The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.
The agencies, according to an EPA news release, are launching a robust outreach effort over the next 90 days, holding discussions around the country and gathering input needed to shape a final rule.
Determining Clean Water Act protection for streams and wetlands became confusing and complex following Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006.
The proposed rule also preserves the Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture. EPA and the Army Corps have coordinated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop an interpretive rule to ensure that 53 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will not be subject to Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements.
Any ag activity that does not result in the discharge of a pollutant to waters of the U.S. still does not require a permit.
For more information, go to www.epa.gov/uswaters.