Clean Water Rule Update

MRNRC_Heron_credit Paul Lepisto
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to conduct two rulemakings to repeal and replace the Clean Water Rule, which is also known as the “waters of the United States” rule. The rule was finalized by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers in May 2015. It clarifies which streams and wetlands receive federal protection under the Clean Water Act to protect them from pollution and destruction.

However, the rule has been tied up in legal challenges since it was enacted. The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether it will review the issue of which federal court should hear cases opposing the rule.

Legal experts believe the Trump administration will have a tough time replacing the Clean Water Rule.

It’s expected that the administration will base any new rule on former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States case, which would dramatically reduce the waters that fall under the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction.

The League believes the Clean Water Rule is fundamentally and scientifically sound, and we will continue to be engaged as this legal and legislative process moves forward.