The standarq story of environmental protection over the twentieth century is one of scattered successes with limited impact until the federal government took steps to solve the most pressing environmental issues. While significant problems remain, federal efforts often made substantial improvements in the nation's air quality and waterways. In the area of water policy before the Clean Water Act, most states had water pollution control programs funded by federal grants that did not successfully improve water quality. By the 1970s, the Americans were becoming more environmentally aware, and Congress realized that a new, more forceful effort was needed to address their concerns.
Gelatt, Andrea, "Persistent Localism: New Haven's Role in Intergovernmental Water Pollution Control and Sewage Treatment Programs" (2005). Student Legal History Papers. Paper 40.