From The New York Times (Robert B. Sempla Jr.):
Thursday, Oct. 18, marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, a critical turning point in the nation’s efforts to rescue its rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands from centuries of industrial, municipal and agricultural pollution. But what should be a moment of celebration is also a moment of apprehension: Republicans in the House have spent the last two years trying to undercut the law, and should they gain control of the White House and Congress in next month’s elections, they could well succeed.
These same Republicans are either ignorant of their political heritage or have no use for it. Richard Nixon, a savvy Republican who appreciated the raw force behind an environmental movement that had coalesced only two years before around Earth Day, was among those pushing hardest for the law. Nixon sent a clean water bill to Congress, then vetoed the final product on Oct. 17 after it had nearly doubled in size, forcing Congress to override the next day. But he did so on budgetary grounds, not because he objected to its substance. “The pollution of our rivers, lakes and streams degrades the quality of American life,” he said. “Cleaning up the nation’s waterways is a matter of urgent concern to me.”
More Clean Water Act coverage here.