Clean Water Rule Update

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In addition to previously documented efforts to replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule, the Trump administration has now proposed pushing back implementation of the Clean Water Rule for two years if repeal efforts are unsuccessful. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Corps of Engineers said the rule, which was approved in 2015, wouldn't go into effect until two years after the proposal is finalized and published in the Federal Register. That would delay implementation of the rule until sometime in 2020.

The administration said this would give them more time to evaluate what is meant by "waters of the United States." The previously approved rule clarifies which waters and wetlands are protected under the 1972 Clean Water Act. The rule is under a nationwide stay issued by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati as a result of various legal challenges filed over jurisdictional issues connected to the rule.

The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to determine where the legal challenges to the rule should be heard – federal appeals courts or federal district courts. It’s unknown when the Supreme Court will issue a ruling on the jurisdictional issue. A decision could happen anytime between now and the end of June 2018.

The League and many other conservation organizations support the Clean Water Rule. One in three, or 117 million Americans, get their drinking water from waters covered under the Clean Water Rule. These waters also provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife, retain flood water, improve water quality, and increase recreational opportunities for thousands of families across the country. Let your elected officials at all levels know that you support the Clean Water Rule.