Water Quality Issues in the 112th Congress: Oversight and Implementation [July 11, 2011] [open pdf - 263KB]
"Much progress has been made in achieving the ambitious goals that Congress established more than 35 years ago in the Clean Water Act (CWA) to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters. However, long-standing problems persist, and new problems have emerged. Water quality problems are diverse, ranging from pollution runoff from farms and ranches, city streets, and other diffuse or 'nonpoint' sources, to toxic substances discharged from factories and sewage treatment plants. There is little agreement among stakeholders about what solutions are needed and whether new legislation is required to address the nation's remaining water pollution problems. For some time, efforts to comprehensively amend the CWA have stalled as interests have debated whether and exactly how to change the law. Congress has instead focused legislative attention on enacting narrow bills to extend or modify selected CWA programs, but not any comprehensive proposals. […] These issues are likely to be of interest in the 112th Congress, as well. In addition, a number of other CWA issues have drawn interest recently and been the subject of congressional oversight and legislation, with some legislators seeking to support implementation efforts, and others critical of recent regulatory initiatives. Among the topics of possible interest are environmental and economic impacts of Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, federal promulgation of water quality standards in Florida, regulation of surface coal mining activities in Appalachia, and other CWA regulatory actions."
CRS Report for Congress, R41594