University of Minnesota

40-year anniversary of Clean Water Act focus of June 25 Moos lecture

Former EPA executive G. Tracy Mehan III to deliver lecture as part of Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources

June 20, 2012

Forty years ago this autumn, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly overrode President Richard Nixon’s veto and enacted the Clean Water Act. The landmark legislation helped to dramatically reduce pollution from industry and sewage treatment plants that must obtain federal permits to discharge their wastes.

G. Tracy Mehan III, an environmental consultant who was the top water-quality official in the Environmental Protection Agency from 2001 to 2003, will discuss the Clean Water Act’s successes, political obstacles to strengthening the law and other avenues to progress during a free, public lecture beginning 7 p.m., Monday, June 25 at the St. Paul Student Center, 2017 Buford Ave.

The lecture is sponsored by the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and the Freshwater Society. It is titled The Clean Water Act After 40 Years: What Has It Accomplished? How Do We Fulfill Its Promise?

A panel of three Minnesota experts will join Mehan in taking questions from the audience. They are: Sherry Enzler, a research fellow in the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment; Bradley C. Karkkainen, an environmental law professor in the University of Minnesota Law School; and John Linc Stine, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Mehan, an attorney, is a principal in the Cadmus Group, an employee-owned environmental consulting firm based in Arlington, Va.  He served as the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water from 2001-03, directing the agency’s Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water acts programs including permitting, infrastructure finance, wetlands regulation, standards and watershed management. 

Mehan is also an adjunct professor of environmental law at the George Mason University School of Law in Fairfax, Va., and a former member of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board.

The lecture is the eighth in the Moos Family Speaker Series on Water Resources honoring the late Malcolm Moos, president of the university from 1967 to 1974.

The University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences provides education and conducts research in all areas of biology, from molecules to ecosystems, supporting applications in medicine, renewable energy, ecosystem management, agriculture and biotechnology. For more information about research and degree programs, go to

The Freshwater Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring people to value, conserve and protect water resources. Located in Excelsior, Minn., it has a long history of association with the University of Minnesota. Learn more at

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