On May 27, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced the final version of their rule regarding the Waters of the United States (WOTUS).
Under the Clean Water Act, federal jurisdiction applies to “navigable waters.” Unfortunately, this term often leads to confusions regarding the federal jurisdiction of many lakes, rivers, streams, and marshes. According to EPA, the finalized WOTUS rule “ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and predictably determined.” The announced final rule is scheduled to go into effect sixty days after it is published in the Federal Register.The final WOTUS rule faces opposition from those that believe the action exceeds the intended scope of the Clean Water Act. On May 27, 2015 House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued a press release denouncing the rule as a “tyrannical power grab.” Relatedly, on May 12, 2015 the House of Representative voted to require the withdrawal of the final WOTUS rule and require the development of a new rule; similar legislation is pending in the Senate.
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
May 28, 2015