When I began my research, I intended to study the role that presidential leadership plays in developing and implementing successful policies and regulations under the Clean Water Act. As I delved into the subject matter, I learned more about the fascinating history of the legislation’s development and passage.
The story of the Clean Water Act is one full of ambition and political intrigue. On one side stood the President, a man who came to loath the environmental movement but understood the political ramifications of successful clean water legislation. On the other stood Senator Edmund Muskie, an ardent environmentalist with his own presidential ambitions. The relationship between these two men, and their competing interests and ideologies, turned a mundane effort to assist local municipalities with sewage treatment into the most sweeping piece of environmental legislation in our nation’s history. While others have cataloged Nixon’s relationship with the environmental movement and Muskie’s meteoric rise, I have attempted to intertwine these narratives. The story of the Clean Water Act is as much about political ambitions and partisan politics as it is about environmental protection. I attempt to capture this story in my fellowship paper.
University of the South