Keeping Clean Waters Clean: Making the Clean Water Act’s Antidegradation Policy Work

This Note stresses the importance of making the Clean Water Act’s antidegradation policy work in order to avoid a system of national waters of equally mediocre quality. The Nation’s highest quality and most important waters are not receiving appropriate protection under the Act because the antidegradation policy contains vague definitions, the states fail to review water quality standards every three years and to entertain citizens’ petitions, and the Environmental Protection Agency has not taken an active role in ensuring compliance with federal standards. This Note examines the schemes of the Great Lakes States and Florida and hypothesizes that similar provisions might improve the Clean Water Act’s effectiveness by bolstering the currently stagnant federal antidegradation policy.