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Legal Definition

Definition of ‘Waters of the US’ Adjustments Abruptly, With Extra Adjustments to Comply with

The U.S. Environmental Safety Company (EPA) and U.S. Military Corps of Engineers (Corps) introduced, on Sept. 3, that they’d not implement the then-current definition of “waters of the US” (WOTUS) efficient instantly. As a substitute, they’ve reverted again to the pre-2015 allowing regime, relying upon the 1986 definition of WOTUS, as interpreted by the Corps and the EPA in steerage paperwork issued following two seminal U.S. Supreme Court docket opinions. The EPA and the Corps are making use of this modification within the WOTUS definition nationwide. The change follows an Aug. 30 order from the U.S. District Court docket for the District of Arizona, which remanded and vacated the definition of WOTUS promulgated by the Trump administration in 2020 (generally known as the Navigable Waters Safety Rule (NWPR)) within the case of Pascua Yaqui Tribe v. U.S. Environmental Safety Company.

Significance of the Definition of WOTUS

The definition of WOTUS identifies which waters are federally regulated beneath the Clear Water Act (CWA), and, due to this fact, determines when a federal allow is required for initiatives involving dredging or filling of a waterbody (i.e., a Part 404 allow) or discharges right into a waterbody (i.e., a NPDES allow). The WOTUS definition additionally impacts federal spill reporting and spill prevention planning.