In what was considered a major victory for industry, including liquid terminals, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) recently announced that the Trump Administration has reversed the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.
Finalized in 2015, the Obama-era rule aimed to clarify which wetlands and waterways should be subject to federal protections under the Clean Water Act. The rule broadly expanded federal jurisdiction over regulated waters to include tributaries and adjacent waters (even wetlands and temporary flood streams). Red states, farmers, industry groups and others launched a sweeping legal battle against the regulation. Numerous court rulings had left the rule blocked in 27 states and effective in 23 others. Litigation was still pending in district courts across the country.
With the rollback, the pre-2015 definition of navigable waters once again becomes the uniform national standard. With the Obama-era rule vacated, EPA and the Army Corps will consider a new rule to take its place. ILTA continues its engagement in the broad industry Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) that has advocated for repeal and a more reasonable definition of WOTUS.