New WOTUS Rule Available for Comment

Headed rice in standing water, LSU photo
Executive decision
Feb 21, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC -- A new rule was published last Wednesday, February 13, to revise the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers definition of what is considered a Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.  The new rule was announced on December 11, 2018, but due to the government shutdown, was not published in the Federal Register until last week.

The 2015 rule was fraught with legal challenges and this action is part of a two-step process to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule initiated by President Trump’s Executive Order 13777 “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.”  The executive order required EPA to review the 2015 rule and rescind or revise it based on consistency with the Scalia opinion in Rapanos v. United States.

USA Rice will provide substantive comments for the industry and encourages our members to provide individual comments of their own.  The 60-day comment period closes April 15 but has the potential to be extended based on calls from environmental groups to allow for a 120-day comment period.