The passage of a pollution law often occasions celebration, but a recent incident on Maine's Prestile River (SCORECARD, July 22) demonstrates just how ineffective and vainglorious this legislation can be. The Prestile is being contaminated by a potato processing plant. The Attorney General's office has called the stream "an open sewer," and a health hazard—decaying fish and maggots litter the banks. Yet the only charge the state of Maine can bring against the factory owner is that he is creating a public nuisance. "Our pollution statutes are virtually worthless," Maine's Assistant Attorney General Robert Fuller admitted last week.
In the guise of further pollution control the current legislature has, in effect, given industry an exemption from pollution suits until 1976. In addition, firms established prior to August 1953 have an automatic license to empty their wastes into rivers. Industries built subsequently must obtain a permit from the state to dump material into Maine's waters, but once the permit has been granted it cannot be revoked. The industry has a free hand. "Nowhere in the statutes does it say anything about violating such licenses," Fuller says.
Maine is not the only state with worthless pollution laws. Another example is Michigan. Detroit's pollution cases are tried in traffic court, and fines are minuscule. In Lansing recently a Michigan state commission condemned five communities for pollution. The commission ordered the city of Saginaw to stop discharging inadequately treated sewage into the Saginaw River by June 1, 1971. The other four towns were given more severe deadlines. They were told to comply by 1970.
The whole thing smells, doesn't it?
A substance has been developed that apparently can hop up a racing yacht or rowing shell. The compound, called Poly-Ox, is said to increase the speed of a top-class rowing eight over a regulation 2,000-meter course by as much as 40 seconds. It costs about $24 a race to stimulate a shell with the substance, which acts as a drag reducer. It is carried inside the shell and oozes out steadily through holes in the hull. After tank tests proved the effectiveness of Poly-Ox the secretary of Britain's Amateur Rowing Association declared: "This is merely a method of doping the boats rather than the oarsmen. It must be stopped quickly; otherwise it will be picked up for use in the Olympics."
IN THE CELLAR
When Gene Wiley was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1962, Coach Fred Schaus described him as "the closest thing to Bill Russell to come into the NBA in the past six seasons." Probably the praise of the 6'10" Negro was too lavish, but Wiley did become starting center on the team. When he injured his knee three years ago he was dropped by the Lakers. In a comeback effort last year he failed to make it with the Oakland Oaks of the ABA, and his playing days were over. Since then Wiley—who spent four years at Wichita State in the Missouri Valley Conference—has had trouble getting a job, but he has finally landed steady employment in a position associated with sport: he is a janitor at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
GRAY FLANNEL FOOTBALL
Southern Methodist University is trying harder to compete with the Dallas Cowboys for the football dollar. SMU has gone to the Madison Avenue of Dallas and hired the Tracy-Locke agency to run SMU up the flagpole and see if anybody cheers—and pays for season tickets. The ad campaign, which is said to be the first such college effort in football history, will cost $40,000 and will be paid for by a group of downtown businessmen.
The first ad, three-quarters of a page, appeared last week in Dallas sports pages. It was headed: SMU THREW MORE PASSES PER GAME  IN '67 THAN ANY OTHER DALLAS TEAM—AND COMPLETED MORE [18.9] TOO. This was a needle in the pigskin of the Cowboys. In fact, SMU completed more passes (57.2%) than any pro team except the Baltimore Colts (58%). The Cowboys' record: an average of 29.7 passes thrown per game, 15 completed.