Spectrum: Dave Durenberger discusses political, social and environmental issues

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On this special regional public affairs program, MPR’s Dale Connelly interviews Dave Durenberger, Independent-Republican U.S. senator of Minnesota. Topics include energy, foreign policy, agriculture, and other issues.

Durenberger also answers reporter and listener questions.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:00) Good morning, everyone. The time is 10 a.m. This is Dale Connolly at the Minnesota Public Radio Studios. And st. Paul. Welcome to a special public affairs presentation of Minnesota Public Radio this morning US senator, David durenberger is in our Studios to answer your questions about issues which concern Minnesota and the nation and in just a moment. We're going to be giving you the phone numbers to call to talk to Senator durenberger and ask your questions first. However, we have some weather information at last report around the region here where some temperatures in Rochester. Sunny skies were reported 55 degrees was temperatures with winds out of the north at 14 miles an hour and in Duluth. Sunny skies were reported 48 degrees the temperature there Rochester. We did that one sunny and 55 st. Cloud sunny and 51 in Mankato sunny skies and 53 degrees was the report rain showers in Fargo at last report with 44 degrees sunny and Sioux Falls with 54. There was no report. Word from La Crosse during the past hour and in the Twin Cities the temperature 54 degrees that's 12 degrees on the Celsius scale with sunny skies the report the forecast for our region calls for a clear to partly cloudy skies today a chance of a few isolated showers and thunderstorms throughout the day variable cloudiness is expected with chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow as well with some partial clearing in the northern sections by late tomorrow the highs today and tomorrow will be in the 50s in the North to the 60s in the South and the lows tonight from 35 in the North to the 50s in the south for the Twin Cities. The sun is shining right now and clear to partly cloudy as the forecast for the day with a slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm. The highs will be in the middle 60s variable cloudiness with a chance of showers and thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow the low tonight will be around 50 and the highs tomorrow in the middle 60s. Well, as we said earlier Our Guest this morning is Senator David durenberger and independent republican from the state of Minnesota. And we're inviting listeners to call in with questions for the senator during the next hour first. However, we have Minnesota Public Radio reporters on the line. They have their questions from around the state and our first caller is Mark style of Minnesota Public Radio Station K RS W in Southwestern, Minnesota. Good morning Mark morning (00:02:29) deal. And you got a question for the senator right? I have a question dealing with diesel fuel and spring planting which is really just beginning now last week agriculture secretary Bergland announced the special diesel fuel allocation program, which he said will guarantee Farmers a hundred percent of their fuel needs for spring planting, but at the time the mechanics by which his plan will deliver diesel fuel to agricultural suppliers wasn't really clearly spelled out Senator. Could you tell us all the Carter administration's diesel fuel allocation plan is supposed to work if you think it will work and what you like. See done to ensure Farmers adequate spring planting fuel. (00:03:03) Thanks for the question mark is one that's been asked of Me by a lot of farmers over the last three or four weeks. I can't I can't give you the specifics of the plan because neither the president nor Berglund have made have made them clear to any of us. I assume that they are going to be adding to the present allocation for those those agricultural states that that Carter made a commitment to when he was an Iowa a couple of weeks ago the concern I think that everybody has is the Across the Nation as as we have gone to produce and purchase more diesel-powered automobiles. There's been a substantial drain on the on the supply of diesel fuel. That's that's available. So part of the answer is in increasing the refinery capacity. For for diesel and the other part is ensuring that agriculture gets a preference on on diesel fuel as well. We got helped out a little bit by the fact that a lot of truckers went on strike for some period of time here a month or so ago and that helped keep up the level of diesel fuel in a lot of areas. But right now there's intense competition between agriculture the transportation industry and and and Automobiles for The Limited supply of diesel fuel Senator. Do you think the mechanism can work quickly enough if Farmers need to have their spring planting done in the next couple of weeks and they find that they just don't have the diesel fuel to do it. Can it be supplied that quickly that's a on a nationwide basis. I can't answer that that question one of the big problems that that we face in determining the answer to the question of Supply in this. Called energy crisis that were in is the distribution problem. You will find some parts of the nation in which there are more than adequate supplies of all types of fuel. You'll find others in which unleaded is almost unavailable for parts of every week and you'll find others in which there are substantial shortage of diesel and one of the things that has that has happened to us as we've come on this shortfall in Supply is that we now see some of the inadequacies in our distribution system. Most of these pipelines can carry just about any kind of fuel and somebody has to make the decision in terms of demand at the other end of a pipeline of what they're going to put through it in Minnesota. For example, one of the pipelines from the south is instead of transporting gasoline as it usually does has been transporting crude oil to make up some of the lack of Canadian crew that comes into our Refinery. So the decision Making process has to be a combination of the government's allocation efforts and the decisions that are made by by suppliers at both end of the pipeline. Okay, Senator durenberger. We have Johnny. It's D on the line. Now from station case ECM in Moorhead. Good morning, John. (00:06:19) Good morning, Dale and good morning Senator John. How are you? That's fine Senator about a month ago. I believe you were down in Rochester announcing that you were the federal government was going to begin a flood prevention program in that area as a result of the bat flooding they had last year and of course you're aware of the flooding problems with head in the Red River Valley this spring and in past Springs. In fact, I'm going to read you a few figures here are damages. This year are nearing the hundred million dollar total on both sides of the river and in 1975 in the Red River. Ali we reached a high flood damage of 279 million dollars and over the average the federal government has had to come up with money to help folks with 25 million dollars worth of yearly damage in the valley some areas in Minnesota. For instance in Norman County have been Federal disaster areas 15 out of the past 21 years. I'm wondering if it isn't time for the federal government to consider flood prevention in the valley instead of pouring disaster relief literally down the drain up here. I've heard estimates for instance that considerable impact could be made with a hundred and fifty million dollar investment in small on-farm dams and and size down culverts too slow and controlled the drainage don't you think it's time that we start to look closely at that and maybe spend some money on prevention instead of always on that disaster relief. (00:07:59) Well to be practical about Edge on the time to do it was 20 years ago. That doesn't mean it isn't too late right now, but the costs are going to be so incredible that that it's going to take a long time to get the job done. I the same week that I was in Rochester. I went back to Washington for a couple of days to report on the walk on the Rochester situation then came back up and and went over the Red River Valley and used a helicopter. So I could get in and out of some of the communities that were being isolated and and all the way up and down the the value here the same kind of questions that you just you just ask me. I could go into some of the causes and and and some of the remedies and I but I wouldn't hear them all you state the case very well when you talk about the fact that this is almost an every year occurrence and shouldn't we spend some time on on prevention? I would just suggest that we don't lie. All the blame on on government, but we obviously we have to look to government as a source of bringing people together to find some of the answers. Let me just address first the prevention issue as you fly over that area. As I did as a few weeks ago you find the inadequacies of the traditional throwing up dams along a river just isn't going to work. If you go farther up into Canada, you'll find that in Manitoba. They have they have gone to ring dikes and even some people in the Minnesota side in particular the Pally have done the same thing. They have built Dykes Around The Farmstead not around the farm but Around The Farmstead itself and where those Dykes have been have been well built and they're high enough. They protected The Farmstead from from the flood and I would say in the near term that the best solution in the one that both Ireland's tanglin and I are working on now in the Congress. The best solution is helping the farmers with with ring dike stew. To prevent the substantial Capital losses that they might incur on the flooding of the of The Farmstead. It gives them a place to protect their equipment to protect farm animals that sort of thing but in the long run again get up in the air or look at a geological map and you can see the causes for this for the problems that we have every year we're permitting more and more Wetlands to be drained. So we've just in that old Lake Agassiz there which goes 30 miles or so into Minnesota from the Red River the old geological Lake you can see what we're what we're doing. We drain out the wetlands we drain out all of the natural storage areas for water all of the things that the good Lord put their long time ago to hold back the rain and the snow that he brings us and we've drained them out and drain them down into the Red River and so the farmers along the river are paying the penalty if you will for Decisions that are being made by by others who are who are farther Inland and we're trying to convert wetlands and other drainage areas into the into cornfields. We'd feel soybeans sunflowers, whatever and somehow we've got to get a policy that addresses itself to the incentives to these Farmers not to drain the natural resource areas. One of them is the water Bank program worked very well in effect. It's the government is hell is leasing these these water storage areas from the Farmers on an annual basis as an incentive for them not to plow them up and convert them into cash crop that program went by the board's a few years ago when the pressure was on there were shortages around the world of wheat in particular that program went by the board now, we're trying to get it re-established and I think that's the kind. Incentive in the long run that we need to retain the widest same things true down in Rochester one in addition to just putting up floodwalls. We're also working with the soil conservation service to help farmers build National are natural impoundment areas on their Farm to hold back the water before it ever gets to the streams. Okay, thank you. John. Our next questioner for Center. Durenberger is John Gatto of station que él se in Rochester John. (00:12:30) Good morning. Gentlemen, I guess the senator has pretty well with dressed two different topics that I wanted to touch on this morning the first is and and we'll get right into this. I guess that it has been nearly eleven months now since last year's July flooding through the Rochester area. And as you indicated during this past year there has been legislation that has been proposed for the samba River flood control project. And this has been discussed by Congress considerably. I guess last word had it that that legislation was still in committee. Can you briefly bring us up to date on just where that legislation stand and what the future holds for that purpose of that particular (00:13:10) project? Yeah, the the legislation which is right. Now the only legislation that's in is authorization of the Corps of Engineers. For its part of the the flood control project as soon as the agriculture Department Soil Conservation service side of it clears the Office of Management and budget we will be sponsoring that as sort of a partner with the Corps of Engineers project timing is like this in effect. You're not going to see an approval or disapproval of it until sometime this fall because it's going to be part of the Appropriations process and that doesn't get finally acted on until the end of the end of the Congressional session. But one of the problems that we Face particularly with regard to the core project is that the President Carter has decided that instead of the usual the traditional flood control contribution by the federal government of Haiti or excuse me of ninety percent of the total cost with a local match of 10% He has decided that the Federal Men should only pay 75% of the total cost that local government should pay 20% and he has he has insisted that state governments provide five percent wealth. The Minnesota Legislature is going to go home Monday and you know, they haven't either been asked to nor will they have appropriated their share of this project? If we go by the along with the president's insistence, I think it's a good idea to be explored but knowing the legislative process, we aren't going to get flood control and Rochester if we wait for the concept of State sharing to be fully explored Rochester's been on the cores drawing board since at least 1964 1965. And so our argument simply is, you know, any new proposal that comes along let's consider a state sharing in the in the process but Rochester's an old project. It's one that's desperately needed. It should have been done a long time ago and even though we get that Appropriation out of the Congress this year. You're not going to have a completed flood control project on there until 1988 anyway, because it's that long from start to finish of one of these projects (00:15:33) my okay. My second subject goes back to what we were discussing you just a moment ago. As far as the wetlands program goes you co-sponsored, I guess earlier this week that bill that would increase the federal water Bank payments and extend that coverage to Wetlands and you briefly describe that but one question I wanted to ask it's I guess I understand that the Carter Administration has recommended the elimination of this particular program. Can you maybe talk about that just a little bit explain? Why? (00:16:02) Yeah, I'm sure it's a simple as the old balance the budget theme and eliminate the deficit and cut out money wherever you can and put off until next year anything that you don't think absolutely has to be done this year the most frustrating part of my service in the Congress in the last six months. Has been that nobody wants to look at anything new and no one wants to look at a better way to meet problems. And every question I've been asked this morning is suggesting a newer better a different way to really in the long run save money. Neither The Carter Administration nor I would say the old timers in the senate or the house want to think about new ways of doing things this year. All they talk about is budget cuts. How can we take a hundred million dollars out of here and ten million dollars out of there and that's you know, their interpretation of a message that getting from the public. My interpretation is what the public is saying is, you know, don't just slash here and there from 20 year old programs that aren't working we elected you to spend money wisely. And so what we've been trying to what we've been trying to suggest to the administration is that they look more thoughtfully at the Appropriations process and then what they've been doing, but that isn't their style it won't be their Style. Right and left I can take you through the farmers home Administration that we acted on this past week. I can take you through the small business administration a whole variety of programs in which they're just slashing here and their money out of old programs without suggesting better ways to do it. (00:17:35) Okay. All right. Thank you very much. (00:17:36) Thank you. Thank you John. John Gatto que él se in Rochester. Now, we're going to open up the phone lines. For those of you who would like to call with a question for Senator David durenberger number to call if you live in the Twin Cities, he is 22115500 that's to to 11550. If you live in Minnesota, but outside the metropolitan area. You can give us a call toll free on our wats line that number one 800 695 and reduce one eight hundred six five to ninety seven hundred and before we wait for the phone lines to fill up and they're doing that rapidly Senator. Let me ask you a question about National and Policy at last report last week you were quoted. Well, you weren't quoted but the impression we got from a newspaper article was that you are uncommitted on the salt to agreements has your position changed at all in the past week. No, it has not I've made a commitment to myself and of course to the people that I represent that not to to make a commitment on it until I've actually seen the treaty itself saw to has been in the process of negotiation for the last four or five years. It's language is much more specific than was the language the salt 1 and therefore it's much more significant the president told us that a meeting. I was at a couple weeks ago when he announced the agreement that it would take another three to four weeks before the negotiators would get the specifics of the language put together. And the reason I want to see it. Is that both the issue of equity which is the main argument for salt to in terms of weaponry. And the issue of verification depends very much on both sides understanding of the language of the treaty. So that's that's the reason I wanted to see that naturally. I have some inclinations I've spent intensely the last six months talking to people who are very very familiar both with the arms limitation process and with our foreign policy and I'm sure that I'm not going to be one of these people that walks onto the floor of the Senate uncommitted. I'm quite sure because I'm not going to learn anything from that process. I will learn it from the process that I've been going through now and by sharing information as I've tried to do with the people of this state on the salt to get their inclinations of what they would like to see in the way of arms limitation. Okay, perhaps we'll get some of those inclinations right now. We would ask that when you're asking the senator a question if you could limit yourself to one minute because we do have a lot of people who would like to talk to him and our first caller is on the line. Good morning and have you got a question for Senator? Aaron (00:20:19) Berger, good morning. Yes. My question has to do with Senator Edward Kennedy latest health plan. I understand it places greater Reliance on private insurers in its most recent version and I wondered first Senator. Have you formed any ideas of your own on this? And secondly, how do you write the prospects during this session of the Congress (00:20:43) very good question particularly because I'm going from here to help dedicate st. Paul children's hospital and I'm going to speak briefly to the issue of whether the federal government in its efforts to provide greater access to health care at a lower cost and I'll try to be very brief about it as you well know Ted Kennedy has come a long ways since he first proposed a national health insurance program in effect provided by the federal government with only limited private involvement to the point where today I think he's reflecting the real. That concerns of everybody in this country that the only real good way in a country like ours to achieve the objectives of Quality Healthcare and at a cost that everyone can afford is to work through the competitive side rather than the regulated side of this country in the House of Representatives where a lot of these issues will normally originated particular the revenue issues. I think probably some better thinking is going on in there is no Senate. I'm on the health care subcommittee of Senate Finance. Unfortunately, it's chaired by Herman Talmadge from Georgia who has many other things on his mind right now. And so we have bounced back and forth from the administration's Cost Containment Bill to talmadge's own bill to one that Bob Dole has and frankly, we aren't making any Headway days. I am using my time now to formulate my own plan, which I'm going to be announcing. Being here in the Twin Cities and about 10 days in which I'll introduce some time in June for hearings in the Senate finance committee and in quick summary, what I'm doing is picking up on the Minnesota experience regulated Health Care system is not going to provide our objective. I firmly believe that only in a competitive environment and hard though it may seem to to to appreciate in light of our past experience. I think healthcare can be competitive only in a competitive kind of an environment where we have Alternative Health Care available where we have some consumer choice where we have greater greater burden of responsibility in terms of decision-making on the consumers of health care. Are we going to achieve these objective and I think it can be done. I'm I'm not sure whether the political pressure for Cost Containment is such that a that a mandatory proposal can get through this session of the Congress. I rather doubt it personally, I will It because I think it's counterproductive. Okay, thank you for that question. And we have more callers waiting. Another one is on the line. Good morning, and have you got a question for Senator durenberger? Good morning. (00:23:31) I'm calling from Duluth. I was wondering what your reaction to Wednesday Landslide houseboat on the Alaska landfill was if you would be supporting an environmentally strong bill in the Senate. (00:23:43) Well, thanks for the question because it's really quite important the we have been following the progress of the the legislation on the house side. And also as you might say testing the waters on on the Senate side, I think it's going to be much more difficult to pass the Udall bill or the Senate version of the Udall bill in the United States Senate you may recall when I went to Washington two days after getting elected I made it clear to minnesotans that energy and natural resources were two of the great problems that we've had here in the state both political problems and real problems. And I tried as hard as I could to get on the Senate energy and natural resources committee, but found out I couldn't make it because all of the State senators were lining up to get on that Committee in order to to deal with the Alaska lands issue to deal with issues of rare to I think it's going to be it's going to be an uphill battle on on the Senate side. And I'm really not sure that any bill will come out of this first half of the session I'd it'll probably come out if not this in 1979. It'll have to come out in 1980 but it's going to be a very very difficult Road a hole on the on the Senate side. Okay, 25 minutes after 10 o'clock. We're talking to Senator David durenberger. If you have a question for the senator, you can call us. If you live in the Twin Cities. The number is two to one 15:52 211550. If you live outside the metropolitan area, but with in Minnesota the number 1-800-695-1418 on the line. Good morning. Your question, (00:25:31) good morning. I'm a student at the College of veterinary medicine at the University of Minnesota. And st. Paul and I'm aware that the federal capitation monies are being cut back and Senator. I just like to ask you number one. Do you know exactly what's going to happen to this? Are we going to lose the entire capitation funds and number two, what's your feelings on this? (00:25:53) But thanks for that question. It's an important one that I know you're concerned about but a lot of people don't fully appreciate the significance of we went to the concept of capitation Grants which in effect says that government both federal and state in the case of Minnesota will make grants to medical schools schools of nursing veterinary medicine and so forth in order to facilitate the expansion of educational facilities for the 44 medicine and we went to that about 10 years ago when a lot of reports showed substantial Shortage of healthcare professional skills in this country. A lot of people now are starting to raise questions about the adequacy and then in effect, they have said the capitation program and other programs have supplied us with with plenty of that's plenty of doctors plenty of nurses whatever and now it's time for the federal government to get out of that business and let either the states or the marketplace you as a student for example, make your own decisions about how many people we ought to have in these profession. It came to us strictly as an appropriation issue of the president said I want to get rid of capitation. I looked at the issue and said my gosh, you know, this is not a money issue. This is a public policy issue. What should government's role be in stimulating the number of medical professional and I looked at Minnesota situation in which our legislators policy is to pick up the difference between what the Government puts in and what Minnesota believes should be capitation grants to our medical schools are health professional institutions around the state. So in effect all I would be doing by going along with the president of Shifting the burden from from the nation Nations pocketbook to the pocketbook of minnesotans if I supported him so I opposed him I do though, and I'm we met with the president McGraw the University of Minnesota earlier this week to talk about capitation. I do think it's a subject that requires a good deal of thought. I think that perhaps the capitation system can be reduced but it can only be done on a gradual basis. It can't be done in one year because of the tremendous investment that the University of Minnesota and other institutions have made in providing facilities for you and other students of healthcare. Okay. A lot of callers are waiting. Let's go to another one. Hi, good morning. You're on the air. (00:28:25) Good morning Senator. I'm concerned about. Foreign aid program as it pertains to some of the countries which at one time were considered in the developing Nation category and ever since World War II we've had I think a fairly generous foreign aid program, but I'm wondering now whether some of these countries who may or may not be members of the OPEC group, but nevertheless are now oil exporting countries. And our if I may use the term gouging American the rest of the world whether they still are we on the roles of receiving American foreign aid particularly. It seems to me the Venezuela was one of these countries. (00:29:11) I can't I can't respond respond specifically to the to Venezuela. I do know though that in general depending on your definition of foreign assistance that many countries that are part of OPEC that you would think would be on the road to self. So economic self-sufficiency are still Eating some forms of assistance from this country. Some of them are appropriate and perhaps some of men are inappropriate the ones I think are most appropriate our programs like PL 480 the food for peace program. I think there's a substantial advantage to this country to be to provide surpass our surpluses of Wheat and corn through the pl 480 program and through the amendments to that program in recent years, which have required those same countries in order to qualify for food for peace money to also go out and buy on the on the market additional quantities of wheat corn soybeans and other food products. So that's that's one rather substantial form of foreign assistance that even in these so-called developing countries with their oil base. They still need I've been in some of them in the past. I just came back from Egypt as you know, Egypt is oil. Self-sufficient it's not part of OPEC as you also. Well, no, but the country could not exist without our economic assistance in the form of the pl 480 program and other kinds of economic Assistance programs. Okay. Another caller is online. Good morning. Have you got a question for Senator? (00:30:53) Durenberger? Yes, I do. I'm rather concerned about the energy issue as a lot of people are and I was wondering what the senator feels the legislature's role could be in encouraging people to conserve more energy into be more concerned if you peel that last test the sense. (00:31:12) Okay. Thanks. Thanks for that question. That's that's one that tempts me to talk for the next half hour and that that and I don't want anybody else who's on the line to hang up. Yeah, but I would like to give you because I feel it so strongly an impression of somebody who's been arguing for For recognizing energy as our number one problem for several years not just for the last month. My feeling is that one of the great dangers we face right now is expecting government to do too much or expecting government to do it all in the short term and even to a degree in the long term the solution to the energy crises lies with those of us who caused it and that's 210 million people. Our consumptive appetites are the reason why in this country. We have an energy problem. We looked at the so-called crisis in 73 we found out it was a so-called hoax and we went right back to the business of consuming consuming consuming. Some of us were thoughtful enough though to say gee, you know, electric energy is a problem. And so we did some thermostat setting all the way to the tune of saving NSP about 20 percent of their energy demand just because we own our own were thoughtful enough to do some energy setting or our thermostat setting government didn't have As a lot of tell us to do it. Now. I find in the last few months when I come back to Minnesota and talk to people with automobiles. They are on their own doing a variety of things to save and I you know, my very strong feeling one of the reasons I voted against and for went over and fought in the house does get the house to defeat that rationing plan is that if we expect government to solve our problems for us or impose a system on us, it's going to solve it particularly in the energy area. It isn't going to happen. We ourselves voluntarily. We want to be able to move around we want to be able to heat and air conditioner home. We want all of those objectives, but we therefore I think we are as individuals willing to make those kinds of sacrifices that will ensure an adequate Supply and that means sharing the ride that means buying a more economical car in our next purchase. That means considering perhaps an earth sheltered home that means looking into Alternative forms of energy the whole variety of things that we Individuals can do to reduce our consumption and when you got a good Governor like Al queda who's working to bring all of our best Lots together here in Minnesota. I'd really like to see a lot of these programs done voluntarily on a state basis rather than the federal government trying to move in out. We have to address the issue of decontrol. We have to at the Senate level address the issue of windfall profits taxes. We have to help address the issue of an adequate distribution system in this country, but on the more important and the immediate side the answers lie with you and me and 210 million other people in just curbing our appetites for a while. Is there a fine line there when you're talking about encouraging people to conserve between the government actually providing a solution and showing some leadership and convincing people that there is around the I would say right now the the best role for government is education sharing information. If you know what other what creative I get lots of creative ideas from people. As I move around asking question, but you as you sit in your home and visit with your fellow employees, your sort of span of knowledge is somewhat limited and one of the great things that government can do and it doesn't cost much money to do it is just to share information about how you can conserve the University of Minnesota. Did this little booklet on on Earth sheltered home constructions and they were Deluge by people that wanted the booklet on how to build a nurse sheltered residents and they didn't have the people over there to respond to it. So they went to D OE and ask for some money only $10,000. Do you he's as you know, we spend billions. We don't spend just thousands. We don't have money for it. So some thoughtful person said well start referring all these callers to you. Well all of a sudden T OE found the money and and I think right now that's a tremendous function that government can play a just being the link between people who have ideas and conservation. But don't you think the defeat of that gas rationing plan in the house might have taken away somewhat. Sense of urgency that the government may be trying to bring across to people know the the rationing plan was a was a diversion. You know, that was something that was mandated back in 1975 to get done by May 13th of 1979 and the government just fiddled around until March 1st, when the president, you know, after three years or four years the president finally came out with a plan. He should have come out with a long time ago. So we were under the gun just to do something. It was an untimely gun and I hope nobody in this country sees a direct relationship between that plan and and the energy crisis because it does not exist. We have another caller on the line who is a reporter. I believe Jeff Thomas of the st. Cloud Times. Good morning, (00:36:16) Jeff morning. Hi, Jeff, right? Well, I'd like to ask you first of all, what is the feeling in the Senate the sentiment towards the salt treaties and We do you feel they are legislatively negotiable. Do you feel the house and the Senate should be amending Carter's treaties and and how so what sort of amendments should they be attaching or should they just let it let it float on its on its merits one way or the other. (00:36:50) Okay. The quick answers are to the first undecided into the second. No, but because you're from st. Cloud, which is my hometown, I'll elaborate a little bit I think partly because of the of the shock that most of the Congress went through last year on the Panama Canal treaty, which really got them feeling that the public still was running foreign policy. Most senators are truly undecided on the issue of salt. I personally am impressed with the fact that the SALT Treaty ratification process unlike the Panama Canal is one on which Senators can't deal in a vacuum. They can't They can't just do their conscience regardless of their constituency and I feel I have felt so strongly about the importance of my constituency and my conscience being on the same line on this one that I like other Senators had spent a lot of time sharing information with with people in Minnesota. I don't want people here to be making up their mind before they've seen the treaty either. So I think most people are genuinely undecided because of the significance of this if the SALT Treaty is what the President says it is it take strategic arms limitation out as the main competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and it puts that competition back where it belongs on the economic side on the human rights social side and on the political side and that is very important to this country on the issue of amending. I would prefer not to I'm very very concerned now that I've been in that process that you'll have a lot of politicians The floor of the Senate pretending that their vote is going to save the world. And if only you can change these three words are add this one little Condition. It's going to save the world and all they're doing is posturing for the people back home and and trying to ensure their re-election or something like that if an amendment is truly necessary, I'm going to vote for it, but I recognized in the negotiating process that there's give and take and it's going to be very difficult for us to insist with the present United States. Go back to the negotiating table with a mandate that the Soviet Union do something but we aren't going to do something in return. I think that's only a practical way to look at the process. Okay fine. Another caller is ready and waiting. Good morning and have you got a question for Senator durenberger? (00:39:15) Yes. I'm calling from Minnetonka and current federal law allows television and radio stations to advertise up to one-third of the amount of time of the program. I would like to see a man. Law passed requiring television radio stations to inform the listeners of how much time is going to be spent on commercialization for that program or in the case of radios for for the next hour. What would be my chances? What would be the chances of such a thing being passed in or would it start? (00:39:53) I'm glad you asked that question on public radio rather than commercial, but I'm anxious to see you could do me a big favor and yourself in the long run if if you would if you write to me either in my Minnesota office in the butler Square building or at 3:53 Russell building in Washington DC, which is my Washington office and set out for me both what you've said here and and little bit of your rationale as a as a listener of radio and interviewer of television, and I would be very very happy to explore And I can remember my frustrations particularly watching late night movies and seeing nothing but commercial and then, you know, knowing the value of the kind of listenership that that public radio and public television has I'd be very happy to entertain that that notion and then I appreciate your efforts and in giving me a good feel for for why it would be good public policy to follow on and your suggestion question that would cause a lot of talk. No doubt. Okay, we have another caller on the line waiting and ready to go. Good morning. (00:41:03) Good morning. I'm calling from Minneapolis Senator. There's been some talk of litigation concerning the state's water rights in the BWC a as a result of the legislation passed in the final minutes of last Congress. What are the issues involved? And what is your position on it? And do you see the chance at what do you see the chances of success? (00:41:25) Okay. The issue is a I guess is a very real one and a deals with. What level of government has a right to regulate surface use of waters that lied, totally within the boundaries of a state traditionally? I think we felt that that's a state responsibility in some areas. We've delegated that with certain kinds of lakes two counties or or municipal government here in Minnesota. What the BWC a acted of course was in with regard to certain of the Lakes within the BWC a to to provide by Congressional mandate a restriction on Surface use of those Waters and where it became difficult was where it it provided only half a lake would be would be regulated in the other half would not or where it made that attempt with regard to lakes that were partly in the BWC a and partly out a similar lot of people say that a similar case was litigated a couple of years ago with regard to the voyageurs National Park. But the issue is were somewhat different in that case and and I believe I've great confidence particularly in in the lawyers at DNR here in Minnesota have been around a long time. There are basically good judgment. I know this is not a this isn't a political lawsuit. It's not a delaying tactic. It's a it's a genuine issue that needs to be resolved so that it doesn't come up again with regard to some other land and water use decision in the state of Minnesota and particularly because of the volatility of the passage of the BWC a I do think it's important to litigate the issue and I am confident having talked to the governor having talked to the lawyers involved having talked to everybody else involved that it's not a game. It's not a gimmick. It's there's no politics in this lawsuit. It's really in the genuine interest of the people of this state the country. Okay, fine more callers are waiting to ask Senator Dave durenberger their question. Good morning. You're on the air with the center. (00:43:30) Yes. I'm from Minneapolis manager both you and Senator boschwitz ran on I think it's fair to say a platform indicating some skepticism about nuclear power least hear your opponent was certainly a proponent. What is your position now after Three Mile Island and as you assess the possibility of using Minnesota as a dump for nuclear waste (00:43:56) good. Thanks for the question. I don't know that my position is changed from the one that I had during the campaign. I think nuclear generation of of energy is an important and a necessary part of of our energy future in this country and it's particularly important to Minnesota where you have 30 to 35 percent of all of our electric power generated from nuclear sources. It's absolutely essential nuclear generation was only a limp safety was only a limited. You in my campaign. We spent all of our time talking about waste disposal which was a big problem this country. So what I did two days after Three Mile Island, I went down or three mile River. I went down to Prairie Island at Red Wing and spent a half a day going through nsps nuclear Twin down there talking to the plant manager and all of the people at work looking through their inspection reports trying to get a feel for the safety issue and I came to the conclusion that I was right nuclear generated energy is essential it is important and it and it can be safe whether it is safe is today a matter of speculation and that's why what's being done to determine exactly what went wrong at Three Mile Island what can be done about it what the nrc's role what the utilities roll all of these things need to be addressed as soon as possible on the waste issue. That's when I've been working on for a long time. We spent 10 years or more, I guess internationally trying to find safe geological disposal for nuclear waste and I think you know that 96% of this country's waste comes from the military and only about 4% from utilities Carter also in his efforts to at to restrain nuclear proliferation around the world has invited all of the countries of the world that have nuclear fission nuclear energy waste or military waste to bring it over to this country to dispose of it which creates an even greater problem. I am a strong believer right now of moving strongly towards away from reactor disposal. We don't have yet save geological disposal and we aren't going to get it for some time. So let's not wait around for it. Let's move to away from reactor disposal of the spent rods that are used in the inutility generation. Let's solve the transportation issues that can be solved but let's get on With it so that we don't expand the storage that's taking place today at our Prairie Island that are Monticello's that are close to rivers that are source of water supply you say that nuclear power is important getting light of the the storage question and some of the concerns that are coming after Three Mile Island. What do you see is the future of nuclear power the the future really depends on the way the government and the and the utilities handle Three Mile Island the way they handle the five plants that got shut down a week before Three Mile Island because the question of Earth the possibility of earthquakes the way they handle the Babcock woke Wilcox generators the way they handle all of the questions that are being raised legitimately by the public and by the Press about safety and we have had hearings after hearings after hearings and all of our energy committees trying to drag out the facts and the public has got to keep the pressure on both the politicians and And on the bureaucracy to get all of the answers to the questions because that's the only way we're going to ensure some role for nuclear in our future. What kind of future do you want to see? Well, I think it's an important part of our future. I mean, I don't think we can we can do without it. I don't see us rushing to Coal to oil to all of the other non-renewable resources. And unless we want to deplete our supplies of non-renewable resources in this country. We cannot abandon nuclear generated power, but we can only do it if we answer the questions of safety and of story fine if you're sitting outside the metropolitan area, but with in Minnesota, I believe our wats line is open. You can give us a call toll-free at 1-866-553-2368. Durenberger, right? Now there is someone on the line who wants to do just that. Good morning. Have you got a question? Yeah, (00:48:29) go ahead, please. Yes, I do Senator and burger. Yes, ma'am. I'm wandering I'm concerned. We live in our own home out in Brooklyn Center where senior citizens and we think are all around us. We see people having such a good life and so many blessings, but they're all complaining and wondering if you're turning into a nation of chronic complainers no matter where we go. The parking lots are so full of cars. You can't find a place to put your car high school students are driving their own cards these days but they're all complaining and I remember the last election. I wrote you a note about that were I was waiting and waiting for some candidate to say something good about our state or about our nation, but I never did hear them do it. I think we're going to have to get back to appreciating our state and our government and stop expecting the government to do everything for us and try to take care of ourselves a little more. I was disappointed Senator durenberger to hear you after the day after the election after the entire campaign had been on Cut Federal funding to hear you say and now what we must do and of your steak and Governor Qui and myself is to formula plan to get more federal funds for Minnesota. That disappointed me ma'am. Have you got a question? Yeah, would you're all asking the federal government to cut their spending but we're all expecting everything from the federal government. And how do we explain that? (00:50:05) Yep. Thanks and there are so many things that could be questions. And in what you've said that let me deal with with with the last Statement I can't frankly recall making that statement because that's never been my pain my basic philosophy. One of the things that in context that I may have talked about right after the election is my strong belief in Revenue sharing we live in this country and I in an economy governmental economy. That's a very highly dependent on the income tax and what's happened over the last 10 or 20 years because of inflation and I'm sure you understand those problems is that the income tax is being raised not legitimately or not because we need more taxes, but because the cost of living is going up we are paying more on the inflated part of our income and most of that money is going to the federal government and what I have been a strong champion of for the last 10 12 years since I was in the governor's office with her levander is that when the federal government is draining off all of that income tax local government has a very difficult time the government that's close. The you and the rest of the folks that are doing all the complaining as a very difficult time finding the resources to meet the demands closest to home in the best way possible. And so if I talked about, you know getting more money, what I was talking about is just is this theory of Revenue sharing which is to take take the increase the inflated increase in the federal income tax return it to State and local government without any strings attached not telling anybody how they have to have to spend it. But just return it back to State and local government and permit those governments to make the decisions that need to be made and that's one way to keep the lid on the real estate tax. That's the one way to keep the lid on sales tax the kinds of things that you pay as you make purchases. And so I sure hope that I've never, you know, never made the statement because I know I don't believe it that we need to spend more money and in Minnesota just because we aren't so called getting our fair share. I have a little speech that I From the fellow I used to work for are levantar called. What's right with America that I give as often as I can and trying to get people to think more positively about the government. They need first to think more positively about the politicians that they elect in order to feel good about their government. And that's why my total commitment is to do my best to the senator as I believe that it needs to be done and not to act politically to be very responsive to people like you and others and and always to try to involve people in the process of government so that they don't sit back and complain that government isn't responsive to their need seven minutes before 11 a.m. Minnesota. Senator. David durenberger is answering questions from listeners. We have another one on the line. Good morning. Could you tell us where you're calling from and ask the Senate to your question? (00:53:08) Good morning for the drive coming from Winona. Hi. I'm very concerned with mass transit and I'm wondering what your opinion is and if Give us some information on what's going to happen to the future of our rail system good if the trend is to cut spending on the rail system and it seems that that would be very unwise at this (00:53:26) I agree with you a hundred percent and and went on as a great rail town as well as there's a River Transport town. And and I know that people in that Community are going to care about the future of Transportation. I think it's a great mistake to abandon Railways. I think it's a great mistake to do away with Amtrak systems passenger systems. I think it's a great mistake to rip up rail bed because I know in 10 or 20 years is country's going to be begging to have rail Transportation. Now that we've got the energy crisis upon us more people are starting to think this way. They know that it's more economical to share the ride much more economical economical for people to take trains. Take buses. Take carpools Vans all that sort of thing than it is for everybody to drive their own car. So the energy crisis Way is going to help us think positively about the future of rail. And now the rail industry is going to have to think about more economical ways of doing it. There's no reason why we still have to be running the kinds of rail cars on the kinds of tracks that we had back in the late 1800s in the early nineteen hundreds when my grandfather first went to work for one of the local railroad. I think there's all kinds of efficiencies that can be built into energy efficiencies and other efficiencies can be built in to a rail system in this country. But what we really need now in the whole country of the national Transportation policy something that integrates air rail surface and water and decides who's going to pay what what part of the cost of what parts the producer of the consumer and the government going to share in the cost of Transportation. Okay fine. We have more callers on the line waiting to talk to Senator durenberger. One of them is there now. Hi. Good morning. Where are you calling from? And what's your (00:55:12) question? Good morning Senator. I'm calling from South Minneapolis. (00:55:16) Are you (00:55:17) I was wondering if you could address the question that I think is very important but does not get a lot of conversation these days and I think it very much affects our cost of living High inflation and so forth and that's the general productivity of the of the country at large. I would like to know if you have any feelings about what is being done in the in the Senate if anything concerning this issue in in find out from you what you think is the incentive for business and particularly labor to be more efficient if you got any comments on that. (00:55:52) Yeah, I've got lots and it's sort of like energy would take me a half hour to give you all of them. But I think you put your finger on one of the in addition energy. I think productivity is an issue that has the greatest impact on inflation and has a tremendous impact on our on our export import policies and on a whole variety of things my I guess my basic feeling is it goes back to the the lady from? Center the talked about everybody complaining and nobody doing anything about it everybody turning the government. We have set up governmental standards from for everything from from health and safety where it's very legitimate to the hospital industry in the whole variety of other things. We have we have sort of tried to adopt uniformity to 210 million people and hundreds of thousands of insta private institutions. And I think that's a mistake. I'm a great believer in what's called privatization. I really think the government's role is to set goals and objectives for us in areas where we have common interest but then it's up to the individual and and is private institutions, whether they're for profit institutions or their nonprofit institution to actually deliver the public services that people need to the extent that you rely only on a governmental delivery system. We rely on government to reduce everybody to a common denominator. You do take the incentive out of work. You take the incentive. Out of everything that we do in our society and that's why our productivity keeps going down to the point where I think today is increases tour two and a half percent a year compared to what we see in other countries around the world find another caller is on the line. Good morning. You're on the air. (00:57:30) Thank you. I'm calling from st. Paul. I understand Senator that you supported a bill permitting prayer in public schools. One of the provisions of the bill being that they would not be subject to review by the courts. What is the status of the bill? And what was your reasoning behind that your (00:57:45) support? What if you could restate the question? I'm not sure I got it. (00:57:49) Sure. There was a Bill in Congress permitting prayer in public schools. One of the Peru provisions of the bill being that it would not be reviewed subject to review by the court (00:58:01) good. Thank you. Nope. I got it. It was Jesse Helms amendment to provide for voluntary prayer and to eliminate the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over state or Local District. I am is to provide voluntary prayer I voted for it because I think it's an issue that needs to be considered. I think it's inadequacies. We're in lack of definition of voluntary prayer many of the much of the argument on the floor of the Senate went to the issue of prayer before and after every class. I have seen the major problem with the Supreme Court decision merely to be the total absence of anything with religious connotations in a public building particularly an educational facility. You can't have a Christmas tree in a school. You can't sing A Christmas Carol in a school a variety of issues like this that I that I know Boggle the minds of lots of people. So the real issue here is the definition of voluntary prayer and the basic issue of course is a constitutional issue and that is whether or not we want to keep any mention any practice of religion totally out of The educational side of the upbringing of children and I think it's an issue that needs to be explored as a matter of public policy. Okay fine. That's it. I'm afraid we don't have anymore time Center durenberger. Could we get your office phone number just for those who didn't get through and we'd like to talk to you. All right. I'd love to have people call me at the Minnesota office in particular at 7256111. That's area code six. One two, seven two five six one one one in Washington. It's area code 2022243244. Great. Okay, Senator Dave durenberger. Thank you very much for being with us. This is Minnesota Public Radio listener supported service.


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