Assumable Waters Sub-Committee
About the Assumable Waters Subcommittee
The Assumable Waters Subcommittee has been convened under the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT) to provide advice and recommendations on how the EPA can best clarify which waters a state or tribe assumes permitting responsibility for under an approved Clean Water Act (CWA) section 404 program.
CWA Section 404 establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredge and fill material into waters of the United States. Currently the U.S. Army Corps of administers the program in 48 states. The CWA allows states and tribes to assume the administration of the 404(g) program. No tribes and only two states have assumed these permitting responsibilities to date. If a state or tribe is considering assuming such responsiblities, among the first questions that needs to be answered is for which waters will the state or tribe assume permitting responsibility and those waters the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will retain permitting authority. States have raised concerns to the EPA that section 404 of the CWA and its implementing regulations lack sufficient clarity to enable states and tribes to estimate the extent of waters for which they would assume permitting responsibility and thus estimate the associated implementation costs.
The EPA fully supports states and tribes assuming permitting responsibilities for the aquatic resources under their jurisdiction. Per the states' request for clarity, the EPA has established the Assumable Waters Subcommittee.
The Assumable Waters Subcommittee presented their recommendations to NACEPT's members on May 10, 2017. NACEPT accepted the report and submitted it to Administrator Scott Pruitt on June 2, 2017. More information can be found under the meetings tab on this page or on the NACEPT web page.
Thank you to all the Subcommittee members for their hard work and dedication to this issue and to the NACEPT members for their insights and support of the Subcommittee. Assumable Waters Subcommittee Report
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the NACEPT in 1988 to provide independent advice to the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, technology and management issues. The NACEPT is a federal advisory committee chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).
EPA recognizes that a vast array of environmental policy expertise exists outside the Agency in the public, private and non-profit sectors. NACEPT helps EPA access the knowledge, expertise, and experience that would otherwise be unavailable to the Agency. NACEPT provides a cost-effective and flexible forum that can quickly respond to continually evolving policy challenges. The Assumable Waters Subcommittee is one of several subcommittees under NACEPT.
Subcommittee members, like the parent NACEPT committee, serve as representatives from academia, industry, non-governmental organizations, and state, local, and tribal governments. Members will lend insight to how the EPA can best clairfy the waters that a state or tribe may assume permitting responsibility for under an approved CWA 404 dredge and fill permit program.
On September 8, 2015, Administrator Gina McCarthy appointed the following people to serve on this subcommittee. David S. Evans and Barry Rabe, Ph.D have been appointed to serve as co-chairs. Each member is representing the organization for which they work unless otherwise notated.
Tentative meeting schedule. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will be held from 9 am to 5 pm each day. (Meeting dates are subject to change):
October 6-7, 2015 – Meeting 1
December 1-2, 2015 – Meeting 2
Location: One Potomac Yard, Ground Floor
2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
March 15-17, 2016 – Meeting 3
Location: One Potomac Yard
2777 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
June 7-9, 2016 – Meeting 4
Location: Hyatt Arlington Washington's Key Bridge
1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209
September 28 and 29, 2016 - Meeting 5
Location: Virtual Meeting from 1 pm - 4 pm each day.
Meeting Summary September 28-29, 2016 - Final and USACE presentation
- December 9, 2016 - Meeting 6
Location: Virtual Meeting from 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm EDT.
January 25-27, 2017 - Meeting 7
Location: Courtyard Arlington Crystal City/Reagan National Airport Hotel
2899 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA, 22202
- April 17, 2017 - Meeting 8
Location: Virtual Meeting from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT.
May 10, 2017 - Subcommittee Presentation to NACEPT, from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
Location: North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, William G. Ross Environmental Center
11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27601.
Assumable Waters Sub-Sommittee Charge and Operating Procedures
Assumable Waters Subcommittee Working Documents
These documents were prepared by workgroups and individual members of the Subcommittee for deliberation purposes only as background information.
Federal Register Notices
Statutes and Regulations
"This regulation defines the term "navigable waters of the United States" as it is used to define authorities of the Corps of Engineers. It also prescribes the policy, practice and procedure to be used in determining the extent of the jurisdiction of the Corps of Engineers and in answering inquiries concerning "navigable waters of the United States." This definition does not apply to authorities under the Clean Water Act which definitions are described under 33 CFR Parts 323 and 328."
Background documents have been provided by the sub-committee members, by the public and by the federal agencies at the request of the members.
Clean Water Act Section 404(g)(1)(1 pg, 23 K, 10-1-15)
Want to get involved?
Each meeting will be publically noticed and will have a public input section. The public is encouraged to participate individually or raise ideas through organizations that have members on the subcommittee.
For more information, please contact the ADFO, Mr. Jake Strickler, via e-mail at email@example.com.