The Clean Water Act and the Ocean: An Unfulfilled Promise
Kentucky Journal of Equine, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Law (Symposium; Forthcoming)
32 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 3, 2022
When Congress in 1972 significantly amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to create the regulatory programs of what we now know as the Clean Water Act, it set an ambitious goal “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters”—including the ocean that surrounds much of the United States. Nevertheless, while the Act clearly applies to the ocean, it many ways it fails the ocean, and for a variety of reasons. This essay explores a variety of the Clean Water Act’s intersections with the ocean, emphasizing that Congress and the EPA should be updating the Act to better address both the continuing and the emerging water quality challenges that the ocean faces.
Keywords: Clean Water Act, Federal Water Pollution Control Act, ocean, coast, climate change, ocean acidification, nutrients, dead zones, HABs, hypoxic zones
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