Rulings drain protections for state waterways

Supreme Court decisions and the Bush years limited the Clean Water Act’s scope, but guidelines are changing.

By Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

An analysis by Trout Unlimited, a sportsmen’s group, of 500 discharges found that a quarter of them were on nonperennial streams.

“Those plants could make an argument they are no longer under the Clean Water Act,” said Melinda Kassen, a Trout Unlimited attorney. “We have to be careful we don’t treat our streams and rivers as industrial sewers.”


2 Responses to Rulings drain protections for state waterways

  1. ahrcanum says:

    If the EPA did its job of enforcement there would be little to discuss. Instead, the Obama admin wants control over everything considered wet.

    • tomkrol says:

      The Clean Water Act was enacted in the 1970’s – under a repulbican president. Its foundation was the Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972 (Nixon) followed by the Clean Water Act in 1977 (Carter). Two recent Supreme Court Decisions have essentially stripped the CWA of some of its most important protections. One example, depending on interpretation of the changes: a perenial stream – one that doesn’t flow year round – is no longer protected by the Clean Water Act. So, I could go dump motor oil, fertilzer or rocket fuel in a “dry gulch” – and while I might be persecuted by the county for littering, I wouldn’t be violating the Clean Water Act…. even though next spring, or during the next thunderstorm, the stuff I dumped will make its way into a stream, or someone’s well water. We need the Clean Water Reauthorization Act so the EPA can do its job. And they’ll do much better than the past administration, whose original chief adminstrator, Christine Todd Whitman (the former Republican Governor of New Jersey) quit rather than preside over an EPA that was prevented from doing its job by you know who..

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