The days when rivers were used as open sewers for industrial and human wastes are long past, thanks to the Clean Water Act. Yes, believe it or not, at one point in our fine nation’s history it was actually okay to just dump all our trash in our streams and brooks! But in 1972, the government launched a massive effort to clean up the nation's water, and the endeavor has been an amazing success. And while for the most part, our waters are cleaner, many of our most pristine streams have, in many cases, become more polluted because of so-called “non-point” forms of pollution.
“Non-point" pollution comes from more varied sources that are harder to control: storm-water runoff that carries oils, salt and sediment off of pavement during rainstorms; and erosion that carries off productive soil and scours out streams, leaving them shallow, hot and inhospitable to fish. What’s worst is that nonpoint sources of pollution are growing more numerous, as suburban sprawls continue to sprout up everywhere. Now the Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC) is demanding that the EPA do something about it.
Granted, for several years the Environmental Protection has been tackling non-point pollution through a "Phase 2" of the Clean Water Act, but the Daily Green reveals that the EPA had quietly written real estate development and construction out of its regulations. The NRDC sued, citing that these omitted tycoons are some of the greatest polluters and must be held accountable. Thursday, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the environmental group and against the EPA. Now developers too must comply with the Clean Water Act.
That's great news for the nation's streams, its fish and anyone who cares about the quality of our environment.
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