Last week, EPA and the Corps issued a long-awaited proposal to redefine the “waters of the US” (WOTUS) subject to federal regulation and permitting requirements under the Clean Water Act. The reach of the CWA is notoriously unclear, but knowing which areas on your property are jurisdictional and will require permits is critical to project planning and timelines. If finalized, the proposed rule would replace the Obama administration’s contentious 2015 WOTUS Rule and eliminate the regulatory patchwork that currently exists as the 2015 WOTUS Rule is being implemented in only certain parts of the country.


For more information, read the full post here on The Nickel Report.

The U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers announced on March 25th a proposed rule revising the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The proposed rule, which has not yet been published in the Federal Register, seeks to clarify the extent of federal CWA jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S., and Rapanos v. United States.  These decisions resulted in considerable uncertainty within EPA, the regulated community and lower courts regarding the reach of the CWA, particularly over isolated wetlands and other non-navigable water bodies.

Continue Reading Proposed Rule Defining “Waters of the United States” Announced by EPA and Corps of Engineers

Nationwide permitting for linear projects, relied upon by pipeline operators for construction and maintenance projects, recently survived a challenge from environmental groups.  On December 30, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ruled against the Sierra Club and other environmental groups in their challenge to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) use of Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12) for linear utility line projects.  The suit, initially brought in June 2012, specifically targeted the Corps’ approval of a NWP 12 for the construction of the southern “Gulf Coast” leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, but also more broadly challenged the Corps’ 2012 reissuance of NWP 12 as a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) (see prior pipelinelaw alert here). 

Continue Reading Federal Court Upholds Issuance of Nationwide Permits for Pipeline Construction