Many states lack money to enforce Clean Water Act

Out of 17 states surveyed, 11 say they do not have the money necessary to fully enforce the Clean Water Act, according to a study by the nonprofit Center for Progressive Regulation. California, for instance, enforces only 23 percent of federal wastewater standards and only 60 percent of storm-water standards. Georgia says it has 20 percent of the money it needs, Wyoming 29 percent. Environmental groups certainly agree that states aren’t doing a good enough job of enforcing the act: Last month, the Environmental Integrity Project said several Great Lakes states were failing to enforce storm-water requirements, and last week, enviro groups sued Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, asking that the U.S. EPA take over regulation of the state’s water pollution. The states that reported to the CPR survey that they have sufficient money for enforcement generally depend more on fees collected from polluters, said survey director Clifford Rechtschaffen of Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He suggested that other states might want to follow their lead.