The Saratoga Sun -

EPA releases proposed rule for Clean Water Act


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corp) jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act.

In a release, the EPA and the Army Corp said that the proposed rule “will benefit business by increasing efficiency in determining coverage of the Clean Water Act.” The proposed rule clarifies protection for streams and wetlands. It does not, however, apply to any new types of waters that have not been historically covered under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed rule clarifies that under the Clean Water Act, most seasonal and rain dependent streams and wetlands near rivers and streams will be protected. Other types of waters would be considered on a case specific analysis.

Additionally the proposed rule maintains the Clean Water Act exemptions and exclusions for agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with the EPA and Army Corp, have been working together to develop an “interpretive rule to ensure that 53 specific conservation practices that protect or improve water quality will not be subject to Section 404 dredged or fill permitting requirements.”

Agriculture that does not result in discharge of a pollutant to waters will continue to not require a permit.

The EPA and Army Corp welcome comments from the public for 90 days. Comments can be made in the Federal Register at and search for Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.


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