In the easily forgotten movie What About Bob? the fictional Dr. Leo Marvin achieves celebrity with his book, Baby Steps, in which he advises that no challenge is too great if one can take baby steps toward conquering it.
If that philosophy makes sense to you, you'll be happy to read Lara Beaven's report in Inside EPA about bipartisan legislation to improve certain very specific aspects of the Federal Government's multi-faceted program to protect our nation's water. Ms. Beaven reports that the House version would, for the first time in 30 years, reauthorize the EPA program to address nonpoint source pollution. Of course that begs the question of what exactly is "nonpoint source pollution" in the era of the Supreme Court's "functional equivalence" test and the wave of citizens suits following it.
If you're a "glass is half full" person, you're glad to see any evidence of bipartisanship in Congress, particularly on an environmental issue. Perhaps this is a baby step toward comprehensively refreshing the Federal Clean Water Act as we approach its 50th anniversary, resolving controversies that have gone on for decades, bringing the law into the 21st century, and providing certainty to the regulated community.
The panel also approved H.R. 2008, which reauthorizes for the first time in 30 years EPA’s Clean Water Act (CWA) section 319 program to address nonpoint source pollution, and H.R. 587, which renews an exemption to CWA discharge standards for the Point Loma wastewater treatment plant near San Diego, CA, due to the facility’s unique location that makes it unable to employ more advanced treatment standards.