Water Pollution Control Act of 1948

Water Pollution Control Act of 1948

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major law enacted by Congress to address the problems of water pollution in the United States. It did little to control pollution, gave only limited authority to the federal government, and provided an extremely cumbersome enforcement mechanism. In 1972 Congress totally rewrote the act to provide adequate protection for the nation's waters. The legislation applied only to interstate waters, eliminating from protection heavily polluted waters that were wholly contained within one state.

Cry Wolf Quotes

We are a small-town industry. We are the sixth largest industry in the United States, but we are essentially a small-town industry. If a paper mill is shut down, it isn’t the mill and its employees that are affected, but the whole community, and we have hundreds of towns and small communities in the United States that might be liquidated if this weren’t handled in a reasonable manner. That is just a fact, and it is a very real situation to us.

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E. W. Tinker, Executive Secretary of the American Paper and Pulp Association, Testimony, Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Works

At this time, when the Government and the citizens are vitally concerned with the reduction of public expense and when the already overburdened taxpayers are protesting against the continuation of unnecessary taxes, it would be unwise to pass such bills which would launch the Government into the establishment of one more Federal bureau whose maintenance would cost the taxpayers a staggering sum.

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Independent Petroleum Association of America, Mid-Continental Oil and Gas Association, National Petroleum Association and the Western Petroleum Refiners Association, Testimony, House Committee on Public Works.

There are economic variables also. For one or two mills, the sale of a byproduct may help finance a method of treatment, the cost which is otherwise prohibitive. Because the quantities are huge, however, the market for the byproduct is soon saturated; other mills must find some other method. Again, the cost of treatment for one mill may be so great compared to the cost for others as to destroy its ability to compete, resulting in ruin for the investors and migration for the employees.

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E. W. Tinker, Executive Secretary of the American Paper and Pulp Association, Testimony, Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Works

Unequivocally state that to blanket the Nation with a law such as is here proposed, delegating almost despotic power to political officers of the Nation, will work irretrievable loss to the industry which I represent, and will create a threat which cannot but seriously affect the continued production of metals and minerals so essential to the security and prosperity of our people.

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Donald A. Callahan, Wallace, Idaho, Director and Vice President, The American Mining Congress, Idaho Mining Association and the Northwest Mining Association, Testimony, Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on Public Works.