Clean Water Act

Clean Water Act

The Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) provides the basis for most American water pollution control laws.  Significantly, the Act regulates releases of pollution and toxic substances into waters of the United States and ensures that surface waters are fit for human recreation.  All waters with a “significant nexus” to “navigable waters of the United States” fall under the prevue of the CWA.  However, the term “significant nexus” has been the subject of great legal debate.  Many believe that nonpoint sources of pollution were intended to be covered by the act as well.  However, to date, these sources (most notably large farms) are not subject to provisions of the CWA.

Cry Wolf Quotes

The general public wants both blue water in the streams and adequate employment for the community. The older plant may not be able to afford the investment in waste treatment facilities necessary to provide blue water; the only alternative may be to shut the operation down. But the employees of the plant and the community cannot afford to have the plant shut down. They cannot afford to lose the employment furnished by the operation.

-
William R. Adams, President, St. Regis Paper Co., on Behalf of the Pulp, Paper & Paperboard Institute (U.S.A.), Inc.; Accompanied by George Boyd, Counsel, Pulp, Paper & Paperboard Institute; and Dr. Malcolm Taylor, Union Bag & Paper Corp., Testimony, Senate Special Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution of the Committee on Public Works.
01/18/1965 | Full Details | Law(s): Clean Water Act

Clean air, land and water are vital to all of us. But so are jobs, food, clothing and housing. We have to weigh the total impact on the environment along with the economic and social costs in order to clean up.

-
Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Arch Booth, Chamber of Commerce Newsletter, May 1973.

Proposed new subsection 10(k) in section 4 of the bill (page 43, line 8), would prohibit the Federal Government from entering into contracts with, or providing financial assistance to, any person whose facilities are not in compliance with water quality standards…..This provision, as written, seems unwieldy. It could not be faithfully carried out without generating a tremendous amount of unnecessary paperwork and inconvenience for all concerned—Federal and State agencies, as well as industry.

-
Peter N. Gammelgard, Senior Vice President for Public and Environmental Affairs, American Petroleum Institute, Testimony, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution of the Senate Committee on Public Works.
04/28/1970 | Full Details | Law(s): Clean Water Act

Effluent taxes are a license to pollute. If the tax is low or moderate there is little incentive to provide treatment prior to discharge. If the tax is too high some firms, because of size, marginal nature or age, may be forced to close. This can, and does, happen under existing water quality programs. But such shutdowns are directly related to water quality. Shutdowns due to effluent taxes which ignore water quality and produce no tangible benefits are economically and socially unacceptable.

-
Edwin A. Locke, Jr., President, American Paper Institute, Testimony, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution of the Senate Committee on Public Works.
06/09/1970 | Full Details | Law(s): Clean Water Act

Evidence