Agencies propose rescinding the Clean Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army, and Army Corps of Engineers (the agencies) are proposing a rule to rescind the Clean Water Rule and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to 2015 defining “waters of the United States” or WOTUS. This proposed rule follows the February 28, 2017, Presidential Executive Order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”

The proposed rule would recodify the identical regulatory text that was in place prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule and that is currently in place as a result of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit's stay of the 2015 rule. Therefore, the agencies indicate that, when final, this action would not change current practice with respect to how the definition applies.

The agencies have also begun deliberations and outreach on the second step in rulemaking involving a re-evaluation and revision of the definition of “waters of the United States” in accordance with the Executive Order.

The pre-publication Federal Register Notice and additional information are available at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.