Lyndon Johnson on Environment
1957: Pushed to dam Snake River at Hells Canyon
Johnson's strategy also required winning western votes. Winning the West should have been easy for Lyndon Johnson. Not only had he, as Senate Leader, consistently been the
West's ally on mineral rights, irrigation and reclamation projects, and other issues important to the region, he had made himself its champion in 1957 by maneuvering through the
Senate the long-stalled authorization for a great federal dam on Hells Canyon on the Snake River that would provide the inexpensive "public power" so vital in the West not only to Oregon and Idaho,
the two states separated by the Snake, but to other western states linked to the dam by long transmission lines.
Source: Passage of Power, by Robert Caro, p. 59
, May 1, 2012
Lyndon focused on conservation; Lady Bird on beautification
Lady Bird Johnson's counterpart to Pres. Johnson's interest in conservation was "beautification," gradually taking over the bulk of her time. The White House had never had a First Lady who took such delight in a sweep of uncluttered hills and swirling
clean rivers, a well-planted urban development or her own plantings.
Over the years, appearance had slowly become a workaday issue in the US. The rampage of junkyards and billboards along the highways, the air and water pollution resulting from
the same attitudes, the physical deterioration of the cities were too obvious to ignore.
The results? In 1965-66, progress was incontestable. The pioneering highway beautification bill, however weakened by Congress, was the law of the land.
Across the nation, Lady Bird was giving heightened status and popularity to appropriations for beautification, and the results had a cash register ring in the multimillions.
Source: Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson, by Eric F. Goldman, p.372-373
, Mar 1, 1974
Focus academics on man's mastery of his environment
The partnership of the Federal Government and the Nation's universities in carrying forward man's quest for knowledge has produced enormous dividends in the past two decades. It has been an enlightened partnership. It must remain so.
Creative research through free inquiry is the working way to new greatness in our society. It can open roads to:
Source: Statement on Federal Grants for Academic Research (APP#522)
, Sep 21, 1965
- man's mastery of his environment,
- sufficient food, water, and energy to sustain the massed population that is making ours a crowded planet,
- the building of corridors linking the earth to the stars,
- ultimate victory over the tragedy of mental and physical afflictions, and
- progress in helping man live in peace with his neighbor.
Green legacy for tomorrow: more parks & open spaces
For over three centuries the beauty of America has sustained our spirit and has enlarged our vision. We must act now to protect this heritage. We must make a massive effort to save the countryside and to establish--as a green legacy for tomorrow--more
large and small parks, more seashores and open spaces than have been created during any other period in our national history.
Source: Pres. Johnson's 1964 State of the Union message to Congress
, Jan 8, 1964
- A new and substantial effort must be made to landscape highways to provide places of relaxation and recreation wherever
our roads run
- Within our cities imaginative programs are needed to landscape streets and to transform open areas into places of beauty and recreation
- We will seek legal power to prevent pollution of our air and water before it happens. We will step
up our effort to control harmful wastes, giving first priority to the cleanup of our most contaminated rivers. We will increase research to learn much more about the control of pollution.
Developing lower Colorado River released men from drudgery
Of all endeavors on which I have worked in public life, I am proudest of the accomplishments in developing the lower Colorado River during the 1930s and 1940s. It is not the damming of the stream or the harnessing of the floods in which
I take pride, but, rather, in the ending of the waste of the region.
The region--so unproductive and insignificant in capacity in my youth--is now a vital part of the national economy and potential.
More important, the wastage of human resources in the whole region has been reduced, if by nothing more than the advent of electricity into homes.
Men and women have been released from the waste of drudgery and toil against the unyielding rock of the Texas hills. This is fulfillment of the true responsibility of government.
Source: Johnson article in The Johnson Story, by B.Mooney, p. xv
, Jun 1, 1958
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Other past presidents on Environment:
Lyndon Johnson on other issues:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
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Page last updated: Oct 16, 2020