Preserving "A Fair Chance For a Free People" - Karl E. Mundt

Letter to President Nixon

February 17, 1970

Dear Mr. President:

On Behalf of Senator Mundt – who, as you know, is presently ill – and myself, I want to strongly urge that you now give the go-ahead to the EROS program by authorizing the Bureau of the Budget to release to the Office of Geological Survey the $3 million in additional funds allocated by Congress but now frozen by the Bureau. Senator Mundt initiated the Congressional action for these funds and I strongly supported his effort at the time our committee responded favorably to his request.

The reason for immediate release of the $3 million results, of course, from your action recently taken in granting permission to NASA to launch the ERTS experimental satellite in 1972. It is now imperative that the Department of Interior receive permission to proceed on the EROS program through release of these funds, for the EROS program provides for the processing and use of the data which will be received form the NASA satellite.

RCA has completed a survey for the Department of Interior to determine where a center should be located to receive and process signals from the NASA satellite. This study showed Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to be the optimum site for a variety of reasons of which the most important being that Sioux Falls is part of a rather small geographic area in which reception can be received covering all of the conterminous United States. Location of this center elsewhere, in the South, or along the Eastern Seaboard, for example, would result in sizeable portions of the North American continent including several of the States from being included in the surveys so essential to the success of EROS as a national program.

As an additional point, it should be noted that Sioux Falls has agreed to donate the land and build the building, thus keeping Federal expenditures to a minimum.

The significance of the EROS and ERTS programs to your overall efforts in the important work of environmental control is of such consequence, Mr. President, that I am convinced that this $3 million expenditure release may well pave the way for inestimable amounts of financial return for our Nation. For the sooner these programs are operative, the more quickly will we have some of the answers leading to alleviation of pollution of our waterways, the discovery and control of diseases in plant life (forests and crops), detection more quickly of such dangers as oil slicks and forest fires, plus a multitude of other uses which promise tremendous benefit to our citizenry.

Our good friend Karl cannot join me in making this presentation to you and I only wish it were possible for him to be with me to personally champion this great cause fore resource development. I know that one of his most persuasive arguments would be importance of this EROS program to your own far-sighted efforts in making our environment a more livable and happier place. I join Karl in advancing that point and sincerely urge that you recommend that the Bureau of the Budget release the $3 million for the EROS Program.

With all good wishes and my kindest personal regards, I am Cordially yours,

Milton R. Young

U.S. Senator

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