The 2015 WOTUS Rule is Formally Withdrawn

September 19, 2019

Slow but Steady Wins the Race

The process, set in motion at the start of the Trump Administration, to repeal the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, took a large step forward last week. The U.S. EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a rule formally withdrawing the 2015 WOTUS rule to the Federal Register. The withdrawal rule is effective immediately upon publication.

The 2015 rule was challenged in court immediately when issued, and it was not in effect in a majority of states as a result. Earlier this summer, a federal court in Georgia directed the federal agencies to revamp the rule due to violations of procedural law governing how it should have been originally written.

The Administration is working to issue a new WOTUS rule, with policy more consistent with the Clean Water Act and the Constitution, to replace the 2015 rule that was just withdrawn. The new rule is expected to be issued in final form early next year. Until that rule is issued, the preexisting WOTUS rules (1987) and guidance issued in 2007 will be used for jurisdictional determinations. See UEP’s statement about the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule here.