What Can We Expect Following the EPA Repeal of Waters of the U.S. Rule?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on September 12th the finalized repeal of the 2015 rule expanding the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act that limited pollution into surface waters of the U.S. through regulations and permitting. The EPA rule is now expected to cover fewer waterways and narrow existing protections, covering only wetlands adjacent to a major body of water, or ones that are connected to a major waterway by surface water. Opponents of this rule have felt this repeal was long overdue and expect that it will reduce federal permitting requirements for development and industry. HISTORY OF THE RULE Since 1972, the Act has regulated pollutant discharge to surface waters by requiring permitting and regulatory conditions for any industrial polluter, as well as discharges from rural and agricultural landowners and real estate developers. The applicability of the Clean Water Act has been
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WHAT IS going on with WOTUS?

On November 16, 2017 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Agencies) proposed to amend the effective date of the 2015 Clean Water Rule (commonly known as the WOTUS Rule) defining the “waters of the US”. The proposal is to delay the effective date of the Rule until 2020 giving the agencies time to reconsider and revise the definition. The WOTUS Rule, which was originally slated to come into effect in  August 2017, was adopted by the Agencies under the Obama administration in a 2015 Rule titled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of Waters of the United States”. In June 2017, the Agencies proposed to rescind the WOTUS Rule following an executive order under the Trump Administration to review and revise the definition of the “waters of the US”. The WOTUS Rule affords federal protection for about 22 million acres of wetlands and over two million miles
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