Waters of the United States and the 2015 Clean Water Rule

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By Chris Heck

Discussion on the Clean Water Rule has been going on for years, with debate starting long before the 2015 Clean Water Rule was finalized. Before taking office, President Trump stated that his administration would review and rewrite the rule.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of activity related to the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

On January 22, the Supreme Court ruled that all challenges to the rule must be filed in federal district courts, not in the U.S. Court of Appeals. This decision removed the Sixth Circuit’s nationwide stay of the rule. Litigation continues in several district courts over the legal challenges of the rule.

Just over a week later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a two-year stay in enforcement of the rule as the agency works to recodify and replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Last summer, the EPA proposed a recodification of the rule. NACD participated in the public comment period and our comments can be found here. The EPA is currently reviewing those comments.

While the EPA reviews comments, the agency has also been working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a new clean water rule, that according to Administrator Scott Pruitt, will “revise the definition of waters of the United States.”

Back in June, NACD submitted comments regarding how NACD would like to see a new definition be developed. Our comments can be found here.  The EPA hopes to have a finalized new rule by the end of 2018.

As new information develops, NACD will continue to keep you informed and up to date.

Chris Heck is NACD’s Government Affairs Associate and can be reached by email at chris-heck@nacdnet.org.

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