By Mark Muller – The McKnight Foundation Blog – It All Starts with Science – July 23, 2014
Sometimes the gift of hindsight makes history appear less complicated than it actually was. Much of the environmental progress of the 1970s now seems obvious, and not just to traditional environmentalists — after all, few people would regret the steps taken to reverse the Mississippi River’s status as a “cesspool.” The quality of life and public health benefits of cleaner lakes and rivers are clear, and the onus placed on the polluting corporations and wastewater treatment plants now seems minimal. Yet this environmental progress doesn’t happen without important debate about the impact that regulatory tools have on jobs and the tax base, as well as general concerns about government overreach and the effectiveness of regulation. This was certainly true with the 1972 Clean Water Act, the landmark piece of water legislation that remains the most important regulatory protection for lakes and rivers. For full blog post, click here.