Aug 31, 2023
EPA amends wetlands protection rules

In response to a recent Supreme Court decision, the EPA has removed federal protection for a majority of U.S. wetlands.

The new rule amending the 2023 definition of “waters of the United States” will take effect immediately and leave states responsible for the protection of many waterways and wetlands.

File photo

“While I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Sackett case, EPA and Army have an obligation to apply this decision alongside our state co-regulators, Tribes, and partners,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the statement. “We’ve moved quickly to finalize amendments to the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ to provide a clear path forward that adheres to the Supreme Court’s ruling. EPA will never waver from our responsibility to ensure clean water for all.”

The 1972 Clean Water Act protecting waterways and wetlands has been the subject of debate for decades. On Jan. 18, 2023, the EPA and the Army published a rule revising the definition of WOTUS, which became effective on March 20. On May 25, the Supreme Court issued the Sackett decision.

A Sept. 12 public webinar will provide updates on the WOTUS definition. Registration information is available online.

“We have worked with EPA to expeditiously develop a rule to incorporate changes required as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Sackett,” Michael L. Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, said in the statement. “With this final rule, the Corps can resume issuing approved jurisdictional determinations that were paused in light of the Sackett decision. Moving forward, the Corps will continue to protect and restore the nation’s waters in support of jobs and healthy communities.”

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