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Trump admin finalizes WOTUS applicability date

  • 1.  Trump admin finalizes WOTUS applicability date

    Posted 01-31-2018 05:40 PM


    Trump admin finalizes WOTUS applicability date

    U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a rule that would delay the effective date of the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

    "Today, EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America's farmers and ranchers," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. "The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation."

    The new applicability date will be two years from the rule's listing in the Federal Register, EPA said. For most rules, it's 30 to 60 days after publication depending on whether they are economically significant.

    Pruitt indicated he would sign the finalized rule at a National Association of State Departments of Agriculture conference in Washington this morning.

    An EPA press release said the rule provides clarity "in response to judicial actions that could result in confusion."

    EPA and the Army Corps have been working quickly to get action on the rule - also known as the Waters of the United States rule, or WOTUS - after the Supreme Court stopped a nationwide ban on the Obama-era regulation last week (Greenwire, Jan. 22).

    Environmental groups are already taking shots at the Trump administration's actions.

    "Once again, the administration has defied administrative law by ramming a fatally-flawed rule through in a matter of weeks with no meaningful opportunity for public comment and no rational basis for the delay," National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara said in a statement.

    He added, "The administration has left us no choice but to defend America's waterways in court."

    EPA and the Army Corps pledged today to continue the process of reconsidering the rule while waiting for the new applicability date.

    "We are committed to transparency as we execute the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program. The Army and EPA proposed this rule to provide the regulated public clarity and predictability during the rulemaking process," said Ryan Fisher, acting assistant secretary of the Army for civil works.

    Natalie Mamerow Aff.M.ASCE
    Senior Manager, Federal Government Relations
    Washington DC