Clean water act

The 1972 Clean Water Act protects all our nation's waterways from pollution. The Act's original intent was to totally eliminate chemical discharges into our lakes, rivers and streams by 1985. The Clean Water Act gives our EPA broad jurisdiction in setting water quality standards. It enforces these standards by penalizing those responsible for pollution, and helping states construct water treatment facilities. However, for the past few decades, the quality of our nation’s waters has gotten worse not better. Several years ago the EPA reported that the majority of our streams can't support healthy aquatic life, saying 55% of our waterways are in “poor” condition and another 23% are just “fair.” Only 21% of our rivers are considered “good” and “healthy.”

Advocates claim the Trump administration advanced a pro-polluter agenda that exempted 50 million acres of wetlands and a million miles of small rivers and streams from protection of the Clean Water Act. But more importantly they say is that, over the decades, special interest groups have successfully whittled away the protections of this Act and it therefore needs to be updated. They claim we need to develop new regulations to ensure Clean Water Act’s protection of rivers, streams and wetlands are based on the best available science, and whose implementation will not degrade water quality, contaminate drinking water or increase the risk of flooding.

Proposed Legislation: Reintroduction of H.R.6745 - Clean Water for All Act (116th Congress 2019-2020)
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR)

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May 22, 2023
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May 28, 2023

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