Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Clean Water Act on the Cutting Edge: Climate Change and Water Quality Regulation

Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 24, No. 2, p. 14, Fall 2009

FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 356

5 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2009 Last revised: 28 Oct 2013

Robin Kundis Craig

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: September 18, 2009

Abstract

On January 16, 2009, the EPA agreed to review the Center for Biological Diversity's December 2007 petition requesting that the EPA revise its marine pH water quality criteria pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act to reflect current knowledge about ocean acidification. Ocean acidification is the result of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As a result, the petition and the EPA's response to it raise very basic questions about what, if anything, the Clean Water Act can do about climate change.

This short article first describes how climate change is likely to impact water quality. It then reviews how courts have been linking other environmental statutes to climate change issues, concluding that these intersections highlight three climate change problems: information generation; climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation.

Using the Center for Biological Diversity's petition as a focus, the article then reviews how various aspects of the Clean Water Act are likely to interact with climate change. It concludes that the Clean Water Act is best viewed as a climate change adaptation tool and indeed suggests that the Act may require increased flexibility to respond rationally to climate change impacts on water quality.

Keywords: climate change, Clean Water Act, adaptation, ocean acidification, water quality, pH, temperature, Center for Biological Diversity

Suggested Citation

Craig, Robin Kundis, The Clean Water Act on the Cutting Edge: Climate Change and Water Quality Regulation (September 18, 2009). Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 24, No. 2, p. 14, Fall 2009; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 356. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1357350

Robin Kundis Craig (Contact Author)

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 South University St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-585-5228 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://faculty.utah.edu/u0793211-ROBIN_KUNDIS_CRAIG/biography/index.hml

Paper statistics

Downloads
186
Rank
136,223
Abstract Views
1,338