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Lake Erie's Death Termed Result of Free Enterprise

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"Lake Erie died for what makes America great," Dr. Henry Regier, noted University of Toronto limnologist, biologist and pollution fighter, said here yesterday. He and other prominent figures concerned with environmental problems in this región, including University PresidentEmeritus Harían Hatcher, addressed an ENACT Teach-In symposium on "Future of the Great Lakes." Speaking before an overflow audience in the Michigan Union Assembly Hall from which many were t'urned away, Regier pointed out that Lake Erie's transformation was largely the result of the American philosophy of rugged individualism and free enterprise involving the right of natural resources exploitation with minimal restraint. "Lake Erie died because it was overloaded with stresses." It was an accidental d e a t h which came out of "the American dream." Regier noted that "death is a transformation process" with other forms of life succeeding that which has died. In the case of Lake Erie it has been lower, less desirable forms of fish life replacing h i g h e r forms which are unable to adapt to polluted waters with low oxygen levéis. Regier credited Ann Arbor with being the birth place and cornerstone of the "concern for ecology" movement. He tioned the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, the Department- of Natural Resources Institute for Fisheries Research and the University of Michigan here as the pioneering units concerned with saving the natural resources of the región. Punctuating his talk with sharp phrases, he singled out the late Dr. John Van Osten and the late Dr. James Moffett, both formerly associated with the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries in Ann Arbor, for special praise in connection with early work in the field. "Political reasons are in back of trying to get the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries out of this área. It would be a tremendous catastrophe from the viewpoint of the Canadians if the bureau is removed from this región," Regier said. He said it could result in "10 years of just hanging on and going no place." The Canadian scientist blasted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for "efficiently causing the death of many fish communities." He said the construction of the Weiland Canal allowed the sea lamprey to enter the Great Lakes and destroy the lake trout and white fish populations in Lakes Michigan and Hurón, but that the transportation industry andother industries benefiting from it have never feit any obligation to contribute to the cost of the battle against the lamprey. The losses to the economy from the sea lamprey "have never been charged against the Weiland Canal," he said. Pointing out that he was not as optmistic as the preceding speaker, Dr. Hatcher, Regier said, "I don't know of any way we have of knowing if we have triggered already the collapse of the biosphere - at least in this prospect of doom we have Dr. Hatcher's faith." The former U-M president said, "I do not despair," saying "citizens have become aware of the problems" and "we have methods of accumulating knowledge on hpw to proceed." He called the statement by Henry Ford II that his firm would do everything possible to fight pollution as a "landmark" in the battle. Hatcher said that "for the I first time in our national 1 ry the youth of our country I have become concerned" about I the environment "I think this is one (concern I for the environment) that has I bitten so deeply into the I science that it won't be shoved aside like the 'great society' President Johnson first proposed here in Ann Arbor but I that lost out because of the Vietnam War," he said. Hatcher, who is now presidentoftheGreatLakes Megalopolis Research Project, said, however, that too little money is being spent on the fight for a qualii.y environment. "I think it is significant that in the past two decades, from ' 50 to 95 per cent of our research dollars have been spent on war research. We must spend at least that much effort on the environment." Dr. John C. Ayers, oceanographer with the U-M Institute of Science and Technology Great Lakes Research División said, "Part of our trouble sterns from two previous concepts on the philosophy of water use." These he said are that "everybody has free run of the creek and out of sight, out of mind." He said people and industries using water from the Great Lakes for disposal of waste and for various needs have only thought of them in terms of their own particular needs. "Navigators don't care if the water is good and thick from pollution - it supports heavieri boats. AgricultU'-al users don'tl care" what happens to the fish. I "Waste disposalhas thel capa city to destroy and untill today I had no firm belief thatl any progress had been made inl treatment of waste in the pastj 40years. "In the past we have said dilution is the solution to 1 tion - I say that exclusión is the solution to pollution," Dr. I Ayers said.