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 impact on industries and farmers of dropping the word 'navigable' from the Clean Water Act] could be catastrophic.

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Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Environment and Energy TV.
05/03/2010 | Full Details | Law(s): Clean Water Act

We feel that the new plant should have equipment installed to abate pollution that meets and exceeds the established standards. If I recognize what you are driving at, company XYZ could come out with a piece of equipment that could be extremely expensive that would eliminate all pollution whatsoever and if I were to agree with your question, that would mean that all of your industry would then have to buy that piece of equipment from company XYZ with the basis against all other companies that are producing pollution equipment. I don’t think that is the objective of free enterprise.

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Donald R. Talbot, The National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution of the Senate Committee on Public Works
04/20/1970 | 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.

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

Laws dealing with complex and technical problems were passed with much emotionalism, little debate, and even less of a data base for support.

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Gary D. Knight, Associate Director for Environment, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce Public Presentations

Evidence