Environmental rollbacks

Other Names:
Regressive environmental legislation

Laws that reduce protection of environment and give industry broad flexibility to comply with regulations regarding pollution.


The Clean Water Act of 1972 has done much to make America's waters fishable and swimmable. It was the most successful of the environmental mandates passed by Congress since Earth Day in 1970. In 1995, the Republicans began a campaign to destroy the network of laws developed over 25 years. The new law would postpone any further improvement in water quality unless it can be proved that the benefits - in health, swimmability, whatever – are worth the cost. The bill would also relax national water quality standards, provide certain industries with further exemptions from whatever pallid laws remained on the books and make voluntary a programme that required states and cities to control storm-water pollution. Not least, it would reverse a 25-year effort to preserve diminishing wetlands, by defining what constitutes a wetland in a way that would lead to a 50-to-70 percent reduction in the US protected wetland areas. That would make millions of acres available to developers and the oil and gas industry.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
J: Problems Under Consideration
Date of last update
07.12.2017 – 15:08 CET