EPA Begins WOTUS Repeal Process
On June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed repealing the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) regulation, which extended the reach of the Federal Government over small waterways throughout the country. The proposal is the first step in a two-step process to repeal the Obama administration regulation, and is returning to a 2008 guidance document when deciding whether a waterway is subject to federal oversight for pollution control purposes. The proposal from EPA comes after an Executive Order (EO) from President Trump, signed in February, which formally asked EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to consider repealing the rule and replacing it with a more limited one. The EPA will publish the proposal in the Federal Register within days, at which point the agency will start accepting comments from the public. After considering the comments and making any necessary changes, the agency can make the repeal final.
APWA appreciates the Agency and the Administration reviewing this regulation, as it drastically impacts project development and operations for public works departments across the country. During the initial rulemaking phase of the WOTUS process, APWA provided comments to EPA expressing the Association’s concerns over the rules potential to expand federal jurisdiction over ditches, as well as the lack of clarity surrounding separate municipal storm sewer systems (MS4s) and other stormwater programs being excluded from the regulation.
A version of the pre-publication proposal can be found by clicking here