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EPA, Army Corps Release Revised WOTUS Rule

Monday, December 17, 2018

(North American Meat Institute)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army proposed a revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The agencies’ proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The proposed definition would replace the approach in the 2015 Rule and the pre-2015 regulations.

Specifically, under the proposal, federal protections would remain for major waterways, rivers, tributaries, wetlands adjacent to federally protected waterways, certain lakes and ponds, reservoirs and ditches used for navigation or affected by the tide. States would oversee most ditches, terrain that fills with water during or in response to rainfall, certain wetlands that have been used to grow crops, stormwater control ponds and water and wastewater treatment systems. Groundwater would not be federally protected. The 2015 rule is in effect in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The law firm Faegre Baker Daniels prepared a memorandum explaining the proposal.

Public comments on the proposed rule will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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