Water Protection: The Clean Water Act
There is a law in America called “The Clean Water Act”. In this paper, I will focus on the act and figure out what it is. I will also show how the US government protects clean water, what kinds of policies they have regarding the Clean Water Act, how the executive branch enforces these polices and how we can participate in that. If we want to know more information about the quality of water in the US, we have to figure out what the Clean Water Act is first. Clean Water Act is the principal law governing pollution of the nation’s surface waters. It has another name, which is the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
The purpose of the act is to improve the quality of water; the act has since been expanded and is still being implemented by industries and municipalities. Although it was enacted in 1948, it was totally revised by amendments in 1972 that gave the act its current shape. Early on, the emphasis was on controlling dischargers of conventional pollutants, but now it moves to control of toxic pollutants, which are a key factor of water quality recently. Under this act, federal Jurisdiction is broad, particularly regarding establishment of national tandards or effluent limitations.
The act claims that all discharges into the nation’s waters are unlawful, unless specifically authorized by a permit, which is the act’s principal enforcement tool. The law has civil, criminal, and administrative enforcement provisions and also permits citizen suit enforcement. (“Summary,” 2012) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a government agency concerned with the American environment and its impact on human health, enforces the Clean Water Act. This group is part of the bureaucracy which is in the executive branch to improve ater quality protection and Clean Water Act since 1970.
Although there was a big significant change after EPA took over the Clean Water Act, in 2000 still 40 percent of nation’s waterways were too polluted to swim and fish in because EPA had not paid attention to the wetlands. Therefore, EPA began to emphasize wetlands protection under the Clean Water Act and the applications of the Act were expanded. Under the Clean Water Act, if a factory wants to discharge the regulated chemicals into surface waters, they have to get a permit which the EPA requires polluters to obtain for every hemical they discharge.
The point is that EPA has the power to issue the permit, so EPA plays a good role in the water quality pollution. Not only does EPA deal with the protection of water quality, it also pays attention to cleaning up already polluted waterways. It introduced new rules that encouraged each state to identify dirty waterways and established standards to help eliminate sources of pollution. The each waterway could absorb. Then the states had to decide which waterways needed to reduce pollution. After a series of policies, the water quality in America is getting etter.