Waters of the U.S.
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the issuance of their final rule defining “Waters of the U.S.” However, according to the EPA, the rule could take up two weeks to be published in the Federal Register. Once published, the rule will become effective within 60 days. EPA provided four significant statements about the forthcoming rule: 1) there are “no new permitting requirements;” 2) “the rule will maintain all previous exclusions;” 3) for the first time, the rule provides a definition for the word “tributary;” and 4) the rule adds new exclusions for “artificial lakes, stock ponds, water-filled depressions from construction and grass swales.” Republicans in Congress reacted with strong opposition to the rule, vowing to continue their efforts to block the rule from becoming final. At present, we do not see a path by which that will be possible with legislation.
On Wednesday, June 3, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing to discuss a piece of the House’s anticipated comprehensive energy legislation – the discussion draft concerning accountability and Department of Energy’s thoughts on energy efficiency.
On Wednesday, June 3, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing concerning EPA’s proposed rule to provide for a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone.
Drought in Western U.S.
On Tuesday, June 2, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing concerning the drought in the western United States and state and other actions to alleviate the current conditions.