We knew it was coming, and now it’s here. The public comment period is open to determine the fate of the Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the US Rule. But the window for getting your comments in is a narrow one—more details on that below.
Those of you who read Stormwater magazine might recall an editorial back in June in which I mentioned that EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers under the new administration are trying to rescind the rule. The process is taking place in two steps: The first will change the Code of Federal Regulations so that it reflects the definition of “waters of the US” that was in place before the Clean Water Rule was issued. The second will put in place an even narrower definition that, the administration says, “is in-line with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States case. Scalia’s definition explains that federal oversight should extend to ‘relatively permanent’ waters and wetlands with ‘a continuous surface connection’ to large rivers and streams.” Essentially, this would roll back protections on ephemeral streams and wetlands within floodplains that were originally covered by the Clean Water Act.Learn from the best – join us at StormCon, The North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Expo! We’ll be in beautiful Bellevue, WA (just outside Seattle) this August 27-31 and your peers from around the country will be there. Loads of classes, workshops & field trips to choose from. Check out the program here!
The public comment period for the first step opened last week. The deadline to submit a comment is August 28, 2017. Unlike some rules that have a longer window—often 90 or, in some cases, as much as 180 days—this one has just a 30-day public comment period. (A group of senators last month requested that EPA and the Corps of Engineers extend the comment period, but as yet the deadline has not moved.)
You can submit your comments on this website. When you do, refer to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0203.Add Stormwater Weekly and Water Efficiency Weekly to your Newsletter Preferences and keep up with the latest articles on water: green infrastructure, smart meters, stormwater drainage and management, water quality monitoring and water treatment.