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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

The 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. Read the final Step One rule.
  2. Navigable Waters Protection Rule (Step Two) - Revise - On April 21, 2020 the agencies published the Navigable Waters Protection Rule to define “waters of the United States.” This final rule will become effective on June 22, 2020 and will replace the Step One rule. 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 the EPA and the Department of 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.