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

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

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.

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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.

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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

To remove jurisdiction of thermal discharges to the higher Federal level offers no evident benefits in the public interest, and on the contrary our experience has shown that it will lead to decisionmaking[sic] on the basis of arbitrary formulas without giving proper weight to the local conditions that do affect public interest.

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William S. Lee, Vice President for Engineering, Duke Power Co., on Behalf of Edison Electric 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

Evidence