EPA, US Army finalize Clean Water Rule

About the time last week’s CCJ ONsite hit your screen, EPA and the US Army (Civil Works) finalized the Clean Water Rule discussed in the lead article. The Rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register; no date was provided for that announcement. The press release issued by the sponsoring federal departments claimed, “The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA) are more precisely defined and predictably determined, making permitting less costly, easier, and faster for businesses and industry.”

The release went on to say that a CWA permit is needed only if a water will be polluted or destroyed and that the Clean Water Rule only protects the types of waters that historically have been covered under the CWA. The Rule is said to reduce the use of case-specific analyses of waters. Previously, almost any water could be put through a lengthy proceeding even if it would not be subject to the CWA. Sponsors of the Rule claim it “significantly limits the use of case-specific analysis by creating clarity and certainty on protected waters. . . .”

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