WOTUS Withdrawal Notice Published in Federal Register

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have formally published their proposal to withdraw the 2015 Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction rule in the July 27th Federal Register.  This action starts a 30-day clock for public comments on the repeal – comments are due on August 28th.  Many organizations are saying that the comment period is too short and calling for an extension.
As proposed, the repeal formally reinstates Bush-era guidance and prior administrations’ rulemakings for determining the scope of the water law; in essence, the standards that are already in effect.  This is the first of a two-part process that scraps the 2015 rule and then determines a new policy on Federal authority under the CWA.  The second part will be a notice-and-comment rulemaking in which EPA and the USACE will conduct a re-evaluation of the definition of “waters of the United States.”  Those limits are expected to be much narrower than those in WOTUS.