A special committee has recommended to President Bok that the University take no active steps to prevent construction of a pumped power storage facility on Harvard land at Storm King Mountain near Cornwall, New York.
To build the plant, Consolidated Edison would buy 240 acres of Black Rock Forest, a 3700-acre plot bequeathed to the University in 1949.
In making its recommendation, the committee said that "the issues for and against the Cornwall project have and are being adequately represented by the City of New York, conservation groups and Con Ed and that it is not necessary for Harvard to either endorse or condemn the project."
The report emphasized that the University should confine itself to drawing attention to the unresolved issues of public safety and environmental protection.
It said that the University "should express itself strongly on the matter of additional, industry near the Cornwall project" so that the case would not set a precedent.
The controversy over the Storm King project began in 1962, when Con Ed announced plans to build the facility at the Hudson River location.
The Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference initiated legal action to prevent construction of the generating station in 1963, and in 1965 they successfully appealed the Federal Power Commission's decision to license the project.
Con Ed then decided to build the power station underground and received an FPC license in 1970.
The University committee also recommended to President Bok that a new committee be formed "to consider the future of the Black Rock Forest."
The report stated that "a good end result would be for the Forest to become part of Palisades Interstate Park."
"One way of achieving the end result would be to ask Con Ed to buy the Forest and give most of it to Palisades Park," the report added.
The committee, which convened last May, included Alfred W. Crompton, professor of Biology and director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology; William E. Reifsnyder, professor of Forest Meteorology and Public Health at Yale University; and Richard Wilson, professor of Physics.
The hearing and procedures leading to it became an important application of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1965.