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Comment Period Opens for Proposed Rule Related to Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act

USEPA Extends Public Comment Period on Forest Road Stormwater Discharges

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Federal Tug of War Over Controversial WOTUS Rule

capitalThe tug of war over the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) or Clean Water Rule continues, after a Senate vote to overturn a Presidential veto of Congress’ Resolution of Disapproval to repeal the WOTUS rule failed. The late January vote was 52 to 40. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota teamed up with Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Joni Ernst of Iowa, and Roy Blunt of Missouri to lead the effort to override President Barack Obama's veto.

“The EPA’s attempt to expand its reach through the Waters of the U.S. rule is the number one regulatory issue, because of its severe impacts on the private property rights of our farmers, ranchers and businesses across sectors,” said Sen. Hoeven. “Further, there is a fundamental principle about how our government works at stake. The EPA has sought through administrative fiat to seize authority it does not legally possess. While I am disappointed that the override vote failed, I will continue my work to stop this burdensome regulation through the appropriations process.”

Congress passed the Resolution of Disapproval in November 2015, about a month after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a ruling to block the enforcement of WOTUS while lawsuits regarding the Clean Water Rule are addressed by the court system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issued its final Clean Water Rule in late May of 2015 with broad new definitions of the scope of “waters of the United States” that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Critics of the Clean Water Rule say it is contrary to the Congressional intent of the Clean Water Act and it infringes on the ability of the States to regulate their own natural resources. USEPA has repeatedly said the Clean Water Rule only applies to the types of waters that have historically been covered under the Clean Water Act, which does not include most ditches, groundwater, shallow subsurface flows, or tile drains.

If you have questions about how the Clean Water Rule could impact your facilities, planned projects, or existing programs, contact Jeff Hruby, PE, AE2S Civil Practices Director, at Jeff.Hruby@ae2s.com.

 

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