The EPA is pushing back its timetable for repealing the 2015 Obama-era waters jurisdiction rule by at least four months.  The agency is now planning on finalizing this repeal in March of 2019, rather than next month, as originally planned, according an update on the rule in the Fall Regulatory Agenda released this week.

This means the rule, known as Waters of the United States or WOTUS, will stay in effect in some states into the new year. The Trump administration had moved to block the implementation of this rule while it worked on a repeal, but that was partially struck down in court earlier this year.

The WOTUS rule redefines which bodies of water are covered by federal anti-pollution laws. Businesses, and especially the agriculture industry, strongly opposed it when the Obama administration first enacted it in 2015, because they were concerned it would bring small, ephemeral streams under the purview of federal pollution regulators.

The Environmental Protection Agency also has a parallel process to replace the WOTUS rule with something new. The agency has said it should be releasing a draft version of this replacement within the coming days.  (Bloomberg BNA, 10/17/18)

A map on EPA's website from September 18, 2018, shows which states have already applied the rule and which currently have not.  

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This Week in Washington is compiled by the WEF Government Affairs department. Please contact us with any questions or comments.

Claudio Ternieden
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