September 12, 2019 - EPA and Army sign final rule to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule
EPA and Army announced today the signing of a final rule (Step 1 Final Rule) to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule and restore the regulatory regime that existed prior to the 2015 Rule. Today's Step 1 Final Rule is in keeping with President Trump’s Executive Order 13778, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” Prior to today's rule, a patchwork of regulations existed across the country as a result of various judicial decisions enjoining the 2015 Clean Water Rule. Today's final rule reestablishes national consistency across the country by returning all jurisdictions to the longstanding regulatory framework that existed prior to the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which many regulatory agencies, States, Tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public are familiar with. This final rule also provides regulatory certainty, while the agencies engage in the second step of rule making (Step 2 Proposed Rule) to revise the definition of "waters of the U.S."
The Step 2 Proposed Rule was published in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019, and public comments were received through April 15, 2019. EPA and Army are currently reviewing more than 600,000 comments received before taking final action.
For more information on the "Waters of the U.S" rule making, please visit http://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule. For questions about a pending jurisdictional determination or permit, we ask that you contact your local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Regulatory Office. Office information can be found at http://regulatory-ops.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/.
June 10, 2019 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as part of an interagency effort with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service, announces the draft biennial update to the National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) for 2018 in the Federal Register. The Corps encourages public input in the form of data, comments, literature references, or field experiences, to help clarify the status of the species reviewed for this update, as well as public input on the NWPL process. The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed update or addition of wetland indicator status ratings for 20 plant species in select Corps wetland regions. These 20 reviewed species and their draft 2018 wetland ratings by region, as well as the FR notice, can be viewed at the NWPL homepage, http://wetland-plants.usace.army.mil/nwpl_static/v33/home/home.html under “2018 NWPL Update Information.” A link to provide general or species-specific comments is also available at this location. Users are encouraged to submit literature citations, herbaria records, experiential references, monitoring data, and other relevant information. Specific knowledge of, or studies related to, individual species are particularly helpful. Commenters should use their regional botanical and ecological expertise, field observations, reviews of the most recent indicator status information, appropriate botanical literature, floras, herbarium specimens with notation of habitat and associated species, habit data, relevant studies, and historic list information. Guessing ratings is inappropriate. All submitted comments and information will be compiled and sent to the National Panel for their consideration.
The Corps is also seeking comments on the NWPL update process. Detailed information on the update process, protocol, and technical issues can be found in the following documents (available on the NWPL Publications web page referenced above):
1) Lichvar, Robert W. and Minkin, Paul. Concepts and Procedures for Updating the National Wetland Plant List. Sept 2008. ERDC/CRREL TN-08-3
2) Lichvar, Robert W. and Gillrich, Jennifer J. Final Protocol for Assigning Wetland Indicator Status Ratings during National Wetland Plant List Update. Sept 2011. ERDC/CRREL TN-11-1
February 14, 2019 - Public Notice Announcing Federal Register Publication of Proposed New Definition of "Waters of the United States"
February 14, 2019 - EPA and Army publish proposed revised "waters of the United States" definition. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army announced today the publishing in the Federal Register of the proposed new definition of "waters of the United States" that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act. The notice is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/14/2019-00791/revised-definition-of-waters-of-the-united-states. The agencies' proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of "waters of the United States" consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled "Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule." The publishing of the proposal and outreach efforts were delayed due to the lapse in appropriations for EPA. Today's notice begins a 60-day public comment period that will close on April 15, 2019. EPA and the Army will hold an informational webcast on February 14, 2019, and will host a listening session on the proposed rule in Kansas City, KS, on February 27-28, 2019. Information, including supporting analyses and fact sheets, are available at: https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise and https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.
January 7, 2019 - EPA and Army Postpone Public Hearing on Proposed New "Waters of the United States" Definition. Due to the lapse in appropriations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), EPA and the Department of the Army (Army) have postponed the planned January 23 public hearing on the proposed new "Waters of the United States" definition until after appropriations have passed to fund the EPA. Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register is also postponed. Information on the status of the public hearing will be posted on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/epa-and-army-postpone-public-hearing-proposed-new-waters-united-states-definition.