EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced recently that US EPA plans to reveal its replacement for the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule, or WOTUS Rule, “in the next thirty days or so.” Wheeler made that pledge at a recent manufacturing summit and has made discussion of the WOTUS rulemaking a staple of his public appearances.
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According to the most recent regulatory Agenda (Spring 2018), EPA initially planned to release the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for its WOTUS replacement in August 2018 and promulgate a Final Rule by September 2019.
A parallel WOTUS rulemaking—which will restore the Clean Water Act definition of “Waters of the United States” to its pre-2015 form—is slated for November 2018.
Texas v. EPA Decision on WOTUS
Last month, a Texas District Court judge presiding over the case Texas v. EPA
(a challenge to EPA’s new 2015 WOTUS Rule) decided to halt implementation of the new requirements in three states: Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
The new WOTUS requirements—which essentially expand the applicability of Clean Water Act programs like SPCC Planning, oil spill notifications, NPDES permitting, stormwater discharge, and dredge-and-fill—are now blocked in 26 states and in effect in the remaining 24.
See the color-coded map here.
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