EPA, U.S. Army Repeal 2015 Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Ending Regulatory Patchwork

A news release yesterday from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that, “At an event in Washington, D.C., [EPA] Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Department of the Army Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. Jamesannounced that the agencies are repealing a 2015 rule that impermissibly expanded the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. The agencies are also recodifying the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—ending a regulatory patchwork that required implementing two competing Clean Water Act regulations, which has created regulatory uncertainty across the United States.

“‘Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed,’ said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. ‘Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2 – a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders, and developers nationwide.'”

Yesterday’s release added that, “With this final repeal, the agencies will implement the pre-2015 regulations, which are currently in place in more than half of the states, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. The final rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.”

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