EPA Announces Clean Water Rule Rollback

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have begun the process of rescinding the 2015 Clean Water Rule.

The repeal of the 2015 rule and replacement could result in a rollback of Clean Water Act protections for a majority of the nation’s streams and wetlands, including the headwater streams and millions of acres of seasonal wetlands that provide valuable habitat for many species of fish.

There is ample scientific evidence that there are strong and varied physical, chemical, and biological connections between wetlands, headwater streams, and downstream navigable or interstate waters.

This is the first step in a two-step process to repeal and ultimately replace the rule, in accordance with the executive order signed by President Trump in February 2017.  The EPA released the proposed rule in advance of it being published in the Federal Register on June 27.

AFS urges its members to take the opportunity to engage in the regulatory process to repeal and replace the rule so that the well-established science regarding the connectivity of waters and the value of wetlands and the ecosystem services they provide will be appropriately considered in the new rule.

The 2015 rule was developed through a transparent, multi-year rulemaking process that used the best available science and included over 400 stakeholder meetings and an extended public comment period that produced over one million comments.  There will only be a 30-day public comment period for this first step to repeal the 2015 rule from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

AFS will post updates on this process as it unfolds.