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Waters of the United States

Definition of "Waters of the United States": Rule Status and Litigation Update

On January 20, 2021, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed Executive Order 13990 on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” which orders the agencies to immediately review, and as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to address the previous administration’s regulations and actions that conflict with important national environmental and public health objectives. Consistent with the Executive Order, EPA and the Department of the Army are reviewing the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule became effective on June 22, 2020 and is being implemented by EPA and the Army. On June 19, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado stayed the effective date of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule in the State of Colorado. On March 2, 2021, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and vacated the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado’s order. As a result, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule is in effect throughout the country. Read the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

If a state, tribe, or an entity has specific questions about a pending jurisdictional determination or permit, please contact a local U.S. Army Corps of Engineers District office or the EPA.