MacDonald, who had been chairman of the NAS Environmental Studies Board,
went to the CEQ as one of the three Council members. He favored the
idea of an institute and established some interest in it at CEQ. Around
this time, McGeorge Bundy of the Ford Foundation began talking to the
CEQ Chairman Russell Train about the possibility of the Ford Foundation
funding a private-sector institute geared to the concept of the Environmental
Studies Institute. Bundy was seeking assurance of Government support and
patronage of such an institute. CEQ Chairman Train favored the idea,
and the White House staff initially was favorably inclined toward establishment
of the Institute by administrative action.
In his February 8, 1971, Environmental Message, President Nixon
stated support for such an institute and indicated definite Administration
backing for the concept. Under Point V, "Further Institutional Improve-
ment", he stated in that Message:
The solution to environmental and ecological problems are often
complex and costly. If we are to develop sound policies and programs
in the future and receive early warnings on problems, we need to re-
fine our analytical techniques and use the best intellectual talent that
After thorough discussions with a number of private foundations,
the Federal Government, through the National Science Foundation and
the Council on Environmental Quality, will support the establishment
of an Environmental Institute. I hope that this non-profit Institute will
be supported not only by the Federal Government but also by private
foundations. The Institute would conduct policy studies and analyses
drawing upon the capabilities of our universities and experts in other
sectors. It would provide new and alternative stategies for dealing
with the whole spectrum of environmental problems. */
Therefore, it appeared at that time, that the Institute would come
into being through administrative action. However, a stumbling block
emerged in the discussion of selection of a director for the Institute.
*/ Nixon, Richard M. "The President's 1971 Environmental Program.
Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Volume 7, no. 7, Feb. 15,
1971. Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Ser-
vice, General Services Administration, Washington, D. C. pp. 202-203.
The choice that emerged in talks among Bundy, Train and others was
Allen Enthoven, a Democrat and former Assistant Secretary of Defense
in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. Objections from the White
House to Enthoven cooled the enthusiasm of the Ford Foundation and other
foundations for the concept, and the possibility of bringing the Institute
into being without legislation faded.
In March, 1971, Senator Jackson introduced S. 1216, which was
designed to establish the Environmental Institute. No action was taken
on this measure in the 92nd Congress, however. An attempt to revive the
concept through the Administration was considered briefly in 1972 and a re-
assessment of it was done for the Ford Foundation in summer 1973. How-
ever, Guy Stever, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), was
opposed -- Stever argued the NFS's program for Research Applied to
National Needs (RANN) could do the same thing. During the upset over
Watergate, the attempt to resurrect the concept administratively died
In the 93rd Congress, Mr. Dingell introduced the measure, and held
hearings on it in 1974. */ No further action was taken in that Congress,
and the measure was re-introduced in the 94th Congress as H.R. 75.
Rationale for The Institute
Arguments favoring the Institute concept particularly stressed the
need for comprehensive long-range planning focused on environmental prob-
lems. The complex and interrelated nature of most environmental problem
areas make long-range, far-sighted planning a necessity if environmental
*/ U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conserva-
tion and the Environment. "Growth and Its Implications for the Future. "
Part 4. Hearings, June 11, 12, 13, July 15, 16; November 25, 1974. Govt.
Print. Off. Washington, D. C.
crises are to be avoided, according to those forwarding arguments in favor
of the Institute.
The NAS study on managing the environment emphasized the critical
need for long-range planning in an institute which would have a principal
focus on development of strategies to achieve future situations in which
the environment would be less disrupted than would be anticipated if present
trends were to continue. The report stressed the interdisciplinary nature of
such planning, and argued that the basis for devising the necessary strate-
gies must be identification of decision-points in advance -- the "times
and places at which decisions made will profoundly affect the future, and
determination of the key levers, "the instruments by which decision-makers
can bring about significant changes. "*/ Analysis and recommendations
for changes in existing institutional structures was seen as an important
part of this process.
Part of this long-range planning process would be the provision of
"early warnings" of potential environmental threats.
In its rationale for a non-governmental Environmental Studies Institute,
the NAS report said:
We conclude that the multi-disciplinary talent that must be
brought to bear on environmental problems, the freedom from the
pressure of day-to-day operations required for long-range planning,
the involvement of the various government agencies, and the different
levels of government as well as the Congress and the public, all argue
convincingly for the establishment of an analytical institute outside
the structure of government. **/
*/ NAS Study, op. cit. p. 18
**/ Ibid., p. 22.
The Ecological Society of America, in its report, "National Institute
of Ecology: AnInquiry, proposed a similar scientifically and professional-
ly staffed Institute. In reaching conclusions about the need for such an
institute, the researchers interviewed some 326 potential users, including
existing research organizations, and potential sources of support. Many
of these interviewees made the point that no organization then existed in
the U.S. with the needed capability to carry out long-range, multidiscipli-
nary analyses of environmental trends and of developing alternate stategies.
The need for long-range planning and the inadequacy of existing insti-
tutions to do it also came up frequently in the 1974 hearings on the Institute
Representative John Dingell, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Fisher-
ies and Wildlife Conservation and the Environment of the House Committee
on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, made a point of this in opening the hearings
It seems quite clear that our ability to do long-range planning
in this country is severely limited. Historically, we appear to have
deep suspicions about planners in general, and while this may be under-
standable, it does create problems as the nature of the long-range
predicament becomes increasingly clear....
One method of dealing with this issue might be to create a special
type of institution for the purpose, and one such proposal has been
made in legislation introduced by the present occupant of the Chair. */
Gordon MacDonald, one of the original three Council on Environmental
Quality members, and director of Environmental Study Group which pre-
pared the NAS report, backed the Institute legislation in these words in
the 1974 hearings:
This legislation embodies a proposal made by the Administra-
tion in its second message on the environment in 1971; that is, the
creation of a body that would have continuing responsibility to look
at, examine and recommend policies with respect to the environment.
*/ Hearings, op. cit., p. 1.
Such an institution was needed at that time. It is needed even
... I strongly support the intent which is to provide Congress
with longer term policy analyses that will help frame legislation and
help to develop in such a way that we are not only looking at the im-
mediate problems but also those longer term questions that are bound
to come out.
... This bill would provide another institutional mechanism,a
much needed institutional mechanism to both the Congress and the
executive in examining some of these longer term questions that I
am afraid often are neglected in the face of the immediate needs of
In addition to the need for long-range planning capability in environ-
mental concerns, these reports and the hearings testimony indicated near
unanimity onthe inadequacy of present institutions to fulfill the need. Some
Administration testimony in the 1974 hearings favored the establishment
of this capability in existing structures, rather than in the proposed Insti-
tute, but did not dispute the fact that present capability was clearly inade-
The inability of existing structures to respond to environmental research
and planning needs was a theme in the reports of the NAS and Ecological
Institute, and was repeated four years later in the hearings, despite the
creation of several environmental organizations in the Government in the
In 1970, the NAS study reached this conclusion:
Of the three functions defined in the previous section -- the
development of long-range strategies, the early warning, the quick
reaction analytical functions -- it is unlikely that the first two will
receive within the existing governmental structure the kind of con-
tinuing attention that is necessary. These requirements will best
be met if study and evaluation are carried out by an independent group
with no commitment to the operating policies of a particular govern-
ment agency, and whose findings should also be available to the Con-
gress and the public. **/
*/ Hearings, Ibid., p. 53.
**/ NAS Report, op. cit., p. 22.
The report argued that effective comprehensive treatment of environ-
mental questions could not be carried out in the existing structure:
For effective management of the environment, decision-makers
in government agencies require the very best in analysis, so that
likely environmental consequences of various options are clearly indi-
cated. At present this analytical function is usually carried out within
a government agency by busy officials with many other duties and
responsibilities. Faced with the myriad day-to-day pressures of
government, analysts often are unable to provide fresh points of view
or provide the independent analysis essential to really effective manage-
ment. Further, the various professional talents needed for balanced
decisions -- medical, physical, economic, etc. -- may simply not be
available within any single government agency. Use of consultants
is frequently of limited value and inconvenient, and too often leads
to delay. Similar problems face members of Congress concerned with
legislation affecting the environment. *
In 1974, Charles A. Zraket, Senior Vice President of Mitre Corporation,
which does non-profit contract research work for Government agencies,
made this statement with respect to the need for the Institute:
Based on our work over the past five years for EPA, CEQ,
Department of Interior, Department of Transportation, NSF, and
other Government agencies, it is clear that such an Institute can
play a unique, key, and necessary role in helping to shape rational
and cost-effective environmental policies for the Nation.
'I do not see the Institute replacing any activity now going on, but
something which is needed in addition to present activities to provide
a substantive, integrating, intellectual, across-the-board policy study
As you know, current U. S. governmental and industry objectives
and programs in environmental research and control are many, costly
and fragmented. /
Mr. Zraket said about the Institute proposed in the legislation being
considered: "Its unique position and orientation would allow it to work
cooperatively with and obtain information from a wide spectrum of sources
-- industry, government, universities, foundations, private and public in-
:/ Hearings, op. cit., p. 644.
../ Ibid., p. 644.
Another important aspect of the Institute concept which was stressed
in the reports and hearings testimony was the need for independence from
direct Government control. As the NAS stated in its report, "Without
[this] the institution would not be able to attract and retain the professional
talent thatis required to deal with difficult environmental issues ... To be
independent the institution must have wide latitude in selecting the problems
on which it is to work. :/
Commenting on the strategy for assuring impact for such an institute,
Mr. Zraket of Mitre Corporation indicated his feeling that independence
would be a critical factor:
There are tens of thousands of people doing research in this area.
It is a very valid question to ask what are 200 or 300 more going
to add to this. I feel that unless such an institute is independent,
and can serve as an integrating force for all the work going on with
these thousands of people who are doing it, .... then it would be a
waste of time to have such an institute. That is why I put such
a great emphasis on the fact that this kind of Institute has to have the
kind of independent charter and role that would allow it to get all of
the information that these hundreds of organizations around the country
are now generating in a very fragmented way, and help pull it together
into an integrated policy framework. :/
The independence of the Institute as a critical element in permitting
free choice of the subject matter to be studied was viewed by most com-
mentators as a crucial ingredient in effective long-range planning. The
long-range planning to identify environmental problems and their potential
solutions, which was viewed as the most important function of the proposed
institute, could be carried out only by an independent entity, it was argued.
This was because the missions of most on-going organizations in the
Government would prevent truly objective assessment of potential environ-
mental problem areas.
:/ NAS report, op. cit. p. 23.
I*/ Hearings, 1974, op. cit., p. 655.
At the same time, the necessity for effective access to Government
decision-making processes was also viewed as integral to the success of
its purpose. Thus the involvement of Federal officials on the Institute
Board, and as its incorporators, was intended to assure a vital link to the
Federal structure, but not a dominant influence. The over-all necessity
for the Institute's independence was viewed by most commentators as a
primary objective to be internalized by the legislation establishing it, and
by all the persons involved in the Institute's functions.
An exception to this point of view was expressed by Administration
officials, who voiced a preference in the 1974 hearings for the development
of capabilityto do long-range planning in the existing Federal organization,
in the CEQ and/or EPA. However, their arguments did not include asser-
tions that such a capability currently existed, and all agreed that it was
important to effective management of environmental problems.
Summary: The Institute Concept
Early in the 1970's the need for an independent environmental view-
point which would benefit Government decision-making but not be dominated
by it was expressed in reports on environmental management. The need was
for the formulation of research and planning projects which could identify
environmental problem areas, carry out or contract for the necessary research
or data collection, and then go on to provide an effective degree of policy
analysis, including identification of various options for dealing with the
problems which were identified. An independent Institute of Environmental
Studies was proposed, linked to the Federal Government through involvement
of key department or agency persons, and with partial Federal funding,
but free from direct Government control.
This concept received favorable attention in the early 1970's as a pos-
sible creation of the executive branch. When this failed to materialize,
the concept was embodied in legislation which has been introduced in the
past three Congresses.
The inadequacies in environmental planning and research which the
Institute was designed to remedy were seen to include the lack of adequately
coordinated research and the monitoring priorities with consequent voids of
knowledge in some areas, especially the interdisciplinary areas; the very
little direct connection between the research and planning and the policy
and desision-making processes; the few alternative options being presented
other than the course of action being proposed; the difficulties in involving
laboratory scientists in existing mechanisms for policy, and a related lack
of information transfer to decision makers. Not only the collection of
information and performance of research, but also the analysis of implications
of the research and generation of valid options which make meaningful choices
available to decision-makers would be the purpose of such an institute.
The need for suchan entity was described before 1970, and was rei-
terated in 1974 during hearings on the legislative proposal. Since it
would appear that conditions have not changed appreciably today in the
areas of concern under discussion in these hearings, it is quite likely that
many of these same arguments would be made today.
70-315 0-76 -3
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LABORATORIES
Early in 1970 several reports were issued which backed the concept
of a national laboratory structure -- either a single large laboratory or a
collection of four or more laboratories -- with a comprehensive environ-
mental focus. The work of scientists in several fields of physical and na-
tural science would be applied to the comprehensive environmental prob-
lems. The inclusion of social scientists was also proposed in some
of these reports.
Although the National Academy of Sciences' report on "Institutions for
Effective Management of the Environment" and the report of the Ecological
Society of America both favored this concept and urged establishment of
such an entity, the real impetus for the concept came from the existing
national laboratories, affiliated with the Atomic Energy Commission, where
there was an interest in doing comprehensive environmental work. A task
force on the national laboratory concept at Oak Ridge National Laboratory
made a report in January, 1970, urging establishment of a national en-
vironmental laboratory. This was soon followed by introduction of legis-
lation to create such an institution.
As proposed in this legislation, the laboratory would gets its mandate
from the finding in S. 3410 of the 91st Congress "that to assist in the
effort to restore and enhance the environment and to minimize future damage
to the environment, it is necessary to establish a new organization with
sufficient professional breadth and scope to provide a unified and systematic
approach to the problems of technology assessment and environmental quality;
that such an organization will complement those public and private agencies
presently dealing with various aspects of the environment. "
The functions of this organization were to include basic research,
analyses of human and natural activities affecting the environment, and
other necessary work. It would have included, but not been limited to 4ata
collection, storage, and dissemination; data analysis and synthesis; develop-
ment of methods and devices and analysis of various environmental policy
alternatives; the formulation of alternative solutions to existing and probable
environmental problems; and the performance of other functions to assist
public and private agencies in restoration, enhancement, and protection
of the environment.
Its policy role was to be limited to presentation of options to policy
makers: "It shall not be an appropriate function for the organization or
for any of its constituent parts.... to make specific recommendations as to
policy or choices between alternative courses of action ... but ... the
organization may present to policy makers various alternative courses of
action and describe the probable results of each such course of actions,"
according to S. 3410.
To carry out these purposes, S. 3410 would have established a National
Environmental Laboratory, together with a Board of Trustees to administer
it. The Laboratory was to consist of from one to four regional national labora-
tories, with geographical distribution determined by environmental criteria.
The proposed bill did not specify any proposed sites for the laboratories,
but the backers of the bill generally anticipated that Oak Ridge National
Laboratory would be the location of the first laboratory, on the basis of
expressed interest and on-going environmental work at Oak Ridge.
The Board administering the Laboratory was to consist of the Ad-
ministrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Chairman of the
Council on Environmental Quality, the Directors of the National Science
Foundation and the Office of Science and Technology, and five members
appointed by the President from the public, with Senate confirmation.
The Board would be responsible for selecting the sites of national
laboratories and for determining how many, up to a maximum of four, would
be established. The Board would also establish broad policy directions
for the Laboratory, "as determined from an analysis of the social and en-
vironmental priorities established by the Congress, the executive branch,
and the private sector. The Board for the laboratories was to seek grants
from private sources as well as Government funding. The Board was to
seek grants from and make contracts with State, local and private organi-
zations and agencies. The Laboratories were also to to operate under
grants and contracts from Federal agencies for work relevant to agency
environmental problems or programs.
Thus, although federally funded, the Laboratory would have been in-
dependent of the mission-oriented agencies, and its independence was intende
to facilitate the capability of the Laboratory to formulate research plans in
areas of its own choosing, where the comprehensive perspective of its staff
revealed problems needing investigation.
The exclusion of an explicit policy analysis function for the Laboratory
rendered it compatible with the purposes of the Environmental Institute
described in the first section of this report, according to the proponents
of both proposals.
Funding for the Laboratory was to come from three sources: a trust
fund of $250 million which would be established over five years, invested
in interest-bearing obligations of the United States; annual appropriations
of up to $200,000,000 for each laboratory established under the Act; and
the grants and contract funds obtained from other Federal and lower govern-
mental units or private organizations.
History and Progress of the Laboratory Concept
In the period 1968-1969, the idea of a National Environmental Laboratory
took shape, arising largely from interest in the national laboratories af-
filiated with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in expanding their mission.
In particular, the top-level staff at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
were interested, having begun environmental work in connection with their
AEC mission, and having some need of a renewed mission in view of the
passing of the heyday of atomic energy experimentation.
Talks with Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee created the necessary
interest on Capitol Hill, and an ad hoc NEL Concept Committee was for-
med at Oak Ridge. This Committee made its report, entitled "The Case
for National Environmental Laboratories," */ in January of 1970. This
report argued that such a laboratory was needed, and outlined the pro-
posed functions of the organization. This closely approximated the pro-
posal in S. 3410, introduced by Senator Baker, on February 6, 1970, "The
National Environmental Laboratory Act of 1970. "
*/ U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Public Works. "The Case for
National Environmental Laboratories. A Report prepared by the Ad Hoc
NEL Concept Committee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at the request
of the Honorable Howard H. Baker. Committee Print. 91st Congress,
2nd Session. U.S. Gov. Print. Off. Washington, D.C. January, 1970.
At the end of the 91st Congress no action had been taken on the measure,
and it was reintroduced in the 92nd Congress by Senators Baker and Muskie
on March 4, 1971 as S. 1113. The Committee on Public Works had issued
a committee print on the National Environmental Laboratories in January
1971, containing various reports and comments by agencies and organizations
on the need for such an organization. */
In April and May, 1971, hearings were held on the proposal **/ and
in December of that year the bill passed the Senate. No action was taken
in the House after its referral to the Science and Astronautics Committee.
After the 92nd Congress, no further action was taken to achieve enactment
of the NEL proposal. The energy crisis of 1973 stimulated an enlarged
area of concern for the national laboratories, and the internal interest in
the NEL proposal lessened.
Rationale for the Laboratory Concept
The arguments favoring establishment of a national environmental labora
tory were similar to those advanced in favor to the environmental institute;
the major difference in discussions on the NEL was a greater emphasis
on the need for research and less on the policy needs. In the case of both
the NAS report and that of the Institute of Ecology, the Laboratory and the
Institute were both part of a multi-faceted organizational scheme proposed
to work in concert toward effective environmental policies and planning.
*/ U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Public Works. "National
Environmental Laboratories," A Compilation of Comments and Materials
Related to a Proposed Environmental Laboratory. Committee Print. 92nd
Congress, 1st Session. U.S. Govt. Print. Off. Washington D. C. Janu-
:*/U.S. Congress. Committee on Public Works, Subcommitee on Air and
Water Pollution. "National Environmental Laboratories. Hearings on S.
1113. 92nd Congress, 1st Session. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington,
D.C., April 28 and 29, May 3, 4, 5, and 6, 1971.
The NAS report on institutions needed for managing the environment
had this to say:
There is no laboratory within the Federal Government structure, and
probably none outside, that carries out research on the environment
as a whole.
...In our judgment, all environmental research efforts now going on
at the Federal level are inadequate from an ecological point of view
... As a result, the viewpoint of the ecologist, dealing with and view-
ing the environment as a system, has not had sufficient influence on
Federal research programs.
A National laboratory is one of the major components we believe
necessary to meet the nation's needs for environmental research.
An institution of the kind we envision, outside the government, has
advantages of flexibility and minimum bureaucratic constraints, and
thus we could have relatively free interchange of research staff and
information between universities, the National Laboratory, and Fed-
eral laboratories. */
The NAS report specifically cited the success of the national laboratories
at Brookhaven, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Livermore, and indicated
that emulation of these models was suggested in their proposal for an en-
The fragmentation of existing organization for environmental work and
its consequent adverse effects, was noted in a report from the Argonne
Universities Association Conference, titled "Universities, National Labora-
tories and Man's Environment. Discussing the need for a comprehensive
environmental policy, the report deplored the exclusion of a wider pers-
pective which had resulted from the specialization in the study of subjects
involving the environment. This report stated:
*/ NAS report, op. cit., pp. 43-44.
A grand strategy for taking the offensive is urgently needed. Fight-
ing 'brush fires' is not enough, especially when only some are fought
successfully and even those victories are too often temporary. A
sound and farseeing environmental policy based on deliberate value
choices and backed by sound scientific research and strong political
and economic decisions is the best and probably the last hope for
man to have a decent world to live in.
Unfortunately, there are at least three serious handicaps to the mount-
ing of the kind of offensive that is now essential. One is the frag-
mented approach of our educational system; the second is the frag-
mented approach of our governmental structure; and the third is the
fragmented approach of the conservation movement itself. */
Turning to the government, again, we find far too much fragmentation,
specialization, and lack of coordination. The need for cohesion and
vision in environmental policies is glaringly acute in the Federal bureau-
cracy, where almost unbelievable numbers of Government agencies are
making important environmental decisions with little administrative
machinery for full exchange of information, let alone for thorough
coordination of policy. But it does not stop there. Decisions are made
and actions of immense collective impact on the environment are taken
almost daily, mostly without serious efforts at planning, by a stag-
gering conglomeration of State agencies and by countless local author-
ities who have little understanding of ecology and often do not try to
get complete information. ::/
Discussing the shortcomings of the system with respect to long-range
planning, this report went on to say:
The overall impression made by such government programs as HEW's
[work on environmental problems] is one of sound and useful work,
but with a tendency to focus on current problems and immediate solu-
tions. What seems to be lacking is a longer range approach that co-
ordinates and integrates the separately funded bits and pieces of re-
search. ... In the larger question of environmental quality, the
tendency of problems to be segregated into what Owen Barfield has
termed 'watertight compartments' is even more pronounced. Because
of the resulting dispersion of effort, more fundamental questions of
policy and implementation tend to become submerged by the pressing
need for immediate results. ::/
*/ U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. "Universities, National Laboratories,
and Man's Environment." Argonne Universities Association Conference held
July 27-29, 1969, Chicago, Illinois. USAEC Division of Technical Informa-
tion Extension, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. November, 1969. p. 25.
:*/ Ibid., p. 26
**,/ Ibid., p. 91.
Commenting on the favorable aspects of carrying out environmental
research through the national laboratories, Henry S. Rowen, President of
the Rand Corporation, cited in the report a major drawback in using them
in their existing form without constituting an environmental structure:
My principal concern with the potential contribution of these labora-
tories is that they do not have a history of multi-disciplinary research
that included both the technical and the social sciences. With regard
to the kinds of problems we are concerned about, this can be a serious
Mr. Rowen ended by suggesting joint research programs involving uni-
versities, national laboratories and non-profit research institutes, which
could be informal or formal.
The Ad Hoc NEL Concept Committee advocated strongly the need for
working-level synthesis of the many disciplines involved in environmental
What is missing and necessary is a means for reintegrating these
fragmented efforts at the working level, plus a focus of advisory func-
tions at many levels, all of which will match the scope of the work
to the true extent of what needs to be dealt with. */
Senator Edward Gurney of Florida testified at the 1971 hearings on the
laboratories proposal on the need for an integrative organization like the
We have made a strong beginning then, in both our State and National
regulations for environmental protection. Passing legislation to con -
trol pollution, however, is not enough. What is needed, as a sup-
plement to legislation, is a means for all of us to analyze and evaluate
our programs -- a structure through which the information which
we acquire in implementing our legislation can be reviewed and examined.
The National Environmental Laboratory proposed by this bill would
accomplish that end. ***/
/ Ibid., p. 91.
**/ Ad Hoc NEL Concept report, op. cit., p. 5.
.**/ Hearings, op. cit., p. 6.
There is no laboratory in the Federal Government that now carries
out such systematic research on the environment as a whole. If we
are to successfully develop knowledge and techniques that will lead
to effective management of the environment, then we must provide
the tools through which diverse and specialized viewpoints can be
adapted to an interdisciplinary approach. */
Dr. Alvin Weinberg, Director of Oak Ridge Laboratory, stressed the
greater capability for long-range perspective whichwould exist in a national
environmental laboratory, a perspective which he believed Oak Ridge's
makeup had permitted in the work done there:
... if entities such as NELs were established. They would interact
strongly with the existing agency that has prime responsibility for
the environment. But the NELs would interact not only with the agency
that had prime responsibility for the environment; they would inter-
act with all of the agencies that have any responsibilities for the en-
vironment. They would pu the pieces of the puzzle together at the
working level. This I believe is the only level at which the pieces
can be reintegrated, and where one can come up with viewpoints that
are characterized not only by their coherence but also by their long-
range character. **/"
The perspective of Dr. F. Herbert Bormann, School of Forestry at
Yale University and President of the Ecological Society of America, in-
dicated the central necessity he felt the NELs to be:
... I think that there is an increasing need to understand the complex
ecological and social interactions generated by the operation and con-
tinued growth of modern technological society.
I think that the kind of understanding that the operation of these nation-
al laboratories will generate is really basic to good government. I
do not think it is an option. I think it is an absolute necessity for
the development of policy that will lead to a healthy future for our
/ Ibid. p. 7.
**/ Hearings, Ibid. p. 18.
**/ Ibid. 309.
However, during these hearings on the Laboratory legislation, Nixon
Administration witnesses generally expressed opposition to setting up the
National Environmental Laboratories (NELs) on the grounds that a number
of other new environmental organizations had been recently established,
and it would be preferable to give them an opportunity to function in the
necessary areas before creating still another type of entity.
Gordon MacDonald, member of the Council on Environmental Quality,
who had headed the NAS report which recommended such a laboratory,
indicated some reservations at the time of the hearings about the laboratory
concept, although he was still voicing strong support for the National En-
vironmental Institute concept.
As indicated earlier, we do indeed agree that there are unmet needs
for: Basic environmental research aimed at understanding of ecosys-
tems; More applied research directed toward environmental insults
... Formulation and testing of alternative solutions to existing and
probable environmental insults.
But we believe that a new independent structure of national environ-
mental laboratories is not the answer. Back in 1969, when the idea
of a National Environmental Laboratory was first proposed and I was
working on the NAS/NAE report on institutions for effective manage-
ment of the environment, there appeared to be a case for such an
It was my judgment then, and still is, that the environmental re-
search efforts going on at the Federal level is inadequate from an
ecological point of view. Now, however, there are structures to
fill this need.
In short, we already have the authority we need to develop and co-
ordinate activities in many of the proposed areas of activity of the
National Environmental Laboratory. */
However, this statement was based partly on Dr. MacDonald's expec-
tation that the Institute would be established by Administration action and
was in fact on the verge of being created.
*/ Ibid., pp. 469-470.
Summary: The Laboratory Concept
Largely through the interest of the national laboratories in expanding
their scope of operations, and supported by studies of environmental insti-
tutions which indicated the need for a national environmental research pro-
gram through laboratories established for that purpose, there came into
being in early 1970 legislative proposals for a National Environmental La-
boratory. It would have consisted of one or more central, comprehensive
laboratories equipped with scientific expertise from both physical and so-
cial sciences. It would have be designed to provide integrated analysis
of environmental problems with options to be developed for the use of
policy and decision-makers.
The proposal was the subject of specific reports on it from an Ad Hoc
NEL Concept Committee from the staff of Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
and from the Senate Public Works Committee. Hearings were held on
it in 1971, and the measure passed the Senate in that year.
However, no further action was taken, and after the 92nd Congress,
the proposal was not reintroduced. This may be in part due to the uniform
opposition of the Nixon Administration to the concept, and partly due to
the emergence of the energy crisis, whichengaged the national laboratories
in an expanded energy research role.
REGIONAL OR STATE ENVIRONMENTAL CENTERS
The concept of promoting environmental research through organizing
State or regional research centers was also embodied in legislation intro-
duced in the early 1970's.
The need for better environmental research, using multidisciplinary
approaches, was an oft-repeated theme of the reports on environmental
organization which have been discussed above, emerging in the late 1960's,
many of them published in 1970. The need for better educational programs
embodying the comprehensive framework required by environmental problems
was also a theme. These two needs were addressed by the proponents of
the environmental centers.
After enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA)
on January 1, 1970, the requirement for an environmental impact statement
on those major Federal actions significantly affecting the environment, revealed
that there was a lack of data which often made fulfilling this requirement
difficult. In addition, broad pollution control legislation had
been enacted or was under consideration which gaveStates greatly increased
pollution control responsibilities. Generally, decision-making at all levels
of government often required more environmental knowledge than was
available. These factors contributed to the introduction in 1971 of the
State Environmental Centers Act which has been under active consideration
The proposed legislation would provide for establishment of a federal-
ly supported environmental research center in each State that so desired
it, or a regional center for two of more states who wished to operate
a center cooperatively. The environmental center would be located at an
educational institution, or in a private or public foundation designated by the
Governor of the State, subject to approval of the Administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency, who would be in charge of the assis-
tance program. The designated institution was required to have the great-
est demonstrated ability in the State to carry out the needed research,
investigations, experiments, technology applications, training of profes-
sionals, education extensions, and other purposes outlined in the Act.
The administration of the center would be the responsibility of the desig-
nated university or foundation, with a chief administrative officer who was
an official of that institution. It was intended that each center should have
a nucleus of professional, scientific, technical and other personnel in a
broad range of fields related to environmental improvement, including land,
water, and air resources.
The bill specified the duties of each environmental center: "to plan
and conduct and/or arrange for a component or components of the universi-
ties, colleges, or foundations with which it is or may become associated
to conduct competent research, investigations, and experiments of either
a basic or practical nature ... in relation to environmental pollution and
other environmental problems, and opportunities to provide for the training
of environmental professionals through such research, investigations, and
experiments, which training may include but shall not be limited to biological,
ecological, geographic, geological, engineering, economic, legal, energy
information and data, and other aspects of environmental problems. "
An Environmental Center Research Coordination Board was to be es-
tablished, chaired bythe EPA Administrator, and including representatives
from several Federal departments and agencies dealing with environmental
issues, plus members from university associations, private business firms,
non-profit environmental organizations, the scientific community, and the
general public. The purposes of the Board would be to assist the Adminis-
trator with program development and operation, and to keep their agencies
and organizations informed of the activities of the environmental centers.
Each individual center was also directed by the proposed bill to estab-
lish an advisory board appointed by the chief administrative officer.
In addition to the environmental research and investigations directed
by the Act, each center was to include an extension education program
directed to the public, units of government, business, industry, and
public interest groups; it was to provide workshops, seminars, clinics,
courses, field trips, demonstrations, published materials, and a ref-
erence service to facilitate rapid dissemination and use of environmental
Funding was set at $7 million for the first year, $8.9 million the
second year, and $14 million each succeeding year, to be disbursed in equal
shares to each center; in addition, $10 million the first year and $20 mil-
lion in each succeeding year, would have been allocated on the basis of
population, land area, and growth rate of the States or regions in which
the centers were located.
History and Progress of the Centers Concept
After its introduction in the 92nd Congress, on February 9, 1971,
as S. 681, the Centers bill was the subject of hearings by the Senate
Committee onInterior and InsularAffairs inNovember, 1971. */ Meanwhile,
H.R. 56, the National Environmental Data System Act (discussed below),
had passed the House and was referred to this Committee in the Senate.
The Committee added S. 681 to H.R. 56, titled the combined bills "The
National Environmental Data System and State Environmental Centers Act
of 1972" and passed them. Hearings were held in the House in July 1972
on the combined bills. The conference committee retained the addition,
and the Centers bill passed Congress as Title II of the measure. However,
on October 21, 1972, President Nixon vetoed the measure, citing costs
and possible duplication of existing Federal environmental efforts in EPA
In the 93rd Congress, the Senate passed S. 1865, the Environmental
Centers Act of 1974, on June 12, 1974. No action was taken in the House
on this measure. However, the House. version of the proposal, H. R. 35,
was the subject of hearings by the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries
Committee. **/This committee is the originating committee for the National
Environmental Policy Act in the House, and considered H.R. 35 because
it was introduced as an amendment to NEPA.
*/ U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
"'ills Amending or Related to the National Environmental Policy Act. "
Hearings, 92nd Congress, 1st Session, on H.R. 56, S. 1216 and S. 681.
U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D.C. November 19, 1971
**/ U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conserva-
tion and the Environment. "Growth and Its Implications for the Future".
Part 4. Hearings on Environmental Research Centers, H.R. 35. U.S. Govt.
Print. Off. Washington, D.C. June 11, 12, 13; November 25; July 15, 16, 1974.
The measure did not pass during the 93rd Congress, however, and
it was introduced again in the 94th Congress as S. 761 and H.R. 35.
The latter has been the subject of hearings in this Congress by the Sub-
committee on Environment and Atmosphere of the House Science and Tech-
Rationale for the Centers Concept
The basic rationale behind the concept of State and/or regional environ-
mental centers was that there already existed in the universities, founda-
tions, and other research-oriented institutions a considerable body of en-
vironmental expertise. However, in many cases, these human resources
were not put to optimal use, and were instead scattered and uncoordinated.
Not being focused on the environmental problems of their areas, these
experts worked on small fragments of the total problems, and usually
did not interact with those working on related matters. In this process,
the more comprehensive problems were overlooked.
Rather than relocate these individuals in a Federal agency, or to try
and duplicate their expertise in a Federal entity, it was argued that they
should be incorporated through the environmental centers into localized
research centers that could both study the comprehensive environmental
problems of their areas -- where the problems actually occurred --
and also could plug into a national network of such centers which could
afford integration of the knowledge produced.
It was agreed by all commentators in the period when the centers con-
cept originated that there was a pressing need for greater information and
more data on ecology and the environment. It was argued by proponents
70-315 0- 76 4
of the Centers that the best way to achieve it would be through a de-
centralized system which would provide for the needed research and would
facilite the possibility of the necessary coordination among these centers.
They would provide indentifiable central research and information services
for the various States and regions of the United States.
Senator Henry Bellmon made this statement in the 1972 hearings on
The Nation is in desperate need of a foundation of information on
the current and continuing status of the environment, on changes and
trends in its condition, and on what those changes mean to man.
Without such information, we can only react to environmental prob-
lems after they become serious. The Nation needs a system to sys-
tematically and continuously accumulate the knowledge needed to
develop long-term programs for environmental enhancement.
Passage of this bill will enable Government at all levels to know
when and where action is needed. Essential to development of this
kind of information is a comprehensive program of nationwide envi-
ronmental monitoring, collection, analysis, and effective use of the
In the same hearings, Dr. George R. Waller, President of Mid-
continent Environmental Center Association, Inc., of Tulsa, Oklahoma,
endorsed both the data bank and environmental centers concept, and said
about the centers:
The State Environmental Centers act provides a way to develop a
broadside attack at minimal cost to the Nation.
A unique feature of the State environmental center would be its abil-
ity to draw upon the best brainpower within a State, and to have a
very large pool of brain power solving environmental problems peculiar t
that State or region. *,/
I/ U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
ITarine and Fisheries. Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Conserva-
tion. "Fish and Wildlife Miscellaneous. Hearings on Environmental Data
System H.R. 56, July 28, 1972. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington,
D.C. p. 107.
"**/ Ibid., p. 117.
It was assumed by proponents of the Centers legislation that an im-
portant purpose of the act would be to strengthen the capacity of the desig-
nated institution to educate future environmentalists in the broadest pos-
sible context. Thus the legislation also addressed the recommendations of
reports on environmental education, which included strengthening the com-
prehensive focus and capabilities of educational programs on the environ-
ment. This concern was addressed by a September, 1969, report of the
Office of Science and Technology:
The colleges and universities of the nation constitute a powerful
institutional resource for education, research, and open discussion
of our problems and opportunities. At present, except for the pro-
phets of environmental disaster, little of this open discussion of our
future environmental alternatives seems to take place at the colleges
and universities. There is a national shortage of broadly trained
professionals to deal with environmental problems. /
The NAS report on institutions for effective management of the environ-
ment also cited the importance of university programs problem-oriented
to attack environmental problems, and it was also quoted by proponents
of the Centers legislation because it had advocated greatly strengthening
environmental research and development in the national laboratory setting;
work which, said advocates of the Centers, could also be productively ac-
complished through the university or foundation-based environmental re-
The NAS report said:
Most universities are organized along departmental lines, and inter-
disciplinary or multidisciplinary approaches, such as would be required
/ Steinhart, John S. and Cherniack, Stacie. "The Universities and En-
vTronmental Quality -- Commitment to Problem Focused Education. A
Report to the President's Environmental Quality Council. Office of Science
and Technology, Executive Office of the President. Washington, D.C.
September, 1969, p. 1.
for dealing with environmental matters, tend to be concentrated in
institutes, which generally stand apart from the main focus of the
parent institution. This is in part a consequence of history, but part-
ly results from a kind of distastefor problem-oriented activities among
more tradition-oriented scholars. The universities, however must
provide the needed manpower to cope with the environmental problems
of our society, and this can be done only by providing relevant educa-
tion at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. */
However, despite favorable arguments put forward by Members of
Congress and the representatives of possible State or regional organiza-
tions which could be designated as environmental centers, the Federal
Administration comments on the proposal were uniformly negative. They
argued that the environmental research underway in Federal agencies such
as the Environmental Protection Agency, and sponsored by the Council on
Environmental Quality and the National Science Foundation, should be the
focus of funding for this purpose. The Centers were described by these
spokesmen as duplicative and a possible misuse of environmental funding
which could be better used in the existing organizations.
Summary: The Environmental Centers Concept.
The universally perceived need for more extensive and more com-
prehensive environmental research which was expressed in the late 1960's
and early 1970's, coupled with the increased interest in strengthening the
environmental education capacities of universities and other research cen-
ters, led in 1971 to introduction of legislation to establish Federal funding
for environmental research centers which could be established in each of
the States who wished to designate an appropriate institution, or in an insti-
tution for more than one state, to serve that region.
*/ NAS report, op. cit., p. 32.
The centers concept gained favor from representatives of possible
organizations that might serve as centers, and from representatives of
such areas in the Congress. Federal Administration spokesmen did not
favor the idea, indicating that it would be duplicative and unnecessarily
expensive. They argued that the result would be to funnel funds into the
Centers that were urgently needed in the central Federal effort, already
underway in the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environ-
mental Quality and other Federal agencies.
The legislation passed in the 92nd Congress but was vetoed by Pres-
ident Nixon. It passed the Senate again in the 93rd Congress, but not the
House. In the 94th Congress. legislative proposals for the Regional or
State Environmental Centers have again been introduced.
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL DATA SYSTEM
Early in 1970, the concept of a national data bank or system which
would serve as the central repository for all relevant environmental data
and information emerged. This was seen as complementary to the other
institutional responses already forthcoming in the Council on Environmental
Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as to the other
proposed institutions described in this report.
The data bank concept was put forward in legislation proposed by Con-
gressman John Dingell early in 1970; the concept evolved slightly and
was re-introduced in the following year. The basic form did not change
The legislation proposed establishment of a National Environmental Data
Bank, functioning under the Council on Environmental Quality, which would
"serve as the central national coordinating facility for the selection, stor-
age, analysis, retrieval, and dissemination of information, knowledge, and
data relating to the environment so as to provide information needed to
support environmental decisions in a timely manner and in a usuable
form." Th.e system was expected tobe composedof a central, computerized
All Federal agencies were directed to supply the system with infor-
mation and data. Both domestic and international sources of information
were to be used, through such treaties as would be necessary. The original
proposal had designated a five-member board to head the data system.
The Data Bank, functioning under the Council on Environmental Qual-
ity, was to provide data to the Council for its annual report on environ-
mental quality and give the Council whatever analysis within its capabil-
ities that was needed. In addition, the information, data and analyses
in the Data System were to be made available on request without charge
to Congress and all agencies of the legislative and executive branches of
the Federal Government, and to all interstate agencies, States, and local
governments, and universities and colleges, without charge. Private or-
ganizations and persons could obtain services from the System upon pay-
ment of reasonable fees.
The basic purpose of the data system was to provide a central collec-
tion of the widest possible range of environmental information, a focus
for all of the diverse and diffuse information collected by the Federal Gov-
ernment and many other public and private organizations. The collection
of this data in one system was directed toward the best possible integra-
tion of knowledge for use in the analysis of environmental conditions and
the consequences of environment-related activities.
History and Progress of the Data System Concept
The proposal was first introduced early in the second session of the
91st Congress. Congressman John Dingell introduced H.R. 17436, and
the subcommittee which he chaired, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife
Conservation of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries, held
hearings in June, 1970, on this and related propsoals, /all introduced
as amendments to the National Environmental Policy Act.
The bill was considered again in the 92nd Congress as H. R. 56. Hear-
ings were again held by the same committee. 1/This measure passed both
Houses. It passed the House, and the Senate added the Environmental
Centers bill to it as title II. The amended version passed the conference
committee; this measure stipulated a director instead of a board at the
head of the system, and added some functions, such as development and
publication of environmental quality indicators for all regions of the U. S.
and general standards to facilitate integration of existing and new informa-
tion systems bearing on the environment, to make them cooperative with
the central facility established in the Act.
H. R. 56 was vetoed by President Nixon in October, 1972. He cited
failure of the measure to provide for a relationship between the general
collection of data and specific programs which would assure their pro-
ductive use. He also indicated that efforts were underway in the Environ-
mental Protection Agency and other agencies to strengthen their ability
to handle the data coordination role adequately.
Z/ U. S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Con-
servation. "Environmental Data Bank. Hearing, 91st Congress,
2nd Session, on H.R. 17436, H.R. 17779, H. R. 18141. Wash-
ington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., June 2, 3, 25, 26, 1970.
---------- "Fish and Wildlife Miscellaneous." Hearing, 92nd Con-
gress. On Environmental Data System--H.R. 56, July 28, 1972.
Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off.
In the 93rd Congress, several bills were introduced, but no action was
taken on them, and the concept has not been re-introduced in the 94th Con-
Rationale for the Data Bank Concept
The idea of the establishment of an environmental data system emerged
during the same time period as the other concepts described in this re-
port. This was the late 1960's, early 1970's, when the awakening con-
cern for environmental problems shed light on the problems of gathering
the necessary information which would enable appropriate decisions and
policies remedying perceived environmental dysfunctions. The data bank
proposal was intended to meet the need for information and data which would
facilitate the urgently needed policy moves. And it arose at a time when
the organizational structure for meeting environmental needs and formu-
lating policies were new or as yet unformed. The argument that a cen-
tral collection point was needed for the extremely diverse and wide-rang-
ing information related to environmental matters had validity in that con-
text. Some observers contend that it has even more validity now; as the
environmental organizations have increased their activities, there has been
a correlated increase in the number of data being collected; the information
explosion in environmental and natural resource areas (energy, for ex-
ample) has made a central collection point even more essential, it is argued.
At present, there is still no central system in which the many types of
information being collected can be integrated and brought to bear on pro-
blems which cross many disciplinary lines.
The arguments in favor of creating a comprehensive viewpoint for en-
vironmental planning and research have been repeated in connection with
the other concepts described here. The reports cited made a central point
of this argument. This was largely connected to these other concepts,
but these points of contention should be remembered in the context of the
data system. They will not be repeated here, but in many cases, they
would apply equally to the data system proposal.
Former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall strongly favored the
data bank legislation. He cited the extreme difficulty he encountered at
Interior in bringing data or information together in "an organized, rational
way" and endorsed the data system in these words:
When I look at the overall picture the rapid strides that we have
been making in recent years, it does seem to me that this is a
very logical next step after the enactment here last year of the
Environmental Policy Act... providing this kind of information,
data bank capability, that does not exist in this country today.
I think that is a very vital second step, and I simply want to lend
my voice as one who feels that if this is done in the right way it
can be a very useful tool and it can be very effective. "/
Commenting on the value of a computerized environmental data system,
Dr. James Shrewsbury, Director of Research, Murray State University,
Murray, Kentucky, said:
It is essential that a central repository for data and information
processing systems to be used in environmental management,
have these in computer-compatible form and format. The en-
vironment being the highly complex and dynamic system it is,
only a data storage, retrieval, and processing facility operating
at electronic computer speeds could approach efficacy. */
l Hearings, 1970, op. cit., p. 240.
/ Ibid., p. 218.
A Berkeley, California, University ecologist testified to the value of
the system, concentrating on the need to get useful output from such a
This is badly needed legislation if the system can get beyond the
purely research and scientific storage point. Our concern at the
Ecology Center in Berkeley is output, conversion, and output of
scientific information. We have found and, in fact, the early
premise of the Center was that there was plenty of scientific in-
formation available, but very little of it was actually getting to
the public in an appropriate form. */
Several witnesses at the hearings made the point that good planning
and decision-making depends upon a reliable and sufficiently broad infor-
mation base. They felt that along with increased research and improved
policy-making structures, there should be a facility such as the data bank
to provide the context for assimilating research and information into a
meaningful framework for use in decision-making.
Opposition to the measure was voiced by all witnesses from the Fed-
eral agencies. The on-going environmental data sources were felt by some
to be the appropriate focus for expanded activity in this area; others voiced
the concern for the enormous complexity of the task of collecting "all"
environmental data in once place and making it usefully available.
Dr. T.C. Byerly, Assistant Director of Science and Education at the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, indicated "we believe that without much re-
duced scopeof content, effective national data bankoperation probably could
not be achieved at a reasonable total cost within the current state of the
art." And Dr. Joseph A. Lieberman, Assistant Administrator for
/ Ibid., p. 105.
**/ Ibid., p. 227.
Research and Development, Environmental Health Service in the U.S. Depart-
ment of Health, Education, and Welfare, commented that without a defini-
tion of "environment" the system could be universally encompassing--going
beyond any realistic expectations for achievement.
Summary: The Environmental Data Bank Concept
The proposal for a national environmental data system which would en-
compass the widest possible range of all environmental information and
data from Federal agencies, State and local sources, and private and aca-
demic sources, emerged along with the other research and policy pro-
posals of the early 1970's. Coupled with the State Environmental Centers
Act, it passed the Congress in 1972, but was vetoed by President Nixon.
Although the measure was re-introduced in the 93rd Congress, no action
has been taken no this proposal since then.
The Data Bank was seen by its proponents as a vital link in the de-
cision-making process, especially in processes which could include
long-range planning for environmental issues. Only if the appropriate in-
formation is available, the proponents contended, and only if the informa-
tion is integrative of the widest range of data, can environmental planning
and decisions be meaningful over extended time periods.
Since the Data Bank proposal was first forwarded, the environmental
organization structure of both Federal, State and lower levels of Gov-
ernment has increased greatly. Far more data are being gathered and
incorporated into decision-making. However, there is still no recognized
focal point where comprehensive integration of these data occurs. Whether
this is feasible remains an unanswered, and at present, unasked question.
COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY and THE
OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
During 1970 two new organizational units were established with pur-
poses related to organizing environmental information and relating it to
policy and program needs. These were the Council on Environmental Quality
(CEQ), established by title III of the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA) which was signed into Public Law 91-190 on January 1, 1970;
and the Office of Environmental Quality, established in title II of the Fed-
eral Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1970 which was signed
into Public Law 91-224 on April 3, 1970.
The Council on Environmental Quality is an advisory unit in the Execu-
tive Office of the President, and is composed of three Presidentially appointed
members and a small staff. The Office of Environmental Quality was
originally conceived with a purpose much like that of the Council; however,
upon enactment of NEPA in late 1969, the proposed office was reshaped
to serve as a complement to the CEQ, basically to provide the staffing
for it. The Office has never taken a discrete organizational form, and
the concept survives only as partial staffing justification for CEQ.
The Council has these functions: (1) to assist and advise the President
in the preparation of the Annual Report on Environmental Quality required by section
201; (2) to gather timely and authoritative information concerning the con-
ditions and trends in the quality of the environment, both current and pro-
spective, to analyze and interpret such information for the purpose of
determining whether such conditions and trends are interfering, or likely
to interfere, with the achievement of the policy set forth in title I of this
Act, and to compile and submit to the President studies relating to such
conditions and trends; (3) to review and appraise the various programs
and activities of the Federal Government in the light of the policy set forth
in title I of this Act for the purpose of determining the extent to which
such programs and activities are contributing to the achievement of such
policy, and to make recommendations to the President with respect there-
to; (4) to develop and recommend to the President national policies to
foster and promote the improvement of environmental quality to meet the
conservation, social, economic, health, and other requirements and goals
of the Nation; (5) to conduct investigations, studies, surveys, research,
and analyses relating to ecological systems and environmental quality;
(6) to document and define changes in the natural environment, including
the plant and aminal systems, and to accumulate ncessary changes or
trends and an interpretation of their underlying causes; (7) to report at
least once each year to the President on the state and condition of the
environment; and (8) to make and furnish such studies, reports thereof,
and recommendations with respect to matters of policy and legislation as
the President may request.
In addition to these general functions, a major responsibility of the
Council is the preparation of the President's Annual Environmental Quality
Report, which must include a description of the status and condition of
the major natural, manmade, or altered environmental factors, including
air quality, water quality, land variables, and others.The Council is also requi
to include the current and foreseeable trends in the quality, management
and utilization of these environments and the effects of these trends in the
social, economic and other areas of concern of the Nation. A review of
existing environmental programs at all governmental levels and a proposed
program for remedying deficiencies in these are also to be included in
the annual report.
In the Senate report on the National Environmental Policy Acts/the
Council (termed the "Board" in the early legislation) was given a primary
duty to serve an "early warning" function for environmental problems:
Title III establishes an independent, high-level, three-member
Board of Environmental Quality Advisers in the Executive Office
of the President. The Board is patterned very closely after the
Council of Economic Advisers which was established by the Full
Employment Act of 1946.
The Board's function is to provide a continuing study and anal-
ysis of environmental trends and the factors which affect these
trends, and to relate each area of study and analysis to the social,
economic, health and conservation goals of the Nation. The Board
will provide an overview of how effectively the Nation is main-
taining a quality environment for future and present generation.
In addition, it will be uniquely equipped to serve an early warning
function by identifying emerging environmental problems at an
early date so that proper responses may be prepared before
situations reach crisis proportions and before the costs of deal-
ing with problems grow large. */
This responsibility was reiterated by the report in explaining the func-
tions of the "Board":
The primary function of the Board shall be to carry on con-
tinuing studies and analyses related to the status of the environ-
ment. The Board will seek to establish or cause to be established
within the operating agencies of the Federal Government an ef-
fective system for monitoring environmental indicators, collecting
data, and analyzing trends. It will further seek to relate trends
in environmental conditions to short- and long-term national goal
and aspirations. ***/
*/ U. S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, To Accompany S. 1075.
91st Congress, 1st Session. Report No. 91-296. July 9, 1969.
**/ Ibid., p. 10.
***/ Ibid., p. 24.
In carrying out this responsibility, the "Board" was described as being
"authorized to obtain information from all existing sources concerning the
quality of the environment. The Interior Committee intends and fully expects th
all Federalagencies will cooperate andprovide any assistance and informa-
tion necessary to enable the Board to fulfill its duties and responsibilities
under this Act. "
Thus, although the Board was given responsibilities in the Senate ver-
sion to analyze trends, detect early signs of environmental problems, and
to formulate proposed courses of action to remedy them, it was given
authority only to obtain information from other sources. It was not seen
as a generator of research or information.
However, in the final version of the bill which was enacted, functions
no. 5 and 6 (4uoted above) were added--the conduct of investigations,
studies, surveys, research and analyses relating to ecological systems
and environmental quality; and the documentation and definition of changes in
the natural environment. The emphasis on generation of information was
made clear in these provisions.
The authorization for funding was put at a limit of $300, 000 for 1970,
$700, 000 for 1971, and $1, 000, 000 for each succeeding fiscal year.
The Office of Environmental Quality was originally conceived as an in-
dependent effort, and the legislation to establish it was developed by the
Senate Public Works Committee during the same time period in which the
Senate Interior and Insular Affairs Committee was preparing the legisla-
tion which became the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) creating
the Council on Environmental Quality.
The NEPA was enacted three months before the Public Works Committee's
"Environmental Quality Improvement Act of 1970" which was attached at
title II to the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1970, amending the Fed-
eral Water Pollution Control Act. Therefore, in the discussions in Com-
mittee which followed enactment of NEPA on the act establishing the Office
of Environmental Quality, it was decided to make this office complemen-
tary to the Council on Environmental Quality which was already enacted
in the NEPA.
As finally agreed upon in the Act, the Office had these functions:
(1) providing the professional and administrative staff and support for
the Council on Enviornmental Quality established by Public Law 91-190;
(2) assisting the Federal agencies and departments in appraising the ef-
fectiveness of existing and proposed facilities, programs, policies, and ac-
tivities of the Federal Government, and those specific major projects
designated by the President which do not require individual project autho-
rization by Congress, which affect environmental quality; (3) reviewing
the adequacy of existing systems for monitoring and predicting environ-
mental changes in order to achieve effective coverage and efficient use
of research facilities and other resources; (4) promoting the advancement
of scientific knowledge of the effects of actions and technology on the en-
vironment and encourage the development of the means to prevent or re-
duce adverse effects that endanger the health and well-being of man;
(5) assisting in coordinating among the Federal departments and agencies
those programs and activities which affect, protect, and improve environ-
mental quality; (6) assisting the Federal departments and agencies in the
70-315 0- 76 5
development and interrelationship of environmental quality criteria and
standards established through the Federal Governmnent; (7) collecting, col-
lating, analyzing, and interpreting data and information on environmental
quality, ecological research, and evaluation.
The Director is authorized to contract with public or private agencies,
institutions, and organizations and with individuals without regard to sec-
tions 3648 and 3709 of the Revised Statutes (31 U.S.C. 529; 41 U.S.C. 5)
in carrying out his functions.
In the Senate report on the Office of Environmental Quality, it was
stated: "An Office of Environmental Quality would provide the independent
staffing required by the Council and would make available to the President
the professional competence and facilities necessary to the substantive re-
view and analysis of all matters relating to the environment. In addition,
the Office would be required to report on environmental issues to Congress,
the Council, and the public. "
The authorized funding for the Office was specified at $500, 000 for
the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970, $750, 000 for the following year,
$1,250, 000 for the year after that, and not to exceed $1, 500, 000 for each
succeeding year. It specified that these authorizations were in addtion
to those contained in Public Law 91-190 (NEPA) for the Council on En-
The chairman of the CEQ was designated as Director of the Office.
*/ U. S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Public Works. Amending
the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as Amended, and for other
.purposes. Report to Accompany S. 7. 91st Congress, 1st Session.
Senate Report No. 91-351. p. 41.
As it has developed, the Office of Environmental Quality has not taken
any organizational form distinct from the CEQ; in the budget, the amounts
authorized for CEQ and the Office are combined, and both authorizing laws
are cited for the resulting $2. 5 million appropriation requests.
The creation of CEQ and the impulse behind formulation of the Office
of Environmental Quality concept responded to the need felt during the
1970's for a comprehensive organizational focus for environmental pro-
blems. Other laws addressed specific aspects of environmental quality,
such as air or water quality, and gave them to specific organizations, such
as the Environmental Protection Agency. But the comprehensive view was
still needed. The environmental policy institute, the environmental data
bank concept, the regional or state centers concepts were all born at this
time or soon thereafter.
The only entities enacted into law, however, were the Office and the
CEQ. The CEQ mandate to conduct investigations, studies, surveys, re-
search, and analyses relating to ecological systems, and its responsi-
bility to document and analyze changes or trends in the natural environ-
ment, give to the Council wide latitude in pursuing some of the purposes
of the organizations proposed in the other, still pending legislation for the
Environmental institute, data bank and others. However, with its
relatively limited resources, the CEQ has not been able to pursue active
investigations across a wide range of environmental problems, and has had
to choose a limited number of areas in which to contract studies. Its role
in comprehensive environmental research and data collection has been
limited. Its primary function has been the collection and dissemination
of existing information, oversight of the environmental impact statement
processes, and the compilation of the Annual Environmental Quality Report.
In its report at the end of 1974, the CEQ admitted that in the area
of data and predicting environmental trends, present efforts are inadequate:
As stated in the introduction to this chapter, there is a critical
need for accurate and timely information about environmental
conditions and trends, in order that important decisions af-
fecting environmental quality and natural resources can be
made on the most informed basis possible....
In CEQ's previous Annual Reports and other studies, attempts
have been made to (1) develop and provide these kinds of in-
terpretive analyses and (2) report on progress in developing
environmental indices and indicators as potential practical
tools by which environmental assessments could be effectively
communicated to the public. Other Federal agencies also have
contributed to this effort. In general, however, the response
of both the Federal Government and the scientific community
to this important need and mandate have been inadequate. Both
the National Academy of Sciences and the Library of Congress
have recently concluded that environmental indices and other
interpretive tools are feasible and much needed; that previous
efforts have been inadequate; and that an intensified Federal
effort is needed in this area. */
The report went on to say:
CEQ will continue its efforts in the development of interpretive
techniques related to air quality, water quality, land use, and
ecological conditions and trends. However, no Federal com-
mittee or small staff agency can adequately accomplish this
task without considerable help from the scientific community
and support from the agencies that are primarily responsible
for acquiring or assimilating environmental data....
After indicating the need for increased activities in this area by sev-
eral specific agencies, the report said:
*/ Council on Environmental Quality. The Fifth Annual Report of the
Council on Environmental Quality. U. S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C., December 1974. pp. 331-332.
Failure to meet these needs will result not only in less informed
decisions about environmental quality, but also in some mis-
direction of resources expended on environmental monitoring
and data processing. "/
Therefore, although the CEQ and the Office of Environmental Quality
were established as the only comprehensive organizational response to the
widely perceived need in the early 1970's for such an entity, the CEQ
itself would evaluate its ability to perform environmental studies and fore-
casting as far short of adequate in terms of the needs in this area. The
CEQ is not equipped or organized to perform the environmental research
or studies proposed for the Environmental Institute described earlier in
this paper, or to perform the functions of the proposed Data Bank.
*/ Ibid., p. 334.
The period since 1970 has been one of significant activity in forward-
ing institutional proposals for environmental research, data collection, educ
tion, and policy analysis. The major proposals, for the National Environ-
mental Policy Institute, the National Environmental Laboratories, the Na-
tional Environmental Data Bank, and the State and Regional Environmental
Centers, were the focus of considerable congressional interest and activity.
Several new institutions with environmental policy and research re-
sponsibilities were established, both through congressional action and throu|
Administrative action. The main ones are the Council on Environmental
Quality and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Council was
given a very broad mandate, with opportunities provided for research, inves
gations, data collection, comprehensive environmental evaluation and other
related functions. The EPA was not discussed in this report, since its
purposes were framed more specifically ,including mainly areas other than
research and planning. EPA was established to perform regulatory function
in enforcing and implementating major pollution control efforts of the Feder
Government. It has been given many specific areas in which to carry
out these duties: air quality, water quality, solid waste, noise control,
pesticide regulation, and others. Its research and planning functions,
however, are directed toward these particular functions. Although
its research program is problem-specific and does not include a compre-
hensive role, the expansion of it has meant that the agency is collecting
information and doing research in many areas of critical environmental
concern, and thus the argument has often been forwarded that EPA is equip-
ped to perform the broader data collection tasks envisioned in some of
the proposals described inthis report. However, the agency is not designed
to serve these purposes primarily.
A recurrent theme in the rationale behind each of the proposed and
enacted organizational entities was the critical need for a long-range
perspective in evaluating environmental problems and consequences for the
environment of national policies. And essential to that long-range perspec-
tive, it was argued by the proponents of these proposals and institutions,
were more research, greatly expanded data collection, more complete pol-
icy analysis. And more importantly, the performance of these functions,
it was argued, must be done in organization with a comprehensive capacity
to make the many and complex interconnections required by the nature of
The very complexity of work to be performed in the needed institutions
seems to have served as one of the stumbling blocks to their establishment.
And the only comprehensive institution enacted, the Council on Environ-
mental Quality, has been given very limited resources, thus preventing
extensive work in the areas where they are authorized to operate. At
present, the Council is an advocate of better and far more extensive data
collection, forecasting ability, and environmental research.
In general, the long-range perspective and capability deemed to be
essential in avoiding environmental crises by those who forwarded the pro-
posals described in this report has yet to be established in the view of
those who saw the need.
Ecological Society of America and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.
National Institute of Ecology: An Inquiry. Ecological Society of
America, supported by NSF Grant GB 6890-001. March 25, 1970.
Ecological Society of America and Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.
National Institute of Ecology: An Operational Plan. Ecological
Society of America, December, 1970. 42 pages. Supported by NSF
Grant GB 6890-002.
National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engineering. Institu-
tions for Effective Management of the Environment. Report of
the Environmental Study Group to the Environmental Studies Board.
National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engineering,
Washington, D.C. January 1970. 62 pages.
National Science Board, National Science Foundation. Environmental
Science, Challenge for the Seventies. U. S. Govt. Print. Off.,
Washington, D.C. January, 1971. 50 pages.
President's Science Advisory Committee. Restoring the Quality of Our
Environment. Report of the Environmental Pollution Panel. The
White House, November, 1965. 317 pages.
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Argonne Universities, Conference
on Universities, National Laboratories, and Man's Environment.
Conference held July 27-29, 1969, Chicago, Illinois. U.S. Atomic
Energy Commission, Division of Technical Information, Oak Ridge,
Tennessee. November, 1969. 167 pages.
U. S. Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology.
Steinhart, John S. and Cherniack, Stacie. The Universities and
Environmental Quality--Commitment to Problem Focused Educa-
tion. A Report to the President's Environmental Quality Council.
.7S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D.C., September, 1969.
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Commerce. The Need for a
World Environmental Institute. Committee Print, 92nd Congress,
2nd session. U. S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D. C. March,
1972. 22 pages.
U.S. Congress. Senate, Committee on Commerce, and House of Repre-
sentative, Committee on Science and Astronautics. International
Environmental Science. Proceedings of the Joint Colloquim Mlay
25 and 26, 1971. 92nd Con ress, 1st session. U.S. Govt. Print.
Off., Washington, D. C. 1971. 241 pages.
U. S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Public Works. National En-
Laboratories. A Compilation of Comments and Materials Related
to a Proposed Environmental Laboratory. Committee Print, 92nd
Congress, 1st session. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D.C.
January, 1971. 459 pages.
U. S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Con-
servation. Environmental Data Bank. Hearings, 9 st Congress,
2nd session, on H. R. 17436, I. R. 17779, H. R. 18141, to provide
for a national environmental data bank. June 2, 3, 25, 26, 1970.
U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D.C. 395 pages.
U.S. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries, Subcommittee on Fisheries and Wildlife Con-
versation and the Environment. Growth and its Implications for
the Future, Part 4. Hearings, 93rd Congress, 2nd session, on
H. R. 35 to establish state and regional environmental centers, and
H.R. 14468, to establish a nonprofit national environmental policy
institute. July 15, 16, 1974. U. S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington,
D.C. 798 pages.
Fish and Wildlife Miscellaneous, Part 5. Hearings,
92nd Congress, on H. R. 56, to establish an Environmental Data
System. July 28, 1972. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington, D.C.
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.
Bills Amending or Related to the National Environmental Policy
Act. Hearing, 92nd Congress, 1st session, H.R. 56, S. 1216,
and S. 681, bills to establish a national environmental data system,
a nonprofit national environmental policy institute, and state en-
vironmental centers. November 19, 1971. U.S. Govt. Print.
Off., Washington, D.C. 261 pages.
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Public Works, Subcommittee
on Air and Water Pollution. National Environmental Laboratories,
Parts 1 and 2. Hearings, 92nd Congress, 1st session, on S. 1113,
to establish national environmental laboratories. April 28, 29,
May 3, 4, 5, and 6, 1971. U.S. Govt. Print. Off., Washington,
D.C. 1,296 pages.
Major Institutional Proposals for Environmental Planning or Research
Institution Organizational Historical
or Proposal Functions Form Reports to Funding Status
National Environmental Policy analysis; policy- 11-member board of Independent; Does con- Federal grant $10 mil- Introduced in 92d
policy institute oriented research; De- directors; including tract work for agencies, lion per year, $5 mil- (S.1216), 93d
velopment of alternative top Federal Environ- and also generates own lion matching funds; (H.R. 14468) and 94th
solutions for existing mental officials and research and reports. Funding from non- (H.R. 75) Congresses.
emerging problems. others. 200 to 300 Federal sources-- Received Administration
professional staff. public and private, backing temporarily in
1971. Never voted on in
National environmental Basic and applied re- Board of Trustees-- Independent of any one Federally established Introduced in 91st
laboratories search--multidisci- including 4 top Federal agency. Trust fund of $250 (S. 3410), 92d (S.1113);
plinary; data storage Federal environmental million, annual appro- Passed Senate only in
and collection, data officials and 5 priations of $200 mil- 92d Congress; No further
analysis and synthesis. others; one to four lion for each lab, and action.
laboratories modeled grants and contract
after AEC national money from other Fed-
labs. eral and non-Federal
Regional or State Basic and applied re- Possible establishment Assistance program ad- Federal Funds for as- Introduced in 92d Con-
environmental centers search, of designated center ministered by EPA Ad- sistance-4l7 million (S. 681); passed as
in each state or in ministration who over- escalating to $34 mil- Title II of H.R. 56--
combinations of states sees program develop- lion per year. This was vetoed; Passed
states--under direc- ment in centers. Senate in 93d Congress
tion of existing aca- (S. 1865). Introduced
demic or research in- in 94th Congress (S.761
stitution. Over-all and H.R. 35)--no action.
coordination of "En-
Board" headed by EPA
Institution Organizational Historical
or Proposal Functions Form Reports to Funding Status
National environmental Collection, storage, Central computerized Council on Environ- Federal appropriations- Introduced in 91st Con-
data system dissemination of en- facility; director, mental Quality $1 million escalating gress (H.R. 17436).
vironmental data. to $3 million annually. Passed 92d Congress
(H.R. 56); vetoed. 93d
but no further action.
Council on Environmental Prepares annual re- 3-man council. The President Federal appropria- Enacted in 91st Congress
Quality port on Nation's en- tions--$2.5 million (P.L. 91-190).
vironmental Quality, per year.
policy analysis and
tion gathering, con-
and research on en-
. ..,.,,,,,, ~ ,, ,,,,,,, ,,, ~r xr ~ ,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,. liii"""""""" "".iil~ll;;ii.."""*l~pi , ii~"......~. .~ ,.~ i.. ...i...I lii..llll Illli..l III
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SELECTED
ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR
LONG-RANGE PLANNING AND STRATEGIC
ASSESSMENT IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SELECTED ORGANIZATIONAL ARRANGE ENTS
FOR LONG-RANGE PLANNING AND STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT
IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
The current Congressional interest in planning as a tool for govern-
mental management has given rise to a number of proposals for establish-
ing improved policy planning capabilities in the Federal Government. As
an aid to Congressional consideration of legislation dealing with plan-
ning for environmental matters, this study presents a comparative analy-
sis of some of the principal historic and proposed approaches to struc-
turing a long-range comprehensive planning capability for the Federal
Government as a whole. The aim of the study is to offer an analytic
background against which to consider proposals for more functionally
focused long-range environmental planning-proposals such as those that
are discussed elsewhere in this compilation.
The idea of national planning emerged as an intellectual and
political issue in America during the 1930's, the decade of the Great
Depression. Much of the leadership of the national planning movement
came out of the field of city and regional planning, a field that had
grown during the reformist efforts during the early 20th century and that
had counted, perhaps surprisingly, Herbert Hoover among its allies.-/
j/ Herbert Hoover's leadership while he was Secretary of Commerce
under Warren Harding had led to the Standard State Zoning
Enabling Act of 1924, a model for the States to follow
in order to enable local governments to enact local zoning
Engineer and railroad executive Fredrick Delano, whom President Roosevelt
appointed chairman of the National Resources Planning Board, was a leader
in the creation of the Burnham plan for the city of Chicago and in the
development of the metropolitan regional plan for New York in the 'twen-
ties. Charles Merriam, also appointed by FDR to the National Resources
Planning Board, was a member of the Chicago city council during the years
before World War I, a leader of the Chicago reform movement as well as. of
the American Political Science Association, founder of the Social Science
Research Council, and professor and chairman of.the Department of Politi-
cal Science at the University of Chicago; and he was an important parti-
cipant in a landmark conference to promote research and instruction in
city and regional planning.
Despite its origins in city and regional planning, the leadership
of the national planning movement in the 'thirties was not limited by
the matrix from which it had sprung. It had a grander vision-a vision
of planning as a central part of the national policy of the country.-'
Although the governmental institutions for planning that grew out
of the New Deal--the National Resources Planning Board, the National
Recovery Administration, the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and
the Fiscal and Monetary Board have disappeared leaving behind few if any
traces, they are of considerable historic interest from an organizational
point of view.
2 See, for example, the remarks of presidential candidate Franklin
Roosevelt on the occasion of the publication of the New York
Regional Plan at the end of 1931. Quoted in Lepawsky, Albert.
The Planning Apparatus: A Vignette of the New Deal. Journal
of the American Institute of Planners. Jan. 1976. p. 22.
The planning idea has occasionally reemerged and has given rise
to organizational entities such as the National Security Council and the
Domestic Council, as well as to efforts to reorganize the Executive
Branch along functional lines in order to facilitate policy planning and
coordination.A It is only relatively recently, however, that there have
appeared a series of major proposals for improving the planning capabilities
of the Federal Government. Some of these proposals have taken the form
of legislation introduced by Members of Congress; some have been proposals
made by scholars working under a variety of auspices.
This study examines some of the principal historic and proposed
approaches to planning and policy analysis in the Federal Government,
comparing them using a common framework to the fullest extent practicable.
Framework for the Analysis
Most of the examples that will be discussed in this study are pro-
posals for planning and strategic assessment institutions that would aim
at a comprehensive approach to long-range policy planning in government.
That is to say, they are in the main not directed to planning in any single,
particular functional area such as environmental planning, health care
planning, or public works planning. Some, however, are focused on matters
of national economic planning. Therefore, in the discussion of each example
_/ See,for example, U.S. Executive Office of the President. Office
of Management and Budget. Papers Relating to the President's
Departmental Reorganization Program. A Reference Compila-
tion. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., March 1971.
70-315 0- 76 6
the scope of the planning work that would be required is set forth.
What type of planning and policy analysis would be undertaken? What func-
tional areas would be included within the scope of its work? What degree
of comprehensiveness would be attempted? WIhat sort of mandate would the
proposed institution be given?
The organizational structure of the proposed planning institution
is of special interest. What would be its principal organizational
elements? How would they relate to one another? Where would the proposed
institution be located with respect to the Executive and Legislative
Branches of government? What would be its expected role in the Executive
decision making process, i.e., how would the planning relate to action?
What contribution would the proposed institution make to the legislative
The top management of any planning organization is critical in the
carrying out of the planning process. How would the top managers of the
proposed institution be chosen? What would be their tenure? What are
the implications of their method of selection for the overall functioning
of the organization? To whom would they be answerable?
A third critical matter is that of funding. What would be the
source of funds to support the proposed planning work? -ho would contol
the institution's pursestrings? To what extent would this tend to politicize
the planning institution's work, especially its ability to give primary
attention to long-range policy issues?
A fourth matter of interest is the planning process that would
characterize the planning institution's work. To what degree is a process
specified in the proposal? What information sources would the institu-
tion have access to? What provisions would be made for communications
between the Federal planning institution and State and local governments
and the. private sector?
Finally, what work product would be required of the proposed
planning agency? What would be the function of the product in the
THE NATIONAL RESOURCES PLANNING BOARD
The National Resources Planning Board was the final attempt by the
Roosevelt Administration to institutionalize Federal planning in one
comprehensive agency. The NRPB was the successor of a series of short-
lived planning organizations established in the Executive Branch in an
effort to strengthen its policy planning and coordination capabilities.
Its predecessor organizations were the National Planning Board (NPB),
the National Resources Board (NRB), and the National Resources Committee
The National Planning Board was established within the Public
Works Administration with the purpose of planning and coordinating
Federal works activities, but with a longer-term aim. Interior Secretary
Harold Ickes, within whose jurisdiction the Public Works Administration
"We hope that long after the necessity for
stimulating industry and creating new buying
power by a comprehensive system of public
works shall be a thing of the past, national
Splanning will go on as a permanent government
After the Supreme Court declared the National Recovery Administration
unconstitutional, the President reconstituted the planning function of
the NPB by creating the National Resources Board Under the provisions
S Ickes, Harold L. Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works.
Planning and National Recovery (1933). p. 22. Quoted in
Mel Scott. American City Planning Since 1890. Berkeley,
University of California Press, 1971. p. 302.
of Executive Order 6777 of June 30, 1934, the NRB's function was to prepare
and present to the President a program for the development and use of
land, water, and other resources. On June 7, 1935, the NRB was abolished
and reconstituted with expanded functions as the National Resources Com-
mittee. The NRC's job was not to develop a specific program, but to aim
toward an improved planning process. Its duties as set forth in Execu-
tive Order 7065 were as follows:
(a) To collect, prepare and make available to the
President, with recommendations, such plans, data
and information as may be helpful to a planned
development and use of land, water, and other natural
national resources, and such related subjects as may
be referred to it by the President.
(b) To consult and cooperate with agencies of the
Federal Government, with the States and municipa-
lities or agencies thereof, and with any public
or private planning or research agencies or insti-
tutions, in carrying out any of its duties and
(c) To receive and record all proposed Federal pro-
jects involving the acquisition of land (including
transfer of land jurisdiction) and land research
projects, and in an advisory capacity to provide
the agencies concerned with such information or
data as may be pertinant to the projects. All
Executive agencies shall notify the National Re-
sources Committee of such projects as they develop,
before major field activities are undertaken.
In 1939, the NRC was abolished and its functions assumed by the
National Resources Planning Board within the newly formed Executive
Office of the President.-
5 / The Executive Office of the President was created by Reorganization
Plan No. 1 of 1939. The reorganization went into effect
on July 1, 1939.
Authority for the National Resources Planning Board
The reorganization plan that established the National Resources
Planning Board was prepared pursuant to the provisions of the Reorganiza-
tion Act of 1939. Part 1 of the reorganization plan established the
Executive Office of the President, of which the NRPB was an element.
Scope of Its Planning Work
The planning responsibilities of the newly constituted NRPB were
basically the same as those of its predecessor, the NRC. It also assumed
the responsibilities of the Federal Employment Stabilization Office,
which was charged with advising the President on employment and busi-
ness trends and on the existence or approach of periods of business de-
pression and unemployment.
The NRPB was made a part of the Executive Office of the President,
without any direct relationships to individual Executive agencies. That
is to say, it was not subordinated within an individual line agency
as had been its ancestor, the National Planning Board, which was within
the Public Works Administration of the Interior Department.
The Board, which was to work under the direction and supervision
of the President, had five presidentially appointed members. One was
designated by the President as chairman; another, as vice chairman.
The reorganization plan authorized the Board to determine the rules
of its own proceedings and to appoint a staff of employees and officers
and to authorize its officers to perform such duties and to make such
expenditures as may be necessary. In addition to the five-man board,
the NRPB had several technical committees established from time to time
to study land, water, and energy resources; industry; transportation;
science; population; urbanism; local planning; public works; and relief;
and the board established an eleven-district field structure. By 1943
its staffing level had grown to 150 employees in the Washington office
and 72 employees in the field; and the staff was supplemented by 35 per
Clearly, the NRPB was the creation of the President, and he had
its loyalty. Although he had hoped that the NRPB would help him get an
administrative handle on the New Deal's disjointed bureaucracy, it did
not meet this expectation; and the President is said to have looked
elsewhere when immediate national problems were his concern. The
Bureau of the Budget, for example, was more concerned with the more
immediate future. With its long-range planning viewpoint, the NRPB was
seen by the president as a long-distance "intellectual spearhead."6/
There was little direct contact between the NRPB and the line
agencies of the Executive Branch, simply because of the separation be-
6/ Beckman, Norman. Federal Long-Range Planning. The Heritage of
the National Resources Planning Board. Journal of the Ameri-
can Institute of Planners. Vol. 26, No. 2. May 1960. p.90.
_/ Ibid. p. 91.
tween the Board, its field structure and long-range planning interest
on the one hand, and the administrative mandates and field structures
of the line agencies on the other. Most line agencies were cooperative
with the Board since it was not a regulatory agency and since it did not
make direct and formal efforts to get its recommendations implemented.
It rarely made specific recommendations to the President; its discussions
with him were on broad matters; and its approach was advisory. It did
generate some degree of friction with a few agencies, however, because
of its review of public works projects. The Corps of Engineers, the
Tennessee Valley Authority, the Forest Service, and the Reclamation
Bureau, for example, were resentful of an NRPB role as early as 1934
because of a NRB study called "A Plan for Planning." They saw the
Board as a threat and feared that "some board of five professors [was
going] to decide where the dams would be built, the swamps drained, the
The NRPB did not have close relationships with Congress, nor did
the Board seek such relationships since it saw itself as a staff support
to the Presidency. Its lack of friends in Congress left it vulnerable
to criticism and attack from those who saw it as duplicative of other
agencies and as a harbinger of socialism. Its vulnerability was increased
by the lack of any corresponding congressional committee to whom it could
relate as the Council of Economic Advisors relates to the Joint Economic
8/ Graham, Otis L., Jr. Toward a Planned Society. New York, Oxford
University Press, 1976. p. 54.
. / Beckman. Op. cit. p. 92.
As part of the Executive Office of the President, the NRPB depended
upon Executive Branch Legislative Branch independence and comity to
assure funding for the Board's work;as long as the President supported
that work and requested the funds, the necessary support was made available.
Observers of the National Resources Planning Board have noted several
achievements which deserve enumeration here. First, the Board produced
a number of studies on river basin development, land policy and planning,
energy resources, population, housing, transportation, unemployment insur-
ance, and others. Second, State-level planning was stimulated by the
Board's field and consultant activities; during the life of the Board,
the number of State planning agencies grew from three to thirty-five.
Third, the Board successfully stimulated an increased degree of local-
State-Federal cooperation through its promotion of river basin planning.
On the other hand, it was not without its failures. First, because
of its close relationship to the President, the objectivity which it
claimed was not entirely credible. Second, it was never entirely clear
what the subject of the Board's planning effort was to be. Third, some
observers assert that the Board showed poor political judgment in its
timing of releases of controversial reports. Fourth, the Board's inability
to produce concrete results or to significantly affect policy alienated
many in Congress and in the executive bureaucracy.-'
10/ The track record of the IRPB is discussed in more detail in Beckman,
Op. cit. p. 92-94.
THE TUGWELL PROPOSAL FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION
In September 1970 the Center for the Study of Democratic Institu-
tions announced the completion of a proposal for a new national constitu-
tion, which was drafted by Rexford Guy Tugwell, former FDR brain truster
and governor of Puerto Rico. The proposal would place the long-range
planning function in a separate branch of the National government. The
Planning Branch would be one of six branches that would replace our present
three branches of government. These six would be an Executive Branch, a
Legislative Branch, a Judicial Branch, a Regulatory Branch, an Electoral
Branch, and a Planning Branch.
Creation of a Planning Branch in the Federal Government would require
a radical amendment of the Constitution. In Tugwell's proposed amendment-
replacement would be a better term-the authority for the new Planning
Branch is found in Article III.-'
The planning function would be embodied in the Planning Branch which
would have a Planning Board and a Planning Department.
The Planning Board would be made up of eleven members appointed
by the President. Their terms would be for eleven years.
11_/ Tugwell, Rexford Guy. Introduction to a Constitution for a United
Republics of America. Center Magazine. Vol. 3. Sept.-Oct.
1970. p. 19.
The first members of the Board would have terms running from one to
eleven years. They would be eligible for reappointment. The chairman
of the Board, the member having the longest term, would supervise the
Planning Department in its preparation of six- and twelve-year develop-
ment plans. The chairman also appoints a planning administrator, unless
a majority of the Board object, from panels elected by national associa-
tions of professional planners which the chairman recognizes. The Planning
Administrator would be authorized to appoint deputies, subject to the
agreement of the chairman and the Board.
At the sub-national level the Republics, which would replace our
present States, would have planning systems which would be linked to the
planning processes of the Planning Branch of the national government.
Staggering the eleven-year terms of the members of the Planning
Board would tend to shield their functioning from the pressures of the
election cycle, allowing it to address itself to long-term matters.
The staggering would also make the Board relatively insensitive to pressures
from the President, who would have a nine-year term, to support his
political program. The character of the Board during its initial years,
however, would be largely shaped by the President. But after the system
is put into practice he would be able to have a majority of his own ap-
pointees only after six years of his nine-year term. Nine of an indivi-
dual President's appointees would be carried over into his successor's
12/ Tugwell's President would serve only one nine-year term. He could
not succeed himself.
Although this organizational arrangement allows the Planning Branch
to be free to deal with long-term planning problems, it does raise ques-
tions about how well such an arrangement will allow planning to be tied
to action-i.e., to the Executive Branch.
Organizational Relationships and the Planning Process
The Planning Department, under the supervision of the Board chair-
man would be responsible for the preparation of the six- and twelve-year
development plans. The chairman would be responsible for presenting
these two plans to the Planning Board. In the year before the plans are
to take effect, they are to be subjected to public hearings and revisions.
On the fourth Tuesday in July they are to be submitted to the President,
who is to transmit them to the Senate on September 1 with his comments.
The Planning Department would also be responsible for the prepara-
tion of the budget, which would also be submitted on the fourth Tuesday.
of July to the President. If a majority of the Board is dissatisfied with
the budget proposals, the budget would be sent to the President with
notation of the individual Board members' reservations. The budget is
submitted to the House of Representatives on September 1st with the
President's comments, the same day as that of the submittal of the six-
and twelve-year plans to the Senate.
The plans would be disseminated for discussion and the opinions
generated during the discussion would be considered while plans are being
formulated for the succeeding year. There is no language in the proposed
constitution, however, that indicates the distribution list for the two
plans. This is apparently left to the discretion of the Branches involved.
The plans are to be updated each year, so rather than the six- and
twelve-year plans being cast in concrete images of some future state,
they are flexible guidelines that express the government's best estimate
of the likely state of the nation or the desired direction for the nation
to follow over the subsequent six and twelve years.
The President or the Senate or both may object to the two plans'
provisions. Should this happen, the plans would be returned for restudy
and resubmission. If after restudy and resubmission there are still
objections and if the President and the Senate agree in their objections,
they would prevail. If the President and the Senate disagree in their
objections, the Senate would prevail.
Section 8 of Article III of the proposed constitution would provide
a linkage between national and subnational planning i.e., between the
Planning Branch of the national government and the planning systems of
the individual Republics. Section 8 says -
The Republics, on June 1st, shall submit proposals
for development to be considered for inclusion in
those for the United Republics. Researches and
administration shall be delegated, when convenient,
to planning agencies of the Republics.
This arrangement allows for an integration of national and subnational
planning, providing for what is sometimes called "wall-to-wall" subnational
Tugwell would also link the private sector to the national planning
process. Article III would authorize the Planning Branch to require
inputs from -
private individuals or associations as are affected
with a public interest, including those organized as
Authorities. They shall report intentions to expand
or contract, estimates of production and de-
mand, probable uses of resources, numbers to
be employed, and such other information as
may be essential to comprehensive public
planning; but there shall be regard for the
convenience of those required to make reports. j/
The proposed constitutional language that would establish a national
planning process recognizes that there are linkages between national domes-
tic affairs and the nation's foreign affairs;
Section 13. In making plans, there shall be due
regard to the interests of other nations and such
cooperation with their intentions as may be con-
sistent with plans for the United Republics.
Section 14. The Planning Branch may cooperate
with international agencies, making such con-
tributions to their work as are approved by the
The Planning Branch would be required to prepare annually updated
six- and twelve-year plans and an annual budget. The budget would be
subject to an expenditure ceiling set by the President.
The two plans are to "represent the national intentions tempered
by the appraisal of possibilities.'"- The purpose of the twelve-year
plan would be to provide a "general estimate of probable progress" in
both the government and the private sector. The six-year plan would be
J3/ Ibid. p. 20
14/ Ibid. p. 20
15/ Ibid. p. 19
specifically related to estimated revenues and expenditures. Section
5 of the proposed constitutions says -
The purpose [of the planning process] shall be
to advance, through every agency of the govern-
ment, the excellence of national life; it shall
be the future purpose to anticipate innovations,
to estimate their impact, to assimilate them in-
to existing institutions, or to moderate dele-
terious effects on the environment and on society.16/
The Planning Branch would also have custody of the official national
maps for use as basic reference documents for future public and private
development. The maps would indicate the location of existing and pro-
posed facilities and intended land uses. These official maps, which
would also be maintained by the planning agencies of the Republics, as would
duly approved plans and budgets, be given the force of law by the constitution.
Developments in violation of official desig-
nation Lon the maps] shall be at the risk of
the venturer and there shall be no recourse;
but losses from designations preceding acqui-
sition shall be recoverable in actions before
the Court of Claims. 1E/
The budget, which the Planning Branch would prepare, would be "a
revision, for the coming year, of the six-year plan, combining estimates
for all departments and agencies.-
16 Ibid. p. 20.
17/ Ibid. p. 20
18/ Ibid. p. 19
The proposed constitution specifies the method of funding for the
Planning Branch. It does not depend upon the good will of appropriations
committees and subcommittees; rather it specifies that one half of one
percent of the approved United Republics budget, not including debt
service or payments from trust funds, shall be made available to the
Planning Branch. The funds are to be held by an officer called the
Chancellor of Financial Affairs, but they may be expended according to
rules established by the Planning Branch itself.
By earmarking funds for the Planning Branch, the proposed constitu-
tion shields the planning process from political pressures that might be
applied by way of the appropriations process.
Pros and Cons
Tugwell has made a radical proposal for changing the structure of
American government, a proposal that is not likely to be adopted.
However, the document sets in high relief most if not all of
the important issues that surround the problem of long-range planning
in the national government. If for no other reason, it could be argued
that this document is a major contribution to public consideration
of these issues. It puts national planning into a separate, independent
branch of government; it charges it with long- and middle-range planning
and with the preparation of the annual budget, thereby linking long-range
policy formulation with short-term budgetary and operational decisions;
it shields the planning process from Presidential and Legislative political
pressures, while leaving the decision-making powers in the hands of the
elected officials in the Executive and Legislative Branches. And although
the Planning Branch is shielded by virtue of its separateness, the pro-
posed consititution allows for Presidential recommendations of plans and
courses of action to be taken into consideration by the Planning Branch.
On the other hand, the proposal is such a radical one that it is
not likely to make a direct contribution to current efforts to improve the
long-range planning capabilities of the Federal Government. It could be
argued that it does not fall within the realm of the politically feasible.
70-315 0- 76 -7
THE INSTITUTE FOR CONGRESS
After about three years of planning, the Institute for Congress
was formally established in December 1975 in the belief that a new insti-
tution was needed to provide the Congress with "timely and independent
policy analysis of major policy issues confronting the United States." -
The Institute was launched as a five-year experiment.
The Institute for Congress is a private, non-profit organization;
it has no status as a governmental organization. It is incorporated un-
der the laws of the District of Columbia and is seeking tax-exempt status
under the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Scope of Its Work
Martha W. Griffiths and William D. Ruckleshaus, chairman and vice
chairman, respectively, of the Institute's Board of Trustees, presented
a joint statement setting forth the rationale for the Institute and de-
fining the scope of its work:
Congress and the entire American society stand
at a critical juncture. We have exhausted our
"margins of error" in dealing with complex and
increasingly technical national policy choices.
It is not sufficient for Congress to wait for
Executive Branch initiatives, or to entrust
1Q/ Institute for Congress. News release. Sunday, December 7, 1975. p. 1i