A National Association of Counties (NACo) article (2017-09-05) announced that United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are extending the public comment period for the recodification of the “Waters of the US” definition from August 28 until September 27. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the revised definition would withdraw definition changes made in 2015 and recodify the previous version of the definition. Both NACo and MACo expressed concerns about the scope of the revised definition including certain “ephemeral” waterways such as roadside drainage ditches and stormwater drainage pipes. From the article:
This is the first of a two-step process to review and rewrite the WOTUS rule finalized under the Obama Administration in 2015. The proposed rule to rewrite the current WOTUS definition is expected to be released as early as this fall. …
On February 28, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13778 directing the EPA and Corps to review the 2015 WOTUS rule. In April, EPA held a consultation with national representatives of state and local governments to gather their input about their two-step plan to withdraw and rewrite the rule. As a result of the consultation, NACo, along with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), submitted a joint letter emphasizing the role local governments play in environmental programs as co-regulators and highlighted the importance for the federal government to collaborate with local governments on pending rules and regulations.