"EPA Revises Waters Rule to Align With High Court Wetlands Ruling"

"A new rule governing federally protected waters and wetlands was issued Tuesday by the EPA to align agency regulations with a US Supreme Court ruling that will allow unpermitted development in wetlands across the country.

The rule revises the Biden administration’s earlier waters of the US, or WOTUS, definition finalized in January, removing its legal basis, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in May in Sackett v. EPA.

The January WOTUS rule expanded federal Clean Water Act protections over wetlands and waterways. But the Supreme Court in Sackett limited the waters that can be protected under the act, potentially allowing construction and pollution in vast swaths of wetlands across the country.

The new post-Sackett rule revises the January definition to remove the “significant nexus” standard that was the basis of the earlier rule. It also says wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act must have a continuous surface connection to navigable waterways as required by the Sackett ruling.

The significant nexus test allowed streams and wetlands adjacent to larger water bodies to be protected under the Clean Water Act."

Bobby Magill reports for Bloomberg Environment August 29, 2023.


"After Supreme Court Forces Its Hand, E.P.A. Curbs Wetlands Protection" (New York Times)

"Biden Rule, Heeding Supreme Court, Could Strip Over Half Of U.S Wetlands’ Protections" (Washington Post)

"EPA Announces New Waters Rule After Supreme Court Decision Weakening Protections" (The Hill)

"EPA Slashes Federally Protected Waters By More Than Half After Supreme Court Ruling" (CNN)

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 08/30/2023