On Dec. 11, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps and Engineers jointly issued a proposal to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” to clarify federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule seeks to provide businesses and landowners with clear definitions of what are and what are not ‘navigable waters.’ ABC President and CEO Michael Bellaman attended the signing ceremony for the rulemaking at the U.S. EPA.

The proposed rule is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS, which comes at the direction of President Trump’s Executive Order, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The agencies had previously proposed to rescind the Obama administration’s 2015 WOTUS final rule and re-codify the regulations that existed prior to the 2015 rule. ABC submitted comments in support of the agencies’ proposed rescission and commented as a member of the Waters Advocacy Coalition. A final rule to rescind the 2015 WOTUS rule is expected to be issued in March 2019. 

The 2015 WOTUS final rule would have dramatically expanded the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country, triggering a substantial increase in permitting requirements and leading to project delays and cost increases for construction.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the proposed rule once it is published in the Federal Register. Additionally, the EPA and Corps announced that they will hold an informational webcast on Jan. 10, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, Kansas, on Jan. 23, 2019.

For more information on the WOTUS rulemaking process, visit the EPA’s website.


Photo courtesy of the U.S. EPA
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman

ABC joined with industry groups to thank the administration for its leadership on WOTUS in a full-page ad that ran in Politico on Dec, 12.