Nearly a third of all major industrial facilities and state-operated sewage-treatment plants in the U.S. have significantly violated clean water regulations in the last two years, and one out of four operated on an expired pollution permit last year, according to a recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Moreover, relatively few of the noncompliant facilities have faced legal action; the report found that criminal prosecution by the U.S. EPA declined by 53 percent last year (a figure the agency disputes). U.S. PIRG blamed the EPA, state inspectors, and the courts for lax enforcement of the Clean Water Act, paving the way for high levels of illegal dumping of waste and toxic chemicals. The report comes at a time when the Bush administration is considering a plan to reduce federal oversight of a key Clean Water Act anti-pollution program and instead, according to an internal EPA document, “trust states” to clean up their waterways.