On January 31, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a new rule that postpones implementation of the 2015 Clean Water Rule until 2020. The finalization of the rule comes in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, which lifted the Sixth Circuit’s nationwide stay of the 2015 Rule. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers began drafting the proposed delay last fall in anticipation of a Supreme Court ruling that would trigger application of the 2015 Rule. In just five days the White House completed its review and the postponement was finalized. The new rule went into effect February 6, 2018.
The delayed implementation of the 2015 Rule will reduce confusion and provide more certainty for developers, farmers and agricultural entities. It also avoids the fractured application of the 2015 Rule that would likely result from review in the many district courts across the country. During the next two years, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will continue efforts to replace the Obama-era rule.
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