February 13, 2018 | by    

Implementation Of EPA Water Rule Delayed For At Least Two Years

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced at the end of January that it has delayed work to rewrite its Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule for at least two years, until 2020. The agency made the decision because the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that implementation of the regulation needed to move forward. The EPA’s decision last month will halt the implementation process.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt explained, “The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation.”

The Metals Service Center Institute and its partners opposed the new WOTUS rule because it included an overly-broad definition of federally-regulated waters. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce explained last year, in order to comply with the rule, farmers, ranchers, and other businesses would need to “build or make modifications on their land” and “hire consultants and lawyers to get costly federal permits.”

In Pruitt’s statement, the EPA also argued, “Given uncertainty about litigation in multiple district courts over the 2015 rule, [its] action provide[d] much needed certainty and clarity to the regulated community during the ongoing regulatory process.”