EPA and the Army Corps' Proposed Rule to Define 'Waters of the United States' [April 21, 2014]   [open pdf - 312KB]

"On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) jointly proposed a rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposal would revise regulations that have been in place for more than 25 years. Revisions are proposed in light of 2001 and 2006 Supreme Court rulings that interpreted the regulatory scope of the CWA more narrowly than previously, but created uncertainty about the precise effect of the Court's decisions. […] This report describes the proposed rule and includes a table comparing the existing regulatory language that defines 'waters of the United States' with the proposal. The proposed rule is particularly focused on clarifying the regulatory status of waters located in isolated places in a landscape. It does not modify some categories of waters that currently are jurisdictional by rule (traditional navigable waters, interstate waters and wetlands, the territorial seas, and impoundments). Proposed changes would increase the asserted scope of CWA jurisdiction, in part as a result of expressly declaring some types of waters categorically jurisdictional (such as all waters adjacent to a jurisdictional water), and also by application of new definitions, which give larger regulatory context to some types of waters, such as tributaries."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43455
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