“Waters of the U.S.” proposal released by EPA, Army Corps of Engineers

March 31, 2014

WASHINGTON — The proposed rule will clarify the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction over streams and wetlands.

WASHINGTON — On March 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the release of a proposed rule clarifying the scope of Clean Water Act jurisdiction over streams and wetlands, according to a press release.

The proposed rule "does not protect any new types of waters that have not historically been covered under the Clean Water Act and is consistent with the Supreme Court’s more narrow reading of Clean Water Act jurisdiction," noted the release.

Protected waters include most seasonal and rain-dependent streams and adjacent wetlands, reported the release, and where connectivity to downstream waterways is less certain, waters will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The proposal was met with strong criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who took particular issue with its definition of streams and "intermittent" waters, continued the release, while many Democrats on Capitol Hill reacted positively to the proposed rule, arguing that it would allow the government to stop pollutants from entering the sources of drinking water for millions of Americans.

According to the release, the controversy is not expected to diminish in the months ahead as EPA and the Army Corps work on moving the proposed rule through to final promulgation, and once the proposal is published in the Federal Register, stakeholders will have 90 days to submit comments for consideration as the rule is finalized.

Read the full release here.

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