Biden Administration Intensifies Roll Back of Environmental Permitting Reforms

June 10, 2021

Gains on WOTUS, Endangered Species Act Regulations & More in Jeopardy

The Biden Administration has taken several steps in the last two weeks to begin the process of repealing and modifying many of the prior administration’s signature environmental permitting reforms related to species and water permits—including waters of the United States (WOTUS).  Over the prior four years, AGC supported many of these reforms that added greater clarity, scope, timelines, and certainty to the federal permitting process.  AGC will continue to highlight that permitting delays will only impede the Administration’s goal to invest in and increase the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure. 

The regulatory process itself will take time; however, contractors should expect policy shifts in these areas.  The federal agencies recently announced that it would look at the prior administration’s reforms to the state water quality certification process (June 2) and on a host of endangered and threatened species considerations (June 4).  On June 9, the administration also announced that it is planning to repeal and replace the Trump Administration’s definition of WOTUS.  Furthermore, the Department of Justice has requested that the courts send the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule back to the agencies and dismiss the cases where DOJ is defending the rule—as the agencies have decided to revise or replace the rule.

AGC reported previously on the repeal of “One Federal Decision” and the intention of this administration to revisit the federal environmental approval process.  And on the plans for the eventual removal of protections for those who may unintentionally harm a migratory bird (i.e., incidental take) --- which is currently in progress

Learn More at July 20-22 Virtual Conference

Join us for a status update from the legal counsel for three national coalitions working on Clean Water Act section 404 (dredge and fill/wetlands) permitting, stormwater, and species related concerns. What actions are the federal agencies undertaking in these areas---and on what timeline? What are some of our industry’s key concerns? And how will we stay engaged with the new administration?  Check out the agenda for more details on sessions, speakers, and discussion opportunities. Register today (free to AGC members).

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at

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