Locus Focus on 11/19/12
THE CLEAN WATER ACT TURNS 40
In 1972, two thirds of America’s lakes, rivers, and coastal water were considered unfit for fishing or swimming. That year Congress passed the Clean Water Act (and overrode President Nixon’s Veto) in an overwhelming show of bipartisan support. Leading up to the passage of the Clean Water Act, dumping raw sewage into rivers and lakes was standard practice, 26 million fish died from contamination in one lake in Florida, and the Cuyahoga River flowing through Cleveland repeatedly caught fire. The Clean Water Act reversed these destructive trends, ended the rampant discharge of pollutants into waters, cleaned up the bulk of the pollution sources that impaired our nation's waters, and profoundly transformed how Americans value and enjoy water. But on its fortieth anniversary, the Clean Water Act finds itself under constant assault by congressional Republicans.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Jon Devine, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council's Water Program, about what we need to do to ensure that the Clean Water Act continues to be supported - implemented - despite ongoing attacks from conservative forces in Congress and the media.
Jon Devine is a senior attorney with NRDC’s water program and he leads the clean water solutions team. His work focuses on implementing, defending, and strengthening Clean Water Act core programs. Jon specializes on the legal scope of the Clean Water Act; runoff pollution and the use of green infrastructure; water quality and nutrient pollution in the Mississippi River Basin; and mountaintop removal coal mining and its impacts on bodies of water in Appalachia.