President Nixon’s veto message for S. 2770, October 17, 1972 Senate Roll Call on the Veto of S. 2770, October 17, 1972
Though President Richard Nixon supported environmental protections, he judged the $24 billion act too costly and vetoed the bill. Having labored for years on the legislation, and convinced of its value, bipartisan majorities in both houses voted to override the veto.
Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
The Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act—part of a series of environmental acts Congress initiated in 1948—was one of the outstanding U.S. legislative achievements of the twentieth century. Intended to reduce pollution of interstate rivers and of surface and underground water, the Clean Water Act of 1972 provided the first effective enforcement of water-quality standards. It was forged in a laborious compromise between divergent House and Senate bills and between concerns of environmentalists and industry. Congress passed it over President Richard Nixon’s veto.