A QUESTION OF VALUES
Residents of southwestern Ohio, who have been watching with indifference the efforts of Governor James A. Rhodes to clean up streams that have been polluting Lake Erie in the northern part of the state, now have a new, more sympathetic understanding of the problem. A gorge of dead fish was found recently in the Great Miami River. One observer thought it might have constituted the largest kill of fish in the Ohio Valley in modern times.
Not so much culpable pollution as a combination of factors—drought, waste and impurities that escape into the river even in treated sewage—was blamed for the kill. But if any negligence should be found as a causative factor, the offenders will be punished, according to William Klein, chief chemist-biologist for the Ohio River Valley Sanitation Commission, who warned that "the State of Ohio now means business on the polluting of water and killing fish."
But some wondered if the punishment would be sufficient. Ohio already has pending fines of more than $40,000 as a result of a similar kill earlier this year. The fines were based on the number of fish killed, their market value and punitive factors. But as Norman Meyer, a taxidermist who discovered the Great Miami kill, put it, the fines cannot restore the pleasure lost to fishermen.
"How can you set a value on an eight-hour day of fishing?" Meyer asked.
No one ever has.