WASHINGTON, April 27, 1970 (UPI) -- Buoyed by massive public support for Earth Day, Sen. Edmund S. Muskie, D-Maine, predicted today Congress would pass tough new laws against air and water pollution by Labor Day. But he cautioned that even the toughest restrictions on auto exhaust, factory wastes and municipal sewage treatment would take years to show initial effects, and many more years to achieve any dramatic elimination of smog or dirty waterways.
"There's no way of saying it will all be cleaned up by such and such a date," Muskie told UPI in an interview. "If you imposed emission and effluent standards on every industry in this country tomorrow morning, it would still take years. We'll be fighting this battle for the next few decades and beyond."
But Muskie said public opinion finally is on the march. He predicted Congress would march with it, in sharp contrast with the way it treated past pollution legislation.
As chairman of the Senate Air and Water Pollution Subcommittee, Muskie
sponsored most of the major anti-pollution measures passed by Congress since the early 1960's. He said public apathy watered down previous legislation, and drastically slowed its legislative pace.
Earth Day last week demonstrated enough public demand to change that, said Muakie, whose subcommittee is deep into consideration of legislation covering both air and water pollution.