EPA Officially Delays WOTUS

Allowing for additional time to develop replacement rule.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) delayed implementation of the controversial Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule until 2020.

“The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation,” said Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator, who spoke directly to his concerns with the rule at NSSGA’s Legislative and Policy forum last fall. EPA plans to propose a revised WOTUS rule in May 2018 with the final rule expected in 2019.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit halted the implementation of the 2015 WOTUS Rule soon after its release in August 2015, as a result of litigation filed by NSSGA, states and other industries. However, the U.S. Supreme Court determined last week that the Sixth Circuit lacked authority to issue that stay and so the rule could go into effect soon in some states without this week’s action from the EPA and Corps.

The 2015 WOTUS rule would have radically expanded federal jurisdiction over dry areas and isolated waters. NSSGA continues to support the administration’s efforts to issue a WOTUS rule that offers clear guidance for operations under the Clean Water Act.