On Oct. 30, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers withdrew a controversial, NMHC/NAA-opposed guidance document that was being used to determine which properties were subject to the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) protections. To help clarify jurisdictional issues raised as a result of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, EPA submitted a draft rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. OMB has 90 days to complete its review.
Through its membership in the Waters Advocacy Coalition, NMHC/NAA had objected to the de facto regulatory status of the guidance document and called on federal regulators to pursue a full and open rulemaking effort.
EPA also recently released a long-awaited scientific study that evaluates the connection between intermittently flowing streams and certain wetlands to waters in the U.S. The draft report, “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence,” is the scientific underpinning for anticipated regulations under the Clean Water Act. However, NMHC/NAA are concerned that the report provides insufficient analysis for the agency to make determinations on which properties would be subject to regulation under the federal Clean Water Act.