All of the topics under discussion at this symposium are directly related to public welfare and the quality of life. To be implemented, many of the ideas will require large amounts of public funding. It is appropriate therefore that those elected and entrusted by the public with the task of safeguarding the public's welfare and disbursing public funds wisely, be active participants at this symposium. I congratulate the organizing committee on their foresight and am sure that much lasting good will come from the legislator-technologist interaction. It is a privilege for me to be invited to present a legislator's view of the value of this cooperation. I should say at the outset that, although I plan to talk primarily about sub-surface space, as a legislator, I am interested in all technologies and all ideas that have the potential of improving public well-being. Therefore, many of my remarks will be general in application. My main objective here is to urge communication between technologists and government officials. Unless political forces join with technical experts, public policy cannot be advanced. You should know that legislators are generalists in most subjects, expert in none, and knowledgeable in only a few. If those in government do not understand the problems and potential solutions, there is no way their governing can lead to real progress. Your expertise is needed, and can have a tremendous effect when interwoven with the power of policymakers. In September of 1977, I had the privilege along with five colleagues from the Minnesota Legislature to attend Rockstore 77 here in Stockholm in this very pavilion. I was impressed that there were over 1000 technical experts from 50 different countries that had gathered for a week to discuss, among other subjects, underground disposal of radioactive waste, underground oil and gas storage and, the energy and conservation implications of underground space use. What was obvious and disturbing to the six of us was that we, from just one of the 50 states of the United States, were the only elected officials who took the time to come and hear what the technocrats had to offer. Not one of us is an engineer or has anything closely resembling a degree in engineering. We were all members of a legislative commission that oversees Minnesota's natural resources and dispenses funds to upgrade and enhance the same. Even as lay persons and elected officials, we were interested in the interaction between technology and the policymakers of government. It is imperative for those of us who help set policy in a state or in a country and who hold the power of the purse, to interact with technical experts. This interaction must occur before the pol icy is made, and continue throughout the several forms that policy must adopt before final legislative action occurs. I cannot pretend to be intimately familiar with legislative and policy-making procedures in other countries, but I do believe that there are sufficient similarities in all legislator-technologist exchange situations to make it useful to offer some general observations.

  • The world desperately needs workable technological solutions quickly - the needs differ in the developed and in the developing countries, but they are there.

  • The technology to solve the problem is in most cases, also there. Why is it not applied?

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