Need for Greater EPA Leadership in Controlling Nonpoint Source Pollution

T-RCED-91-60: Published: Jun 5, 1991. Publicly Released: Jun 5, 1991.

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GAO discussed the problems inhibiting state and local efforts to control non-point-source pollution. GAO noted that the major barriers impeding state and local government efforts to control non-point-source pollution included: (1) insufficient monitoring data on the scope and impact of the problem and on the effectiveness of potential solutions; (2) insufficient technical information available to the states to set water quality standards for non-point-source pollution; (3) inherent conflicts between some federal agencies' policies and states' water quality goals; (4) limited resources available to state and local governments in comparison with the magnitude of the problem; and (5) the political sensitivities involved in controlling local land uses that indirectly cause water pollution. GAO also noted that: (1) resource constraints made it difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to strengthen its efforts and take a leading role in coping with non-point-source pollution; (2) limited resources allocated to EPA non-point-source control activities reflected an inappropriate emphasis on its point-source pollution control program at the expense of its non-point-source programs; and (3) the proposed EPA budget for fiscal year 1992 would increase the funding imbalance between its point- and non-point-source programs.

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