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Navigable Waters Protection Rule

Rulemaking Process

On this page:
Learn More about the “Waters of the United States” Rulemakings:

Two-Step Process

EPA and the Department of the Army (the agencies) implemented Executive Order 13778, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule,” in two steps to provide certainty to the regulated community and the public while the agencies developed the revised definition of "waters of the United States."

  1. Step One - Repeal – On October 22, 2019, the agencies published a final rule to repeal the 2015 Rule and recodify the regulation that was in place prior to issuance of the 2015 Rule. This final rule became effective on December 23, 2019, but was replaced on June 22, 2020 by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Read the final Step One rule.
  2. Step Two - Navigable Waters Protection Rule - Revise - On April 21, 2020, the agencies published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the Federal Register to provide a revised definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. This final rule replaced the Step One rule and became effective on June 22, 2020. Read the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

Executive Order

On February 28, 2017, the President signed the “Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The E.O. calls on the EPA Administrator and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works to review the final 2015 Rule and “publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule.” The E.O. directs that EPA and the Department of the Army “shall consider interpreting the term ‘navigable waters’” in a manner “consistent with Justice Scalia’s opinion” in Rapanos v. United States (2006).

Federal Register Notice of Intention to Review and Rescind or Revise the Clean Water Rule

In accordance with the Presidential directive in Executive Order 13778, on March 6, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army announced their intention to review and rescind or revise the 2015 Clean Water Rule.