Basics of the Clean Water Act (ELI Summer School, 2023)

June 15, 2023 12:00 pm — 2:00 pm
Webinar Only

Each summer, ELI convenes a complimentary seminar series that offers an introduction to the legal and policy foundations of environmental protection in the United States.

ELI's Summer School is a series of seminars taught by experts in their fields, introducing the audience to important areas of environmental law, including the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), climate change law, energy law, land use law, and environmental justice. Faculty will also incorporate major regulatory and judicial updates to the laws.

Who will benefit: All are welcome. Students and emerging professionals will have unique opportunities to learn, hear updates, ask questions, and network. The series is intended for:

  • undergraduates,
  • law students and graduate students, and
  • working professionals new to or looking for a refresher course in environmental law (such as interns, summer clerks, and associates, or second-career professionals).

Basics of the Clean Water Act

The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1948 was the first major United States legislation targeting water pollution; it was significantly expanded through amendments in 1972 to become what is now commonly recognized as the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Clean Water Act is the primary federal law governing pollution control and regulating quality of the waters of the United States. Though it has achieved vital successes, whether those successes can be sustained and how further progress can be made remain fundamental questions.

This session explores the basics of the Clean Water Act, the progress made to date, and the possible challenges ahead. It will also discuss Sackett v. EPA and the potential consequences for the CWA.

Faculty will explore one of the nation’s most significant and pivotal environmental laws and its development, including:

  • the regulatory and permitting framework for limiting water pollution,
  • the key distinction between point sources and nonpoint sources of pollution,
  • the current definition of “Waters of the United States” under the CWA,
  • and the considerations policymakers face in light of growing demands for water usage with growing energy needs, extreme weather, climate change, and impacts on communities.

Corinne Bell
, Senior Attorney, People & Communities Program, NRDC, Moderator
Camille Pannu, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
Peggy Sanner, Virginia Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

A recording of this session will be posted to this page, usually within three business days of the live event.