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EPA and Army Publish Proposed WOTUS Rule and Announce Public Meetings

EPA and the Army have published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (FR) defining the scope of ‘‘Waters of the United States,” (WOTUS) that are protected under the Clean Water Act. The proposal is being published in response to the January 2020 Executive Order which directed the agencies to review the WOTUS rule promulgated in 2020. The proposed rule generally returns to the familiar pre-2015 definition of waters defined by the longstanding 1986 regulations, with amendments to certain parts of those rules that were informed by Supreme Court case law.

In the proposed rule, the term WOTUS to include: traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and the territorial seas, and their adjacent wetlands; most impoundments; tributaries to traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, the territorial seas, and impoundments that meet either the relatively permanent standard or the significant nexus standard; wetlands adjacent to impoundments and tributaries, that meet either the relatively permanent standard or the significant nexus standard; and ‘‘other waters’’ that meet either the relatively permanent standard or the significant nexus standard. The ‘‘relatively permanent standard’’ means waters that are relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing and waters with a continuous surface connection to such waters. The ‘‘significant nexus standard’’ means waters that either alone or in combination with similarly situated waters in the region, significantly affect the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, or the territorial seas.

To attend and speak at the following virtual public hearings, use the associated registration links.

The due date for comments is February 7, 2022. To submit your comments via https://www.regulations.gov, use Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OW–2021–0602. For more information, read the FR Notice here,  and visit the EPA website.