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Dawson colleague Les Edelman’s role with the U.S. Clean Water Act

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

Fifty years ago this week, the U.S. Clean Water Act became law and few people know more about this landmark law than our Dawson colleague Les Edelman. Les drafted much of the Clean Water Act when he was counsel to the House Committee on Public Works and Transportation (now Transportation and Infrastructure). He subsequently served nearly 20 years as Chief Counsel to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Les has been a valued member of Dawson & Associates since our founding in 1997 and it’s always good to see his contributions recognized. This week, E&E News highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and Les’ contribution to this law. The article by E&E’s well-regarded reporter Hannah Northey notes:

Lester Edelman, former counsel on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee’s Democratic side[, said,] “We would have been really, really moving into the agriculture committees’ jurisdictions. There’s just so much you can do, and part of the job of working on new legislation is to be cognizant of what you can and can’t do.”

Edelman, now a senior counsel at the Washington, D.C., consulting firm Dawson & Associates, said authors of the legislation didn’t want to “overload the bill” and narrow its chances of passing. There was also hope that another piece of legislation down the road would tackle the challenge of nonpoint sources of water pollution, he said.

“To me… it was maybe one too far to go,” Edelman said.

For the full article, click here.

Incidentally, in addition to the Clean Water Act of 1972, Les also had a key role in the creation and enactment of:

  • The Clean Water Act of 1977

  • The Airline Deregulation Act

  • The Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act

  • The Uniform Relocation and Real Property Acquisition Act

  • A series of Water Resources Development, Federal Highway, Urban Mass Transportation and Economic Development Acts.

Maj. Gen. (Ret) Rick Stevens

Senior Vice President

A former Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rick joined our firm in 2018.


The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dawson & Associates.


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