Murray State celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with “The Clean Water Act—Then—Now—and??” presentation and panel on Oct. 18.
The Murray Environmental Student Society (MESS) hosted the ceremony in the Jesse D. Jones Lecture Hall, the Great Rivers Group and the Sierra Club also worked in the presentation.
The Clean Water Act sets the regulations of pollutants in the waters of the U.S. Proposed in 1948; the act was first called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but was finally reorganized and expanded in 1972. With the help of the act, the Environmental Protection Agency has been able to implement pollution control programs and water qualities for contaminants in surface waters.
Shelby Hall, sophomore and MESS member from Louisville, Ky., said she was interested in how the act was going to help improve the local water ways in the future.
“I do want to learn more about what plans are for the conservation of water,” Hall said. “I also came, though, to learn more about what the Clean Water Act has done in the past for areas like Land between the Lakes.”
Hall said events like the panel are important due to their educational factors. She said she feels the Clean Water Act is important for everyone because of its wide-spread influence.
The panel consisted of clean water enthusiasts David Dubrock, Charles McIntire, Billy Nelms, James Townsend, John Walker, Maggie Morgan, Hank Graddy and Howard Whiteman. The hostess for the evening was Dianna Riddick, spokesperson for the Sierra Club, who opened and closed the presentation.
Before the panel, there were presentations from Hank Graddy, the Boy Scouts of America and student presentations from surrounding middle/elementary schools.
Hank Graddy, member of the LEED council for Kentucky’s environmental agency, spoke at the panel about the act and explained why it was important. Graddy is from Midway, Ky., and a graduate of Washington Lee University. He finished his law degree at the University of Kentucky’s College of Law. Graddy is licensed to practice law in every branch of the judicial system in the country and is one of the forerunners for the Clean Water Act.
Graddy, has spoken at numerous panels across the state for the Clean Water Act’s 40th anniversary, said with the act being, in his opinion, a very important piece of legislation; he hoped to understand why more people aren’t focused on it.
“The clean water act is the only thing protecting the country’s water sources on a national level,” he said. “40 years ago, the U.S. government decided to affirm the necessary role of the citizens. Since then, both streets and streams gradually increased in stability so why are we so quiet about it?”
Graddy said with Kentucky being the state with the most waterways, there are many examples as to how the act has improved the environment. Locally, improvements can be seen at the Louisville and Owensboro waterfronts and how it shows the state change to gray to green.
Story by Samantha Villanuava, Staff writer