Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE

WARREN G. MAGNUSON, Washington, Chairman JOHN 0. PASTORE, Rhode Island

NORRIS COTTON, New Hampshire A. S. MIKE MONRONEY, Oklahoma

THRUSTON B. MORTON, Kentucky FRANK J. LAUSCHE, Ohio

HUGH SCOTT, Pennsylvania E. L. BARTLETT, Alaska

WINSTON L. PROUTY, Vermont VANCE HARTKE, Indiana

JAMES B. PEARSON, Kansas PHILIP A. HART, Michigan

ROBERT P. GRIFFIN, Michigan HOWARD W. CANNON, Nevada DANIEL B. BREWSTER, Maryland RUSSELL B. LONG, Louisiana FRANK E. MOSS, Utah ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, South Carolina

FREDERICK J. LORDAN, Staff Director

MICHAEL PERTSCHUK, General Counsel
JOHN N. NASSIKAS, Assistant General Counsel

DANIEL B. MARKEL, Staff Counsel

[blocks in formation]

RELATING TO WEATHER MODIFICATION

FRIDAY, JUNE 14, 1968

U.S. SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,

Washington, D.C. The committee met at 10 a.m., in room 162, of the Federal Court House Building, Denver, Colo., Hon. Howard W. Cannon presiding.

Present: Senator Cannon.

OPENING STATEMENT BY THIE CHAIRMAN

Senator Cannon. The hearing will come to order.

This is the first hearing held by the Senate Committee on Commerce during the 90th Congress on pending bills to advance weather modification programs. The bills are S. 373, a bill to provide what would be an effective and coordinated national program in weather modification; and S. 2058, a bill that may be of particular interest to this area, which proposes to provide a practical weather modification program for the Upper Colorado River Basin.

S. 373 is similar to S. 2916 of the 89th Congress, which passed the Senate late in the second session, too late for action in the House of Representatives. Many of you will recall that hearings on previous weather modification bills were held here in Denver on March 30 and April 1, 1966. Several of those scheduled to testify at today's hearing were also important witnesses at the hearing here 2 years ago.

We are honored today to have with us the distinguished Senator from Colorado, Hon. Peter Dominick, who will be the first witness. The Senator is the author of bill S. 2058, which he introduced in June 1967, and he is a cosponsor of S. 373 with Senator Magnuson, Senator Scott, and myself.

Hearings on proposed legislation similar to S. 373 and H.R. 9212 have been held by the Subcommittee on Communications and Power of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce of the House of Representatives, and the bill is now pending before the standing committee.

Weather modification has many aspects. Perhaps the greatest goal of mankind has been to produce moisture, rain or snow, when the normal precipitation is insufficient. A start toward obtaining this objective has been made, as I believe the witnesses here today will confirm, but there is still much to be done and a long way to go. Congress has been alerted to the need to increase precipitation, particularly in the West, for nearly three-quarters of a century. In 1890 it provided funds for experiments in producing rainfall by floating balloons in the clouds. In mid-Texas, where they were made, these tests were discouraging, although light patterns of rain for 20 to 30 minutes were known. The tests were abandoned in 1893. Today, in Soviet Russia, antiaircraft guns are battering clouds with projectiles charged with silver iodide, and the U.S.S.R. claims that in one area last year 15 hail focuses were destroyed by antiaircraft shells. Perhaps we should take that report with a grain of salt. We do not project that method in the bills before us today.

Use of silver iodide crystals was borrowed from us in the 1946 experiments by the late Dr. Vincent Shaffer of the State University of New York. A few months earlier Dr. Shaffer produced snowfall by dropping 6 pounds of dry ice from an airplane over an altocumulus in Massachusetts. In every Congress since then bills have been introduced relating to weather modification. Many of these fell by the wayside, but in the 83d Congress, 15 years ago, legislation was enacted to create a committee to study and evaluate public and private experiments. The 84th Congress established the advisory committee on weather control for 2 years, and the 85th Congress enacted legislation to provide for an experimental research program in cloud modification. Incidentally, the above bills originated in the Senate.

The 1958 act, now 10 years old, is still the basic authority for administrative activities in the field of weather modification, and this in turn has limited the potential effectiveness of scientists engaged in weather modification research activities.

At the hearings which I conducted in Washington in 1966, in my opening remarks I touched on the inadequacy of the program under existing law and I listed these as, (a) frustration of the attempt in Public Law 85–510 of 1958 to centralize responsibilities; (6) failure to develop conclusive results on the effects of cloud seeding; (c) a failure to develop proper designs for experiments and evaluation; (d) a failure to develop a coherent program on goals; and (e) a failure to study inadvertent weather modifications, such as increased air pollution and the social, economic, legal, and international implications of weather and climate modification.

These are inadequacies which are indeed to be corrected, and to assure correction of legislative action is necessary. Whether S. 373 will accomplish this or S. 2058 will be effective in this region is a matter for congressional determination. These hearings are held to assist the Congress to make that determination.

During the past 10 years the scientific community and the administration have not been dilatory in carrying out their mission to conduct an experimental program in weather modification. In 1963 the Committee on Atmospheric Science of the National Academy of Science appointed a committee on weather modification to undertake a deliberate and thoughtful review of the present status of activities in this field and of its potential limitations for the future. The panel of 14 distinguished scientists did this, and the report and recommendations are available from the National Academy.

In 1964, the Director of the National Science Foundation appointed a special Commission on Weather Modification, and this Commission and its seven subgroups also made a valuable contribution.

In 1966 the Interdepartmental Committee on Atmospheric Sciences of the Federal Council for Science and Technology appointed a select

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »