Volume 25, Number 11 ● August 2, 2017
WOTUS Rule: Rescinded, Rethought, Reissued?
The EPA and Corps of Engineers are pitching out the controversial 2015 WOTUS Rule, recodifying the rules previously in place. Considered very controversial before the rule was finalized, the 2015 rule would have greatly expanded the jurisdiction of the Corps in some parts of the country. The recent announcement in the Federal Register proposes to rescind the 2015 rule and recodify the previous rules, which, due to the legal stay on the 2015 rule, were still in effect. Since its introduction the 2015 rule had been stuck in limbo because of several lawsuits.
Perhaps most interesting in the Federal Register announcement was the notice of intent by the Corps and EPA to “…pursue notice-and-comment rulemaking in which the agencies will conduct a substantive reevaluation of the definition of ‘waters of the United States.’” While this Federal Register announcement does not give any clues as to what the new definition will look like, we anticipate that it will be very different from the 2015 rule implemented under the Obama administration. Stay tuned to Field Notes for the latest as further rulemaking is announced.