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Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Final Rule: The Navigable Waters Protection Rule

On April 21, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) in the Federal Register. For the first time, the agencies are streamlining the definition so that it includes four simple categories of jurisdictional waters, provides clear exclusions for many water features that traditionally have not been regulated, and defines terms in the regulatory text that have never been defined before. Congress, in the Clean Water Act, explicitly directed the Agencies to protect “navigable waters.” The Navigable Waters Protection Rule regulates traditional navigable waters and the core tributary systems that provide perennial or intermittent flow into them. The final rule fulfills Executive Order 13788 and reflects legal precedent set by key Supreme Court cases as well as robust public outreach and engagement, including pre-proposal input and comments received on the proposed rule. The final rule will become on June 22, 2020. Once effective, it replaces the rule published on October 22, 2019. 

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