WASHINGTON, April 15, 1970 (UPI) -- President Nixon today asked Congress to halt further dredge-waste pollution of the Great Lakes - one of the nation's worst trouble spots. In a special message to the House and Senate, Nixon asked for legislation to prohibit dumping of polluted dredge waste into the lakes, and to require bordering states to provide dumping areas on land.
The Great Lakes program would concentrate on the most polluted harbors in the initial stages and would spend about $70 million to build containment areas for polluted material.
The Federal Government would pay half and state and local governments the rest.
The dumping ban would apply to four of the five of the Great Lakes in the program. States affected are Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
"The by-products of modern technology and large population increases have polluted the lakes to a degree inconceivable to the world of the 17th Century explorers," Nixon said.
Ecologists are particularly concerned about Lake Erie, which is so despoiled as to be, for all practical purposes, a dead body of water.
The President's request pertained specifically to the spoil that is dredged from the bottom of harbors and navigation projects and is now dumped elsewhere in the Great Lakes, spreading the pollution.
Nixon said he would offer a formula next year for blocking ocean pollution. He said studies are under way to determine the ecological effects of dumping and said further legislation will be proposed to control it.
"About 48 million tons of dredging sludge and other materials are annually dumped off the coastlands of the United States," Nixon said. "In the New York area alone, the amount of annual dumping would cover all of Manhattan Island to a depth of one foot in two years."