The new rule, which was proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, would codify their interpretation of the Clean Water Act after a 2006 Supreme Court ruling. In addition to navigable waterways, the rule provides EPA protection for certain wetlands and “seasonal and rain-dependent” streams.
The proposal would lead to stricter pollution controls on some of these areas and aims to resolve a long-running legal battle over how to apply the Clean Water Act to the nation’s intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands.
However, this rule could be a major intrusion for municipalities and landowners and a means to expand jurisdiction thereby regulating more property. Many of the new “definitions” are likely to cause more confusion instead of less. And, if enacted in its current form, the new rule could encompass lands that are wet and, in many cases, without beds and banks, as well as associated lowlands and transitional zones between open waters and upland areas.
Under these new definitions, almost any body of water, regardless of how small, could possibly be regulated. That means more projects and activities would be subject to permitting requirements, resulting in possible delays and significant additional costs.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would be extending the comment period for a regulatory proposal to expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. The 90-day comment period, which was set to end on July 21, was extended by an additional 91 days to October 20, following an outcry by a number of groups. The complexity of the proposed rule necessitated a lengthier comment period.
During the public comment period, municipalities, businesses, and citizens have the opportunity to express their concerns about the potential impact of the new proposed rule. So if you want to be heard and potentially sway the final wording of this proposed wide-sweeping rule, speak now. Comments must be received by October 20, 2014
If you are interested in participating in the EPA’s public comment period, contact your congressional representative or send an email to:
or mail comments to:
Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency
Mail Code 2822T
1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20460
Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880