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EPA and Army Corps Extend Comment Period for Waters of the U.S. Guidance

June 28, 2011

On Monday, June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers extended the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act.  The new comment deadline is July 31, 2011.

As we reported in late April, the EPA and Army Corps issued a proposed guidance on April 27 for determining which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act.  The proposed guidance is intended to help agency staff interpret two Supreme Court rulings.

In the first case in 2001, Solid Waste Authority of Northern Cook County v. Army Corps of Engineers, the Court ruled that the Army Corps and EPA could not rely solely on the use of a wetland area by birds as the jurisdictional support for protecting a wetland isolated from other waters under the Clean Water Act.  Five years later, in Rapanos v. United States, a fractured court without a majority issued three separate opinions on the issue of determining the scope of the Act’s protection.

The newly released proposed guidance would provide increased protections for some critically important U.S. waters that were left unprotected in previous guidance documents issued after the U.S. Supreme Court cases.  It would protect interstate waters and many geographically isolated waters that previous guidance documents left unprotected.  It also includes a number of common sense protections for farmers and ranchers.

For more information, read our earlier blog post on the proposed guidance or visit the Clean Water Network’s website on the proposed guidance.

You can email your comments directly to: OW-docket@epa.gov.  Include a reference to docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409.  You can also submit comments at: www.regulations.gov.  Select “submit a comment” and enter docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0409 and follow the instructions on how to submit a comment online.

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment

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