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Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rulemaking

Step Two - Revise

On this page:

Public Comment Period - Step Two

Open Public Comment Period

There are currently no open public comment periods.

Closed Public Comment Period

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Army (the agencies) established an administrative docket, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480, to solicit recommendations for the Step 2 rulemaking to define "waters of the United States." The docket closed on November 28, 2017. Written recommendations can be found here in the docket.


Step Two - Revised Definition of "Waters of the United States"

The agencies plan to propose a new definition that would replace the approach in the 2015 Rule and the pre-2015 regulations, taking into consideration the principles that Justice Scalia outlined in the Rapanos plurality opinion. The agencies have already proposed a repeal of the 2015 Rule.

Outreach and Consultation

Public Meetings - The agencies held public meetings in Fall 2017 to hear from stakeholders their recommendations to revise the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA). More information about these meetings, including a complete schedule and the Federal Register notice, can be found at EPA's Outreach Meetings webpage.

Written Recommendations - The agencies established an administrative docket, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480, to solicit recommendations for the Step 2 rulemaking to define "waters of the United States." The docket closed on November 28, 2017. Written recommendations can be found here in the docket.

Federalism and Tribal Consultation - In Spring 2017, EPA, in coordination with the Department of the Army, initiated formal consultations to solicit comments from state, local, and tribal governments regarding such a new definition. The agencies held a series of meetings with various groups as part of the consultation processes and are now posting for public review each of the letters received as part of the consultation processes. ​

  • Federalism Consultation - Consistent with E.O. 13132, Federalism, the EPA, Department of Army, and the Army Corps of Engineers consulted with state and local government officials, or their representative national organization, while developing a revised definition of "waters of the United States." The agencies are consulting due to strong interest on the part of state and local governments on this issue over the years and potential effects associated with a change in the definition of “waters of the United States”
  • Tribal Consultation - Consistent with the EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes, the EPA is consulting with Federally recognized Indian tribes while developing a revised definition of "waters of the United States." Department of Army and the Army Corps of Engineers have been invited to participate in the consultation and coordination.