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The Clean Water Act 20 Years Later [Paperback]

by Robert W. Adler, Jessica C. Landman, Diane M. Cameron
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 1993 1559632666 978-1559632669 1
Enacted over two decades ago, the Clean Water Act was intended to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation's waters." Responsibility for implementing the Act has fallen on EPA, several interstate agencies, the fifty states, and thousands of local governments. How can the success of such a wide-ranging statute be judged? The authors explore the many and varied issues associated with the complex subject of water quality protection in this assessment of the successes and failures of the Clean Water Act over the past twenty years. In addition to examining traditional indicators of water quality, the authors consider how health concerns of the public have been addressed and present a detailed look at the ecological health of our waters. Taken together, these measures present a far more complete and balanced picture than raw water quality data alone. As well as reviewing past effectiveness, the book includes specific recommendations for the reauthorization of the Act. This balanced and insightful account will surely shape the debate among legislative and policy experts and citizen activists at all levels who are concerned with issues of water quality.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (August 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559632666
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559632669
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,196,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent critical review of progress under CWA. October 27, 1999
Format:Paperback
CWA literature is overwhelming, dense, and confusing. This book is a refreshing change - the progress under the Clean Water Act is presented in a very simple manner. Good for basic technical and legal understanding of the subject. EPA and state-level programs and reports are brilliantly critiqued (no wonder, the book is produced by NRDC!). The text is supported by excellent research of legislative history of the CWA.
Only Chapter 2 (out of 8 chapters) is a little dull. In Chapter 2, the figures could have been more illustrative, and the discussion of numbers could have been livelier. Overall, the most interesting and understandable book on CWA.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good information but an alarmist tone November 3, 2008
Format:Paperback
The Clean Water Act is a landmark of environmental regulation in the United States. Though it is hardly perfect legislation, because of the CWA the Great Lakes, the Potomac River, and many other famous waters are no longer cesspools.

The authors of this book know this but prefer to give us a "Chicken Little" story in which disaster is always coming around the corner. No law, apparently, is good enough to meet the dangers of water pollution that we face.

For example, they present evidence that water pollution from industrial (point) sources has declined while the major increases in pollution come from nonpoint agricultural sources. This seems to me a straightforward argument for being satisfied with the provisions of the CWA while bemoaning the fact that it did not address agricultural sources. Instead, the authors would rather be disappointed in all of the results.

There's a lot of good information in this book, as my example suggests, but the author's attitude toward the successes of the CWA make the tone of the book frustrating. The raw materials of a balanced assessment can be found in this book but the editorialization insists that the sky is falling.
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