Realigning the Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment of Nonpoint Source Pollution

53 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2022

See all articles by Robin Rotman

Robin Rotman

University of Missouri

Ashley Hollis

Lewis & Clark College, Law School, Students

Kathleen Trauth

University of Missouri at Columbia

Date Written: September 9, 2021

Abstract

Nonpoint source pollution is the biggest threat to water quality in the United States today. This Article argues for stronger federal controls over nonpoint source pollution. It begins by examining the history of water quality regulation in the United States, including the passage and amendment of the Clean Water Act and the evolving definition of “navigable waters” over time. The Article then discusses recent rulemaking and litigation developments, including the Clean Water Rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and the County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund case. It offers three recommendations. First, the Article calls for a congressional amendment to the Clean Water Act to require binding controls on nonpoint source pollution. Second, recognizing that an amendment to the Clean Water Act may not be politically viable, it offers an approach for controlling nonpoint source pollution through an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act. Finally, it identifies tools that interested states, local governments, and citizens’ groups can utilize to take action on nonpoint source pollution under existing law. This Article concludes that reductions in nonpoint source pollution will lead to significant improvements in the water quality of our nation’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, and coastal areas, to the benefit of human and environmental health.

Keywords: Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Nonpoint Source Pollution, Navigable Waters, Waters of the United States

Suggested Citation

Rotman, Robin and Hollis, Ashley and Trauth, Kathleen, Realigning the Clean Water Act: Comprehensive Treatment of Nonpoint Source Pollution (September 9, 2021). Ecology Law Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3973708

Robin Rotman (Contact Author)

University of Missouri ( email )

203-H ABNR
1111 E. Rollins Street
Columbia, MO Columbia 65211
United States
573-882-5693 (Phone)

Ashley Hollis

Lewis & Clark College, Law School, Students ( email )

10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States

Kathleen Trauth

University of Missouri at Columbia ( email )

Columbia, MO 65203
United States

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