Turmoil Surrounding the New Federal "Clean Water Rule" to Continue in 2016

January 25, 2016
Jonathan E. Rinde
MGKF Special Alert - Forecast 2016

On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced final regulations that revised the regulatory definition of the phrase “waters of the United States.”  The revised definition would bring many more areas within federal permitting jurisdiction, through the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 404 wetlands permitting program and Section 402 discharge permitting program.  A number of lawsuits opposing the new regulations, filed by both industry groups and states, caused the Sixth Circuit to stay the application of the new regulations, prohibiting its use in federal permitting and enforcement actions.  Given the amount of rancor the new regulations caused, it could be a long time before any revision to the definition of the phrase “waters of the United States” becomes effective.