EPA, Corps Extend Coordination Memo Addressing WOTUS

Environmental Issues

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) have issued a nine-month extension for their coordination memoranda on “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) for the 2023 Conforming Rule and the pre-2015 regulatory regime. The memo — which was set to expire today — establishes a process by which the Corps and EPA will coordinate on Clean Water Act jurisdictional matters to ensure accurate and consistent implementation of the regimes where each regulatory regime is operative. All jurisdictional determinations (JDs) impacting wetlands and isolated features are being coordinated by the Corps and EPA.

As part of this process, the agencies have drafted a number of field memoranda to address key issues in implementing the conforming WOTUS rule and expect to continue issuing additional field memoranda as needed throughout the nine-month extension in lieu of formal guidance. The agencies are expected to release four memos providing insight to field staff on how to interpret “continuous surface connection” soon.

Currently, the agencies have issued three field memos directing field staff on how to interpret key issues where the 2023 Conforming Rule is enforced. The agencies have issued an additional three field memos on how to interpret these similar issues where the pre-2015 regulatory regime is enforced.

EPA staff emphasized at a recent roundtable that the field memos implementing the WOTUS definition are applicable where the different rules are in effect. More than half the states in the U.S. adhere to the pre-2015 regulatory regime versus the 23 states that have implemented the final Conforming Rule that went into effect Sept. 8, 2023.

Builders should be aware of what these memos say because Corps field staff will use them when their project is similar to the one addressed in the memo. NAHB is working on an analysis of existing memoranda and will continue to keep members up to date through the WOTUS Resources page on nahb.org.

Subscribe to NAHBNow

Log in or create account to subscribe to notifications of new posts.

Log in to subscribe