The ambiguity in the term’s meaning has allowed industries to pollute American waters and be free of jurisdiction. In 2007, for instance, a pipe manufacturer in Alabama was convicted and fined millions of dollars for dumping oil, lead, zinc and other chemicals into a large creek. Since the Supreme Court exempted the waterway from the Clean Water Act, an appellate court overturned the conviction and the fine, and the company agreed to pay a smaller amount and submit to probation.The first question I have to ask is How is this example "free of jurisdiction"? Granted they paid a smaller fine and got probation time, but this is hardly free of jurisdiction. The article also never cites who prosecuted the pipe company. If it was EPA, where was the state of Alabama in this case? I think that if this pollution was such a travesty, Alabama should take responsibility for crafting laws and regulations that don't allow it. If it was in fact Alabama that prosecuted it under the federal Clean Water Act, they should clearly realize the shortomings of this law and craft their own water quality and anti-pollution laws that are as restrictive as they wish. The Alabama folks who are outraged at this situation should be pushing their state to assume authority and responsibility (primacy) for water pollution activity.
Simply handing this important responsibility over to the federal government is risky. Take whatever issue you want - if you don't like what's going on, would you rather fight the federal government or a state or local governement? Which level of government would you rather work with to improve any environmental issue - state or federal? It might look easy and convenient to allow the EPA to step in and regulate this obviously bad situation, but perhaps you should be careful of what you ask for.