Revitalizing the Clean Water Act
Environment 35: 5
ISSN/ISBN: 0013-9157 Accession: 009964970
Reauthorization of the Clean Water Act would give Congress a chance to respond to the public's demand to restore the health of U.S. aquatic ecosystems. Although impressive progress has been made, the U.S. is still far from reaching the goals of the 1972 Clean Water Act. The most recent (1990) Environmental Protection Agency National Water Quality Inventory found that at least 33 percent of U.S. rivers, 50 percent of its estuaries, and more than 50 percent of its lakes are unsafe for swimming, fishing, and other designated uses. In addition, large proportions of aquatic species, including amphibians, fishes, crayfishes, and mussels, are in jeopardy. Congress must decide how to move beyond merely controlling chemical pollution to protecting the overall biological integrity of U.S. waters.