The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers last month proposed to replace the 2015 definition of the term “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) with the definition that existed since 1986.
The agencies said the action is the first in a two-step process. In Step 2, the government will propose a new definition for WOTUS.
In the announcement, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated that going back to the well-established 1986 definition allows the agencies to provide continuity and clarity to the regulated community while deliberating on a new definition.
And this time, the agencies said, the path to a new rule will be more public. “As we go through the rule making process, we will continue to make the implementation of the Clean Water Act Section 404 regulatory program as transparent as possible for the regulated public,” said Douglas Lamont, acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
“NAHB applauds President Trump, the EPA and the Corps for taking the necessary actions to roll back this seriously flawed WOTUS rule that would harm housing affordability by requiring expensive and time-consuming federal permits for countless ditches, isolated ponds and dry channels,” NAHB chairman Granger MacDonald said in a press release.
“Earlier this year, the president honored a campaign promise made to home builders as he signed an executive order directing EPA and the Corps to begin the process of dismantling the controversial WOTUS rule. This is an important step forward to rework the flawed regulation that blatantly usurped state and local authority,” MacDonald said.
“NAHB looks forward to working with the administration, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and [Mr.] Lamont to develop a common-sense solution to protecting our nation’s waterways while taking into account the interests of local businesses and communities nationwide,” MacDonald said.