On January 23, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) (collectively, “Agencies”) finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which redefines the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA or “Act”). The new rule will go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register, at which point it will almost certainly be challenged. If it is ultimately implemented, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule would significantly affect the way waters (particularly wetlands) are regulated.
The Agencies’ claim that the new rule will clarify and streamline the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS), and therefore, make jurisdictional determinations simpler and more efficient. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule aims to accomplish this by creating certain categories of jurisdictional waters; excluding specific, non-jurisdictional waters; and defining terms to further delimit jurisdictional waters. For further insights into what this new rule may mean for the regulated community, please see our latest Client Update.