The Evolution of Water Pollution Control in the United States - State, Local, and Federal Efforts, 1789-1972: Part Ii

81 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2004

See all articles by William L. Andreen

William L. Andreen

University of Alabama - School of Law


This is the second article in a two-part series that examines the legal and technological developments, as well as the social and political forces, that culminated in the enactment of one of the landmark statutes of the twentieth century, the Clean Water Act. The first article, which appeared at 22 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 145 (2003), focused on developments at the state and local level. It traced the way in which water pollution progressed from a simple local issue to a complex state and regional problem by the 1920s. The article then turned to the development of state regulation from 1869 to 1972, concentrating on both its innovations and its shortcomings, which were many. This article, Part II, continues the story by exploring the history of federal involvement in water pollution control. The American penchant for turning to the federal government for help in coping with pollution problems is not of recent vintage. This part of the story begins in 1879 with the short-lived National Board of Health, continues through the fascinating attempts to enact a comprehensive federal regulatory scheme during the New Deal, and concludes with a thorough review of the legislative history of the 1972 Clean Water Act. The purpose of the series is to provide those who are concerned about the future of the Clean Water Act with a deeper appreciation of the trends and forces - the historical context - that helped shape this revolutionary statute.

Keywords: Pollution, Water Pollution, Environmental History, Clean Water Act, Environmental Law and Policy, Legal History, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation, Administrative Law

Suggested Citation

Andreen, William L., The Evolution of Water Pollution Control in the United States - State, Local, and Federal Efforts, 1789-1972: Part Ii. Stanford Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 215-294, 2003. Available at SSRN:

William L. Andreen (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States

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