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EPA/WATER RIN: 2040-AF30 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Definition of "Waters of the United States" Under the Clean Water Act 
Abstract: After U.S. Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos, the scope of "waters of the US" protected under all CWA programs has been an issue of considerable debate and uncertainty. The Act has a single definition for "waters of the United States." As a result, these decisions affect the geographic scope of all CWA programs. SWANCC and Rapanos did not invalidate the current regulatory definition of "waters of the United States." However, the decisions established important considerations for how those regulations should be interpreted, and experience implementing the regulations has identified several areas that could benefit from additional clarification through rulemaking. U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are developing a proposed rule for determining whether a water is protected by the Clean Water Act. This rule would make clear which waterbodies are protected under the Clean Water Act. 
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency(EPA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: Undetermined 
CFR Citation: Not Yet Determined (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.
Legal Authority: 33 USC 1251 
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: After U.S. Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos, the scope of "waters of the US" protected under all CWA programs has been an issue of considerable debate and uncertainty. The Act has a single definition for "waters of the United States." As a result, these decisions affect the geographic scope of all CWA programs. SWANCC and Rapanos did not invalidate the current regulatory definition of "waters of the United States." However, the decisions established important considerations for how those regulations should be interpreted, and experience implementing the regulations has identified several areas that could benefit from additional clarification through rulemaking. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are developing a proposed rule for determining whether a water is protected by the Clean Water Act. This rule would clarify which water bodies are protected under the Clean Water Act.

Summary of the Legal Basis: To be determined.

Alternatives: To be determined.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: To be determined.

Risks: To be determined.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  12/00/2013   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: Undetermined 
Federalism: Undetermined 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Donna Downing
Environmental Protection Agency
Water
4502T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1367
Email: Downing.Donna@epamail.epa.gov

Rachel Fertik
Environmental Protection Agency
Water
4502T,
Washington, DC 20460
Phone:202 566-1452
Email: Fertik.Rachel@epamail.epa.gov

 
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