- The Washington Times - Friday, June 23, 2000

A vote for the Clean Water Act in 1972 was a vote for clean water, right? Not necessarily. Although the law prescribed almost $1 trillion in water-quality improvements, write two Hudson Institute researchers in the latest issue of Regulation magazine, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "does not have a clue" about the state of America's waters.

Alex Avery and Richard Halpern cite a report this year published by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, titled "Murky Waters Official Water Quality Reports Are All Wet," in which EPA and state agency officials conclude that "the nation's water quality monitoring and assessment system is badly broken … The data simply does [sic] not exist to indicate whether, in fact, the nation's rivers and streams are getting cleaner or more polluted, and why."

The agency itself acknowledges that data in its own water-quality inventory can't be used to measure water-quality trends over time. So, wondered Regulation editors in a headline, "What Are We Paying These Guys For?" Good question.

• CORRECTION: In an editorial titled "Round up the usual Christian suspects" in Thursday's Washington Times, editors misspelled the last name of a Coptic Christian, Shayboub William Arsal. The Times regrets the error.

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