149/17/Gen.Inf. EPA to act on waters of the US Rule

The US President recently issued an Executive Order at the White House,directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review and then rescind or revise the 2015 Clean Water Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States”.

The question of what is a “water of the United States” is one that has generated substantial interest and uncertainty, especially among states, small businesses, the agricultural communities, and environmental organizations, because it relates to the extent of jurisdiction for federal and relevant state regulations.

The EPA and the Army announced their intention to review that rule, and provide advanced notice of a forthcoming proposed rulemaking consistent with the Executive Order. In doing so, the agencies will consider interpreting the term “navigable waters,” as defined in the CWA in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Scalia in Rapanos. It is important that stakeholders and the public at large have certainty as to how the CWA applies to their activities.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joined the President for this announcement and afterward issued the following statement:

“EPA intends to immediately implement the Executive Order and submit a Notice to the Office of the Federal Register announcing our intent to review the 2015 Rule, and then to propose a new rule that will rescind or revise that rule. The President’s action today preserves a federal role in protecting water, but it also restores the states’ important role in the regulation of water.”

Agencies have inherent authority to reconsider past decisions and to revise, replace or repeal a decision to the extent permitted by law and supported by a reasoned explanation. Importantly, such a revised decision need not be based upon a change of facts or circumstances. A revised rulemaking based “on a reevaluation of which policy would be better in light of the facts” is “well within an agency’s discretion,” and “ change in administration brought about by the people casting their votes is a perfectly reasonable basis for an executive agency’s reappraisal of the costs and benefits of its programs and
regulations.”

Through new rulemaking, the EPA and the Army say that they seek to provide greater clarity and regulatory certainty concerning the definition of “waters of the United States,” consistent with the principles outlined in the Executive Order and the agencies’ legal authority.

Find out more by reading the report herebelow

Source: US EPA

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Thank you & Best Regards,

Eng. Dimitrios Nikolaos Spanos
Lead Maritime Auditor / Principal Surveyor
Member of IRCA, IIMS, ELINT, HELMEPA & Nautical Institute

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