A 2-Step Plan To Roll Back The Clean Water Rule

By Joel Beauvais (July 5, 2017, 7:17 PM EDT) -- On June 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed to rescind the Obama administration's 2015 Clean Water Rule and to "recodify" the agencies' preexisting regulatory definition of "waters of the United States" (dating from 1986). The agencies characterize this rulemaking as step one in a two-step process to implement President Donald Trump's Feb. 28, 2017, executive order, which required the agencies to review the Clean Water Rule and to "publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule." In the forthcoming step two rulemaking, the agencies plan to replace the 1986 definition with a new one — presumably after "consider[ing]" interpreting the Clean Water Act's jurisdictional scope "in a manner consistent with" the late Justice Antonin Scalia's plurality opinion in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006), as directed by the February EO....

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