June 25, 2006
In passing the Clean Water Act in 1972, Congress set a goal of making all American lakes and streams "fishable and swimmable" within a dozen years. Thirty-four years later, America is still chasing that dream. As demonstrated lamentably in Philadelphia during the last two weeks with Wissahickon Creek, industrial pollution and untreated sewage discharges still plague streams, killing fish and endangering human health and drinking water. Nationally, more than 3,700 major facilities - 62 percent - polluted more than their Clean Water Act permit allowed at least once in 2003 and 2004, according to a March report by PennEnvironment.
December 27, 2012
Joan Mulhern, 51, a forceful advocate for the environment who lobbied Congress and often rallied public support to sway lawmakers to her cause, died Dec. 18 of liver disease at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington. Her death was relayed by a sister, Marie Mulhern. Ms. Mulhern had been the senior legislative counsel for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law firm, since 1999. She fought repeated attempts by Congress to limit the scope of the Clean Water Act and battled coal companies and government officials over mountaintop-removal coal mining, in which mountains are blasted away to create strip mines.
April 16, 2016
By Joseph M. Manko In recent weeks, the issue of safe drinking water has been unusually conspicuous, thanks to headlines emanating from Flint, Mich., and elsewhere. Philadelphians have good reason to be proud of their city's robust tradition of watershed protection and commitment to providing safe, top-quality drinking water. That commitment was first made 200 years ago, when the city's government, business, and community leaders decided on an innovative plan to create a public waterworks system that would guarantee safe drinking water for the citizens of Philadelphia.
April 6, 2004 |
In the early 1970s, a set of visionary politicians came together to draft one of our nation's cornerstone environmental and public health laws - the Clean Water Act. While the act has made strides in cleaning up America's waterways, we are far from realizing its original vision. About 39 percent of our rivers and 46 percent of our lakes are still too polluted for fishing and swimming. A central reason is that industrial and municipal facilities are discharging pollution in violation of their Clean Water Act permits.
October 17, 1997 |
It was a heads-up - and a celebration. Some of the Delaware River's most determined defenders marshaled at Penn's Landing yesterday to call for renewed steps to keep toxics, sewage and other contaminants out of the region's streams. Environmental groups said continued action was needed to protect the Delaware, the Schuylkill and other rivers, 25 years after the Clean Water Act pumped money and attention into once-grossly polluted waterways. "There was a time in the not-too-distant past that the river was so polluted, its waters darkened ship hulls, caused their paint to peel and clogged ship engine cooling systems," said Maya van Rossum, riverkeeper for the Delaware.
March 23, 1995 |
The federal Clean Water Act yesterday became the next battlefield in the House Republicans' campaign to reduce the impact of regulations on local government and business. Rep. Bud Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, presented a 260-page set of amendments, saying that that 1972 law - which protects surface waters from pollution - had created "unacceptable costs and regulatory burdens. " Shuster, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said his panel will vote on the bill in two weeks.
November 9, 1986
In vetoing the Clean Water Act, President Reagan criticized its price tag: $18 billion spread over eight years. He wanted a $6 billion authorization. But was cost the reason he rejected a bill passed unanimously by Congress, a bill that writes the conclusion to a remarkable environmental success story, a lean bill that by all accounts is the best he can get from Capitol Hill? The answer is no. Mr. Reagan and his close advisers, Chief of Staff Donald T. Regan and Budget Director James C. Miller 3d, remain ideologically bound to the idea that the federal government has no role in improving the environment.
December 2, 1987 |
The Supreme Court, handing a setback to environmentalists, ruled unanimously yesterday that private citizens and groups may not sue polluters for damages for past violations of the U.S. Clean Water Act. Environmentalists said the decision would hamper their efforts to combat water polluters during periods of weak government enforcement. The ruling focused on a provision of the Clean Water Act of 1972, which gives citizens the authority to sue polluters when the government chooses not to do so. But, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote yesterday for the Supreme Court, citizen suits are intended to stop continuing water pollution, not to remedy past violations.
March 22, 1990 |
Existing federal legislation, combined with new local enforcement powers, will make noncompliance with the federal water-pollution law an expensive proposition for industries in Horsham and other municipalities. Under a proposed ordinance, industries that exceed limits for releases of certain chemicals would be fined by the municipality's sewer authorities up to $6,000 for each day of noncompliance. Horsham's council is likely to approve the ordinance at its meeting, April 9, according to council President James F. Owens.
February 21, 2006
It's become so common, Americans sometimes seem blase when they hear about development plans that might threaten the environment. But court arguments to be made today that could impact every swamp, bog and canal in the nation deserve close attention. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear two Michigan cases involving attempts to fill in wetlands to build a shopping center and condominiums. The stakes of the cases are enormous. The justices will clarify the 1972 Clean Water Act. Historically, the United States has undervalued the ability of wetlands to filter pollutants, absorb floodwater, cleanse drinking water, shelter birds and wildlife, and provide recreation.