The New York Times

“Environment Will Expire if We Don't Act Now; Clean Air in '89?”

Published: October 19, 1988

To the Editor:

Having worked the last three summers for an environmental group, I was disappointed to read of the defeat of measures to strengthen the Clean Air Act (news analysis Oct. 7). It is disturbing that despite widespread public concern about air pollution and acid rain, the President and Congress continue to resist these efforts.

Though there is reason to hope that the departures of Mr. Reagan as President and of Robert Byrd as Senate majority leader will facilitate the passage of clean air measures in 1989, it seems unlikely that near-future legislation would satisfy environmentalists. As long as the ''foul-air lobby'' is powerful in Washington, many Congressmen from the Middle West will oppose strict standards on sulfur and nitrogen emissions.

Last summer I canvassed door-to-door in eastern Connecticut, attempting to persuade citizens to support a strong Clean Air Act. An overwhelming majority did. It seems unfortunate that the wishes of tens of millions of Americans are being sacrificed in the short-term interest of the polluters.


New Haven, Oct. 7, 1988