Enforcing the Clean Water Act in the 21st Century: Harnessing the Power of the Public Spotlight (260 kb download), by Clifford Rechtschaffen. White Paper 404, October 2004.
Clifford Rechtschaffen, writing on the Center for American Progress website: "The federal government relies in great measure on state agencies to enforce many of the key provisions of the Clean Water Act, including the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a system by which polluters are issued permits to emit specific quantities of pollution into waterways. The sorry truth is that the system doesn't work very well, and enforcement of NPDES provisions is inadequate. That's the conclusion I'm forced to draw from a survey of state environmental protection agencies I conducted earlier this year."
Writing for SCOTUSBlog, CPR's Lisa Heinzerling discusses the Supreme Court's April 2020 ruling in a Clean Water Act case from Hawaii. The ruling requires a permit when a point source of pollution adds pollutants to navigable waters through groundwater, if the addition of pollutants is "the functional equivalent of a direct discharge" from the source into navigable waters. She writes that "Perhaps the most striking feature of Justice Stephen Breyer's opinion for the majority is its interpretive method. The opinion reads like something from a long-ago period of statutory interpretation, before statutory decisions regularly made the central meaning of complex laws turn on a single word or two and banished legislative purpose to the interpretive fringes."
CPR joined comments opposing nationwide water pollution permits proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers. These permits would result in significant, widespread harm to our nation’s waters and would violate the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.