Federal agencies seek comments on new WOTUS rule

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency are currently accepting comments on a revised regulatory definition of “waters of the United States” after publishing a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register on February 14, 2019. Overall, this proposed rule narrows federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and aims to provide regulatory certainty by replacing the “significant nexus” test with categorical determinations of what is, and what is not, “waters of the United States.” Under the proposed rule, there are six categories of “waters of the United States,” and all waterbodies not fitting one of those categories are outside the scope of CWA regulation. However, the proposed rule provides additional clarity to the regulated community by codifying eleven categorical exemptions covering an array of natural and artificial waterbodies. The federal agencies putting forth this rule seek public input on a variety of factors .The public comment period will remain open until April 15, 2019, and HGS is prepared to assist anyone who wishes to participate in this process.