Thirty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, how can we strengthen enforcement of the CWA, increase rates of compliance, and move closer to achieving the statute's un-derlying objectives? This Article argues that legislators and policymakers looking for solutions in this resource-strapped era should harness the power of the public spotlight to enhance enforcement efforts. Part I describes the strong Congressional and public support for vigorous enforcement of the statute. Part II discusses how successfully the NPDES program currently is being implemented by the states and the EPA. The record of performance shows that there are numerous deficiencies in the permitting and enforce-ment programs of many states and that rates of noncompliance by regulated entities are disturbingly high. Part III describes the large resource gap affecting many state NPDES programs, including state enforcement and com-pliance assistance programs. Part IV discusses various spotlighting ap-proaches that can be used to improve enforcement programs. These include (1) shining an EPA spotlight on the enforcement and compliance-related records of regulated firms; (2) shining an EPA spotlight on the performance of state NPDES programs in achieving compliance among regulated firms; and (3) requiring that publicly-traded corporations disclose more enforcement and compliance-related information to investors and the public.
55 Ala. L. Rev. 775 (2004)