June 29, 2017

US Agencies Begin Two–Step Rulemaking Process to Redefine WOTUS Definition

In an effort to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to farmers and businesses, the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Army, and Army Corps of Engineers have taken the first of a two-step process to redefine ‘waters of the U.S.’ (WOTUS). President Trump issued an Executive Order this past February clearing the way for the initiative.

The proposed rule would rescind the change made to the definition by the Obama Administration, re-codifying the regulatory text to language that existed prior to 2015. The process will take some time to complete, partly because it includes a public comment and review period to help reduce the number of expected court challenges. Public comments are due 30 days from the date of the publication of the rulemaking notice, which is expected any day. As of today, the notice has not been published. 

Once finalized, presumably sometime this fall, the agencies will embark on the process of creating a new rule that involves a re-evaluation and revision of the definition of “waters of the United States” in accordance with the Executive Order.

For more information, contact Dennis Nuxoll at (202) 296-0191.