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Thursday, July 5, 2018

EPA Advancing in Assault On Obama-Era Clean Water Rule

From NGI:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers said they plan to repeal, rather than modify, a controversial Obama-era definition of what constitutes Waters of the United States (WOTUS), arguing that the definition has led to regulatory uncertainty and runs afoul of previous rulings by the Supreme Court. 
Opponents of the rule, including the oil and gas industry, worry that WOTUS is so broad that it could be used to include ditches and ruts in dirt roads that capture rainwater. 
In a 93-page supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNPR), EPA and the Army Corps clarified that they plan to repeal the definition -- aka the Clean Water Rule (CWR), which both agencies jointly promulgated in 2015 -- in its entirety. They also proposed to recodify regulations that preceded the CWR. 
Both moves satisfy an executive order President Trump issued in February 2017 for the agencies to review the CWR. The rule outlined what constituted WOTUS and, therefore, protection under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
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