FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. . . 15 February 1970
Project Eagle will apply modern systems methods to the problem of environmental degradation, bringing together scientists from all disciplines— the physical sciences, the life sciences, and the social sciences— from academe, government and private industry— to meet the environmental crisis.
Project Eagle arises out of the need to find out what happens when toxicants like DDT, tritium, lead, and nitrates, cycle throughout the regional transport systems of the Biosphere. Professor Orie Loucks, leader of the environmental systems ecology team at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and trial attorney, Victor John Yannacone, jr., brought together during the DDT hearings before the Department of Natural Resources of the State of Wisconsin a team of control engineers, electrical engineers, systems analysts, biologists, chemists and medical scientists and conclusively demonstrated that DDT and its principal environmental metabolite DDE will continue to accumulate in the lipid biomass of predatory birds and mammals, including man, for many years to come even if all use of DDT ceased immediately.
The ready acceptance of the trial court of this new form of expert testimony and its application to such diverse problems as radionuclide contamination of the environment as a result of the flaring of tritiated natural gas from Project Rulison in Colorado; thermal pollution from electric power plant operations both fossil fuel and nuclear; and environmental degradation from noise and loss of diversity in our urban centers, stimulated scientists throughout the country to support the Project.
Speaking on behalf of Professor Loucks and other concerned scientists, attorney Yannacone called for American Industry, to act together with Federal, State and Local governments to develop the environmental rehabilitation industry necessary to restore the quality of our environment, rebuild our cities, and rekindle hope in our people.
Project Eagle is being presented to the 400 representatives of industry and government meeting in Washington, D.C. at the request of the Public Affairs Council and the United States Committee for the International Biological Program to consider Environment: The Quest for Quality. While the country is crying out for an effort equal to the space program and a redeployment of the resources committed to the military-industrial complex to the development of an environmental rehabilitation industry, Project Eagle stands as the next evolutionary step up from the International Biological Program and represents action and hope rather than talk and despair.
Attorney Yannacone called for Industry, Government and the Academic Community to rise above the petty chauvinism of their special interests to support Project Eagle.
Project eagle is a concept and an approach. It represents the initial phase of the multidisciplinary, interinstitutional research and development needed at regional and national levels if the first steps toward economy in resource depletion and environmental rehabilitation are to be taken by 1975.
The Project has been developing for the past three years and the initial request for $210 million in financial support was announced at the conference, Environment-The Quest for Quality sponsored by the Public Affairs Council and the United States International Biological Program in Washington, D.C. on February 19, 1970.
Project Eagle is proposed as the means of advancing the timetable for establishing standards of environmental quality and, providing for existing industry participation in the development of the new environmental rehabilitation industry.
The Project takes its name from the national symbol of the United States a species almost lost as a result of the same environmental degradation that now threatens man.
Project Eagle will be funded and managed by the National Trust for the Environment , a tax-exempt, non-profit, national public-benefit, corporation, supported initially by contributions from American industry and managed by private and public sector scientists experienced 1 n multi-disciplinary, system-oriented environmental research.
Project Eagle Goals
The rate of utilization of nonrenewable resources, and the degradation of renewable resources mandates a massive reordering of the American resource economy. By the year 2000, it is probable that we must achieve an economy in which most of our production is recycled. The question before the American people today is whether this development will be accomplished by massive governmental intervention or by the orderly evolution of American industry within the free enterprise system.
The leadership responsibilities for such a restructuring of our national, natural resource economy are now scattered among federal and state agencies, universities, individual corporations and industrial associations. It is clear that this continued diffusion of leadership and dilution of initiative cannot meet the timetable imposed by the reality of the environmental crisis.
A National Trust for the Environment
The National Trust for the Environment, through its implementation of Project Eagle, will mobilize the rich resources of scientific, technical and administrative skill traditionally separated from each other in the universities, industry and government.
The unique nature of the National Trust al lows it to unify the human and technological resources of these disparate communities, and to mount a collective attack on the most complex and vital problem to ever face mankind —the protection of a beneficent environment. The very act of bringing together talented, concerned individuals who could otherwise be working on environment problems in isolation or not at all is in itself an immediate advance.
The National Trust will stimulate additional environmental research through the encouragement, guidance and funding of new problem-oriented research groups and provide a central clearing-house for information related to the environment. The enormous administrative capability of American industry will be made available to environmental scientists nationwide through the National Trust.
The Project Eagle Program
Phase 1 will cost approximately $100,000 and should be completed in 90 days. It involves the establishment of the National Trust for the Environment as the agency to receive and distribute funds, and a proposal review panel independent of those applying for research support. The proposal review panel must be experienced in the management of research on complex systems and in the stimulation of multi-disciplinary programs capable of cooperation across regional and administrative boundaries. One important activity during Phase 1 will be preparation of the general proposal to industry for the broad financial underwriting of the work of Phase 2 and Phase 3.
The second phase will consist of funding as soon as possible selected programs that qualify under the criteria for support from the National Trust. Interdisciplinary programs in environmental health, pollutant transport analysis, development of systems methods and studies of regional evironmental, social, and psychological deterioration currently proposed, but with no immediate possibility of support through existing agencies, will require $10 million during the remainder of 1970.
The third phase will begin in 1971 and represents the scaling-up of Project Eagle to support many interinstitutional, regional centers mobilizing scientists toward solution of all aspects of the environmental and economic problems from the reorientation of our economy towards one that is less wasteful of resources, yet still provides a higher quality-of-life. At least 70 to 100 centers across the U.S. will be needed, each one budgeted in the range of $ 1 million to $2 million per year. Representative programs at the regional centers will include:
- Studies of regional processes such as urbanization, land abandonment, population migration, atmospheric contamination and water quality changes. These studies will take advantage of modern remote sensing capabilities and provide many of the rate constants needed for simulations of regional economics.
- .Detailed description of the variables in the environmental, social and biological systems and the processes by which their state values change. The development of equations describing such relations and computer simulation of the responses expected up to 20-50 years in the future.
- Establishing strategy for monitoring secondary effects of new chemical additives in the environment (e.g. DDT as related to thin egg shells and, ultimately, population declines in certain birds).
- Studies of the interaction of human beings and their environment and the limitations of human beings and other animals to tolerate atmospheric and other environmental additives. The goal must be the realization of the full measure of maintenance and protection of human health.
- Examination of the psychological adaptation of man to the environment and to technological change by exploration of the relationships between the rate of technological change, population density, incidence and type of mental disorders, geographic mobility, cultural values and the psychological meanings of work.
- Development of methods of regional planning which take into account the ecological factors, as well as the social, economic and political factors involved in development; a quality-of-life approach to regional planning.
- Development and implementation of data collection, storage and retrieval methods, systems modeling, and optimization, for use in the identification of interrelations among environmental variables and the development of criteria for choice on which decision-makers can act.
- Establishment of educational programs in environmental science, which will incorporate the results and experience derived from the research undertaken through Project Eagle.
Facilities and Operations
The human and physical facilities for the implementation of Project Eagle already exist in industry, universities and government. The National Trust for the Environment through Project Eagle would coordinate these resources in a unified effort to reverse environmental degradation and develop methods of environmental rehabilitation.
Coordination of existing scattered research groups would replace the present competitive, repetitive, wasteful fragmentation of research effort.
Since Project Eagle is an emergency mobilization, existing physical facilities would be utilized wherever possible and initial action will be influenced by:
- Existing surveys of remaining nonrenewable resources, waste buildup, air and water degradation, and an assessment of the timetable over the present decade during which the first phase of changeover to a recycling resource economy must be accomplished.
- Existing progress in integrated studies of complex systems, such as the Analysis of Ecosystems Program of the International Biological Program.
- The existing techniques, data and manpower in both the public and private sector which at present are unable to join forces in remedial steps for rehabilitating the environment and a wasteful resource economy.
The ad hoc sponsoring committee
The proposal for Project Eagle and the National Trust for the Environment represents the work of the ad hoc Committee listed below.
Robert Cancro, MD, Research psychiatrist, The Menninger ·Foundation, Visiting Professor of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Orie Loucks, PhD, Professor of Botany, Coordinator, Lake Wingra Project, IBP, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Ian Marceau, PhD, Agricultural economist, leader, large-scale planning group, ILLIAC IV Project, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Professor Ian McHarg, Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
John Rankin, MD, Professor and Chairman of Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison.
Lawrence Slobodkin, PhD, Director, Evolution and Ecology Program, State University of New York Stony Brook.
Daniel Slotnick, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Director, ILLIAC IV Project, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign .
Victor John Yannacone, jr., Attorney,
Project Eagle is being discussed with numerous other senior scientists in the United States, and those wishing to join in its sponsorship are invited to do so. Persons interested in Project Eagle may contact any of the above individuals.