EPA and Department of the Army Propose Rule to Rescind WOTUS

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On June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army (Corps) issued notice of the forthcoming publication of their proposed rule to repeal the 2015 Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register in the next few days. 

This is the official next step in the regulatory rulemaking process following the February 28 Executive Order from President Trump. In the EO, the President directed to the EPA to proceed with rescinding or revising the WOTUS rule through the regulatory process and that the new rule should respect the roles of Congress and the states. 

The rulemaking is the first of a two-step process: 

  1. In step one, the EPA and Corps are rescinding and recodifying the 2015 WOTUS rule. This is not a change because 2015 rule is currently stayed by the Sixth Circuit, so the pre-2015 rules remain in effect. This is an interim step to provide “regulatory continuity and clarity” until they complete a second rulemaking process.

  2. In step two, the EPA and Corps will conduct a “substantial re-evaluation of the definition” of WOTUS.

Interested parties now have 30 days to comment on the proposed rule, specifically “whether it is desirable and appropriate to re-codify the status quo as an interim first step pending a substantive rulemaking… and the best way to accomplish it.” The public notice does not seek comment on the merits of the 2015 WOTUS rule.

Posted by Will Flourance at 06/28/2017 11:21:37 AM |