A key piece of environmental legislation became law on this date 40 years ago. Known as the Water Pollution Control Act, the bill was vetoed by President Richard Nixon because of its $25 billion price tag. This veto was overridden by Congress. The law was later amended and is now known as the Clean Water Act. The goal is controlling the discharge of toxic waste into the nation’s waterways. In its first 20 years, the Clean Water Act is estimated to have prevented more than 200,000 premature deaths. Preliminary figures show another 160,000 saved from 1990 to 2010. Each year, there are some 3,400 toxic chemical releases across the U.S. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
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