Proposed Redefinition of “Waters of the United States” Likely to Have Significant Implications


Many construction projects are subject to the federal Clean Water Act and its regulation of the discharge of pollutants into the navigable waters of the United States, which the law defines simply as the “waters of the United States”. This definition drives the scope of federal jurisdiction in numerous areas. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have significant regulatory responsibilities under the Clean Water Act, and these agencies are now proposing to revise the current definition of this very important term.

Today, Pillsbury attorneys Anthony Cavender, Brad Raffle, Wayne Whitlock and Amanda Halter published their advisory titled Oil and Water: Proposed Redefinition of Waters of the U.S. Has Significant Implications for Domestic Operations. The Advisory discusses the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announcement of a new Nov. 14, 2014 deadline to submit comments to its much-debated redefinition of the term “Waters of the United States.” The extension, several related legal and regulatory developments since this proposed rule was published in April, and now the results of the election, make this an opportune time to reassess the impact this redefinition will have on domestic operations, including, in particular, oil and gas operations and activities, during a period of extraordinary domestic growth.

If you have any questions about the content of this blog, please contact the Pillsbury attorney with whom you regularly work or Anthony Cavender, Brad Raffle, Wayne Whitlock or Amanda Halter, the authors of this blog.