January 27, 2020

Trump Administration Issues Final Water Rule, Approves Route For Keystone Pipeline

On Thursday, January 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers finalized a new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.

As Connecting the Dots reported last fall, the EPA rolled back the agency’s 2015 WOTUS regulation, issued under the previous presidential administration. The Metals Service Center Institute, along with other trade associations, including the National Association of Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposed the 2015 rule. These business groups have argued the rule was both too broad and too vague, in some cases applying even to dry land, and therefor placed an undue burden on manufacturers and other companies.

The EPA said the new regulation, called the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, will streamline the definition of navigable waters so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before.

Environmental groups have pledged to fight the rule in court.

Also last week: the Secretary of U.S. Department of the Interior David Bernhardt signed a decision allowing the Bureau of Land Management to grant a 30-year right-of-way authorization for the Keystone XL pipeline, which allows the construction of the project over 44 miles of federal land in Montana. Click here to read the decision.