Timeline Begins for Implementation of Trump WOTUS Rule

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The Federal Register today published the final "Navigable Waters Protection Rule" (NWPR), which is the Trump Administration's new definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS). Publication of the rule marks a major step forward in efforts to clarify federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. Today's milestone starts a 60-day timeline, after which the NWPR will become effective across the country. Previously, on Jan. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the final rule at the 2020 NAHB International Builders' Show® in Las Vegas. On Sept, 12, 2019, the agencies rescinded the Obama-era WOTUS rule, which exceeded Congressional authority and was never fully implemented across the country. The NWPR will provide several benefits to builders and developers while continuing to protect important water bodies. For example, it encompasses traditional navigable waters and territorial seas, which Congress clearly intended for federal oversight. However, it also narrows the extent of federal jurisdiction by excluding isolated water bodies, "ephemeral" waters that form only in response to rain, and most ditches. As a result, fewer residential construction projects will trigger federal permitting requirements. Read NAHB's full analysis of the final NWPR. NAHB will monitor any legal challenges to the final rule and work closely with federal agencies to implement it. For more information, contact Evan Branosky, 800-368-5242 x8662.

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