60-Day Comment Period Begins
On Feb. 14, the public comment period officially opened on the administration’s newly proposed replacement of the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Legal challenges have placed the 2015 WOTUS rule on hold in 28 states. AGC has been advocating for a clear rule as construction projects in or near federal waters require extensive permitting that comes at a hefty price -- in addition to any state or local water permits a project will need. Over the decades, determining where federal jurisdiction lies and overly broad interpretations have added regulatory uncertainty, delay, and cost to projects.
The proposal is a step in the right direction to correct the regulatory overreach of the old rule and provide clarity to industry, while continuing to protect federal waters. It includes waters that in many cases are readily identifiable as federal waters, such as traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, tributaries and other waters with a surface connection or that regularly flow into those waters. But it excludes ephemeral features, most ditches, stormwater control features in uplands, and earthen depressions caused by construction equipment or activity in uplands that may fill with water, among other things.
Comments on the proposal are due April 15, 2019.