The Environmental Protection Agency is ramping up its efforts to enforce the Clean Water Act and to hold violators more accountable. Environmental groups and many Democratic lawmakers applaud the plan, noting that CWA enforcement eased during the Bush administration. But industry groups caution that simply increasing the number of citations and using a “one-size-fits-all” approach could prove counterproductive and might not lead to the common goal of better water quality.
At an Oct. 15 hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson outlined an “action plan” to improve compliance and enforcement. “We are falling short of this administration’s expectations for the effectiveness of our clean-water enforcement programs,” she said. One out of every four of the largest Clean Water Act dischargers had significant violations in 2008, she said.