Clean Water Act 2.0: Rights of Waterways by Linda Sheehan

From October 15, 2012 by Linda Sheehan of Earth Law Center.

In a decisive display of bipartisanship, Congress passed the U.S. Clean Water Act into law on October 18, 1972, overriding President Nixon’s veto. The Act faced significant hurdles; for example, my own, pre-Clean Water Act childhood in Massachusetts included sewage-choked beaches radiating illness toward those brave enough to approach beckoning waves, and industrial waste discharges that poisoned my favorite fishing runs.

The Act responded to such highly visible insults with clear goals: achieve fishable and swimmable waters by 1983, eliminate the discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, and prohibit the discharge of toxic pollutants in toxic amounts. Fueled with funding for essential treatment infrastructure, and catalyzed by citizen lawsuits against major polluters, the Act steadily picked off much of the low-hanging pollution fruit.

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