Drama, scripts, plot twists, and character development are all elements we think of as connected to good movies or television shows; none of these would seem to be promising elements to find in the federal and state process for setting surface water contaminant standards for human health. In fact, the actual process by which water quality standards are set would make a fine miniseries, with outcomes like equity and the health of future generations hanging in the balance until the final denouement.
Steven A. Kolmes is Chair of the University of Portland Environmental Studies Department and occupant of the Rev. John Molter, C.S.C., Chair in Science. His interests are in the areas of combining ethical and scientific analyses in environmental policy discussions, salmon recovery planning, water and air quality issues.
Russell A. Butkus is currently a University of Portland Associate Professor of Theology and Environmental Studies and directs the ethics and policy track of the Environmental Studies Department. His research and teaching interests are in the field of environmental theology and ethics, and he co-authored the recent book Environmental Science and Theology in Dialogue with Steven Kolmes.