The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced that it has extended the comment period on a proposed rule that has the potential to significantly expand the authority of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the “Corps”) under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule redefines “Waters of the U.S.” in a manner that many argue will vastly expand the “waters” which will be subject to regulations that require permits and impose stringent penalties for noncompliance. Consequently, the proposed rule has the potential to impact industrial and commercial activities—including real estate development, construction, and mining activities—that may have previously fallen outside the scope of the Clean Water Act. Individuals and entities involved in such activities will be required to be much more vigilant in determining whether isolated and seasonal “waterways” or wetlands could now fall within the scope of the federal agencies’ new definition of “Waters of the U.S.”
The comment period on the proposed rule has now been extended until Friday, November 14, 2014. The comment period is an important opportunity for impacted parties and stakeholders to submit their views and concerns regarding the potential impact of the proposed rule. We welcome the opportunity to discuss any such concerns with you and assist you in the development and submission of comments.