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Replacement WOTUS rule takes next step

By |  April 21, 2020
Photo: Bluegrass Materials

The new Navigable Waters Protection rule goes into effect June 22. Photo: P&Q Staff

The final replacement Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule was published in the Federal Register, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) reports.

The rule, called the Navigable Waters Protection rule, has the same text as that released earlier this year, according to NSSGA. The rule goes into effect June 22, replacing the previous rule and guidance across the United States.

NSSGA expects there to be legal challenges, and it plans to work to defend the rule.

About the rule

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Navigable Waters Protection rule ends decades of uncertainty over where federal jurisdiction begins and ends. For the first time, EPA and the Department of the Army recognize the difference between federally protected wetlands and state protected wetlands. It adheres to the statutory limits of the agencies’ authority.

The rule also ensures that America’s water protections remain strong while giving states and tribes the certainty to manage their waters in ways that best protect their natural resources and local economies, EPA says.

The revised definition identifies four clear categories of waters that are federally regulated under the Clean Water Act: the territorial seas and traditional navigable waters, like the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River; perennial and intermittent tributaries, such as College Creek, which flows to the James River near Williamsburg, Virginia; certain lakes, ponds and impoundments, such as Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania; and wetlands that are adjacent to jurisdictional waters.

These four categories protect the nation’s navigable waters and the core tributary systems that flow into those waters.

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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