Thursday, December 6, 2007
Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States"
This page is designed to provide updates and background information regarding the scope of "Waters of the United States" protected under the Clean Water Act.
EPA and the Corps of Engineers have jointly issued a legal memorandum that interprets the June 19, 2006 Supreme Court decision in the consolidated cases Rapanos v. U.S. and Carabell v. U.S. (known as the "Rapanos" decision). The guidance is being released to Corps of Engineers and EPA field offices to ensure nationwide predictability, reliability, and consistency in identifying wetlands, streams and rivers subject to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The EPA/Corps guidance reflects the agencies’ intent to provide maximum protection for the Nation's aquatic resources under the CWA as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Rapanos. To ensure such decisions are made in a timely manner, the agencies have released concurrently with the guidance a Memorandum of Agreement laying out a process with specific short timeframes, when necessary, for reaching interagency agreements on jurisdictional calls. In addition, a series of questions and answers provides additional information.
Comments can be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OW-2007-0282 through www.regulations.gov.