Last year around this time, we updated our subscribers on the EPA’s new proposed Waters of the U.S. ruling. Not surprisingly, there is still no final rule, and maybe for good reason.
The EPA administrator recently apologized during the National Farmers Union for how they handled the proposed, new definition of Waters of the U.S. The EPA was bombarded with more than one million comments on the rule due to its unclear language, removing some exemptions for normal farming and ranching activities, among many other issues. In response to the criticism on the proposed rule, Congress directed the EPA to withdraw an interpretive document addressing certain exemptions to the Clean Water Act.
As a result, there have been no changes to the exemptions. However, it’s still unclear when the final definition of Waters of the U.S. will be released and what exactly will constitute a jurisdictional waterbody. Earlier this month, the EPA sent a draft of the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget for interagency review, but it’s unknown when the final rule will be officially released. We’ll keep you up-to-date on any new changes and how they may affect our industry.