The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House Office of Management & Budget to repeal the waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, in accordance with President Donald Trump’s executive order to repeal and replace the rule.
The rule would formally put back in place the 1986 guidance that has governed the federal government’s Clean Water Act determinations.
The American Soybean Assn., said the agencies are working to implement the executive order in a two-step process. According to a PowerPoint used in an EPA’s Federalism Consultation Meeting on the order, this includes:
- “The agencies are taking action to establish the legal status quo in the Code of Federal Regulations by recodifying the regulation that was in place prior to issuance of the clean water rule and that is being implemented now under the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s stay of that rule.”
- “The agencies plan to propose a new definition that would replace the approach in the 2015 clean water rule with one that reflects the principles that (Supreme Court) Justice Scalia outlined in the Rapanos plurality opinion.”
The WOTUS rule is currently still on hold by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals pending a decision as to the venue for the legal challenge from the states. After the White House review, the rule will be officially published, triggering a public comment period. In the meantime, EPA is working on a new rule to define the scope of federal water protections.
EPA is consulting with state and local officials to propose a new rule that is consistent with the executive order. The agency is asking for comments from state and local governments to develop a new definition of WOTUS by June 19, 2017.