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.

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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

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

[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

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