'Waters of the United States' Rule: Legislative Options and 114th Congress Responses [December 29, 2016]   [open pdf - 628KB]

"On May 27, 2015, the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule revising regulations that define the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA). [...] According to EPA and the Corps, their intent in proposing the rule was to clarify CWA jurisdiction, not expand it. Nevertheless, the rule has been extremely controversial [...] The rule became effective August 28, 2015, replacing EPA-Corps guidance that has governed permitting decisions since the Supreme Court's rulings. However, a federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay of the rule that has been in effect since October 2015. Despite the court's stay of the rule, some in Congress favor halting EPA and the Corps' current approach to defining 'waters of the United States.' To do so legislatively, at least four options were reflected in bills in the 114th Congress. [...] These options and related legislative activity in the 114th Congress are discussed in this report. Each option faced a steep path to enactment, because of the Obama Administration's opposition to legislation to halt or weaken a major regulatory initiative such as the 'waters of the United States' rule. With a change in administration in January 2017, the 115th Congress and the new administration seem likely to revisit the 'waters of the United States' issue and controversies, but how that will occur is unclear for now."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43943
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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