On November 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (“the Agencies”) announced the signing of a proposed rule to revise the definition of “waters of the United States,” commonly referred to as WOTUS. The rule will define the means by which the Agencies define and delineate wetlands subject to Clean Water Act regulation and jurisdiction. Many organizations involved in the real estate development industry are opposed to the proposed rule. Those in the environmental community are in support of the proposed rule.
This proposal marks a key milestone in the regulatory process announced in June, 2021 by the Biden administration. The Agencies reevaluation of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), adopted during, and through the efforts of, the Trump administration. The NWPR narrowed the preceding WOTUS definition in June 2020. The proposed rule follows issuance of Biden administration’s directives and the Agencies’ decision to initiate rulemaking to return WOTUS to the pre-2015 regulations.The proposed rule would greatly expand federal jurisdiction and include additional areas as defined as wetlands subject to Clean Water Act jurisdiction. On December 7, 2021, the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. The Agencies now propose to put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States.”
For more information, please contact attorney John Fumero at the firm.