EPA "Waters" Rule Published
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
As feared, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have pressed ahead and published their final Waters of the United States rule, rebranded as the Clean Water rule. While EPA and the White House have fine-tuned and sharpened their messaging, early review of the 300-page rule suggests few changes to the substance. As we have previously reported, the rule could subject numerous marginal waters to federal regulation and create confusion and liability for land and business owners. We will provide more detailed analysis after careful review.
Reaction to the release of the final rule, which takes effect in 60 days, was swift and negative. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), the highest ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, said the following in his official statement:
"I am disappointed but not surprised that the EPA has decided to move forward with a rule that would increase confusion and red tape. Farmers, ranchers, local communities and businesses all expressed concern with the negative impacts of this rule. Despite that, EPA either wasn’t willing to listen or simply just does not get it.
“I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to explore all available options to ensure these arbitrary and subjective regulations never go into effect."
On May 12, the House passed legislation (H.R. 1732) to require the agencies to withdraw the rule and work with stakeholders to develop a new rule. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on similar legislation (S. 1140) on May 19. The Senate Small Business and Judiciary Committees are also planning hearings on the regulation. However, even if Congress were to pass legislation to overcome the rule, it may well face a White House veto.
Courtesy of Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort