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EPA Releases Rule to Withdraw WOTUS

July 28, 2017

Fulfilling a portion of an executive order by President Donald Trump, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released a proposal to rescind the Waters of the United States rule that expanded federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The proposal published in the Federal Register on Thursday, July 28 would nix the 2015 WOTUS rule and reinstate the definition of the streams and wetlands subject to federal oversight under the act that existed prior to its finalization. 

The publication of the proposal constitutes the first part of a two-step process to meet the Feb. 28 executive order directing the rule's review. The second step will be “a separate notice and comment rulemaking that will consider developing a new definition" for the extent of federal jurisdiction under the act, say the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a prepublication copy of the proposed rescission.

The embattled regulation was stayed by the 6th Circuit Appeals Court in October 2015. The rule's opponents have said it defined federal jurisdiction too broadly and granted undue control to the government.

NAR will have 30 days to comment on the proposal.