EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Propose Improved ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule

AG Fox applauds replacement of flawed 2015 rule blocked by courts

This morning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers proposed a new Waters of the U.S. rule that brings certainty and consistency to how waters are defined in the federal Clean Water Act.

“Today’s proposed rule respects the role of the states in managing land and water resources, whereas the rule proposed by the Obama Administration in 2015 appeared to be more about grabbing power than about protecting water,” Attorney General Fox said. “This time, the EPA and Corps of Engineers listened to the people directly impacted by the regulations and crafted a proposal that makes it much easier for everyone to understand where the Clean Water Act does and does not apply.”

The rule proposed today replaces the 2015 rule, which Montana and other states challenged in federal court as a burdensome regulatory expansion that exceeded the agencies’ legal authority. In October 2015, a federal court agreed and halted implementation of the rule. In 2017, the EPA and Corps began the process of rescinding the 2015 rule.

More information about the new Waters of the U.S. rule and the rulemaking process is available at https://www.epa.gov/wotus-rule.