EPA and Army Corps announce new “waters of the United States” rule

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On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) announced new rule language to replace the Obama Administration’s 2015 Clean Water Rule, which sought to redefine what constitutes “waters of the United States,” the term within the Clean Water Act that controls permitting and regulatory requirements for waterbodies that fall within that definition. The new rule language follows a February 2017 executive order signed by President Trump that directed the EPA and the Army Corps to rescind and replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule. The Trump Administration’s proposed rule language specifically enumerates six categories of waters that fall within the definition of “waters of the United States” (i.e., traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters) and excludes all others that do not fall within these six categories. The EPA and Army Corps will accept public comments on the proposed rule for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register and will hold an informational webcast on January 10, 2019. More information about the proposed rule can be found here.

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