The Environmental Protection Agency has published the final rule repealing the Waters of the U.S. rule, returning the law to provisions in place prior to 2015, but legal challenges are expected from environmental groups.
First announced in September, the American Farm Bureau Federation at the time called the rule a victory for farmers and ranchers. The EPA attributed the repeal to four factors. First, the agency says the 2015 rule did not implement the legal limits on the scope of the agency authority under the Clean Water Act as intended by Congress. EPA also says the Obama-era rulemaking failed to adequately consider states’ rights.
The repeal is an effort by the EPA to avoid interpretations of the Clean Water Act that “push the envelope of their constitutional and statutory authority.”
The new rule will go into effect on December 23, 2019.