EPA Proposes Rescinding Clean Water Rule (Waters Of The U.S. Rule), Removing Smaller, Local Waterways From EPA Pollution Regulation

 In Environment, Executive Orders, Government Regulations   Last Updated: July 6, 2017

The 1972 Clean Water Act sets rules and regulations for “pollutant discharges into the waters of the United States.”

The Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States Rule, clarified the inclusion of “some 2 million miles of headwaters and streams that flow only part of the year — 60 percent of the river and stream miles in the Lower 48 states — plus 20 million acres of wetlands that aren’t directly connected to large waterways.”

31 states, 21 Senators, and 70 members of Congress sued the federal government over the Clean Water Rule, claiming it is an overreach of power by the federal government, which should not have jurisdiction over local tributaries that never cross state lines.

Scott Pruitt, then Attorney General of Oklahoma and currently the head of the EPA, participated in this lawsuit.

On February 28 2017 President Trump issued an Executive Order asking the EPA to review the Waters of the United States Rule, in an effort “to ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of the Congress and the States under the Constitution.”

On June 27 2017 the EPA issued a proposed change to the Clean Water Rule to be the “same as the definition that existed prior to promulgation of the Clean Water Rule in 2015 and that has been in effect nationwide since the Clean Water Rule was stayed on October 9, 2016.”  In other words, the EPA is proposing to remove all of the additional smaller and local waterways from EPA pollution regulation and oversight that were included under the Clean Water Rule.




History of the Clean Water Act.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 21 Apr. 2017. Web. 02 July 2017.
Documents Associated with the 2015 Clean Water Rule.” EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, 15 May 2017. Web. 02 July 2017.
Flescher, John, and Michael Biesecker. “Trump Administration Moves to Withdraw Clean-water Rule.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 27 June 2017. Web. 02 July 2017.
Siciliano, John. “GOP Lawmakers Join 31-state Lawsuit Opposing EPA Water Rule.”Washington Examiner. N.p., 08 Nov. 2016. Web. 02 July 2017.
Trump, Donald. “Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule.” The White House. The United States Government, 28 Feb. 2017. Web. 02 July 2017.
Army Corps Of Engineers, and Environmental Protection Agency. Definition of “Waters of the United States” – Recodification of Pre-existing Rules (2017): n. pag. Proposed Changes To The Clean Water Rule. Environmental Protection Agency, 27 June 2017. Web. 2 July 2017.

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