On April 21, 2020 (85 FR 22250), both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (ACE) published a final rule in the federal register defining the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Navigable Waters Protection Rule is the second step in a comprehensive, two-step process intended to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with the Executive Order signed on February 28, 2017, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” Once effective, it replaces the rule (84 FR 56626) published on October 22, 2019. This final rule implements the overall objective of the CWA to restore and maintain the integrity of the nation’s waters by maintaining federal authority over those waters that Congress determined should be regulated by the Federal government under its Commerce Clause powers, while adhering to Congress’ policy directive to preserve States’ primary authority over land and water resources. This final definition increases the predictability and consistency of CWA programs by clarifying the scope of “waters of the United States” federally regulated under the Act. This rule is effective on June 22, 2020.
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