The EPA Redefines “WOTUS”

Final Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” – Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules

This rule has been replaced by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

On October 22, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (the agencies) published a final rule to repeal the 2015 Rule defining  “waters of the United States” and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—i.e., the 1980s regulations, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. This final rule became effective on December 23, 2019, but was replaced by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. On June 22, 2020 the Navigable Waters Protection Rule became effective in all states and jurisdictions, except for the State of Colorado due to a court-issued stay in that state. For now, the 2019 Rule remains in effect in Colorado.

With the final Step One rule, the agencies maintained a longstanding regulatory framework that was more familiar to and better-understood by the agencies, states, tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public prior to the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule taking effect.