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EPA Changes “Waters of the United States” Definition in Reaction to Supreme Court Decision

August 30, 2023

Takes varied widely when the Supreme Court opinion in Sackett v. EPA was issued May 25, 2023, but all agreed it was highly significantCoastal wetlands regarding the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The NRDC called it “the most important water-related Supreme Court decision in a generation” and viewed it as “dramatically weakening the Clean Water Act.” The U.S. Chamber of Commerce termed it “a victory not only for the rule of law, but for people who want to build things in America.”

Whatever one’s view on Sackett, the ruling required the EPA to revise its WOTUS definition found at 40 C.F.R. § 120.2 to conform to the court’s opinion.  The EPA did so on Aug. 29, and the full news release can be found here.

Most helpfully, the EPA also issued a Fact Sheet for the new Final Rule that breaks down the changes to every subsection of § 120.2 from (a)(1) to (c)(6). The Sacketts can finally build their Idaho home – will the less restrictive new definition allow you to move forward with your construction project?

If you have questions about these changes or how they affect your operations, please contact an attorney in Greensfelder’s Environmental practice group.

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