Comparison of the Old and New Definitions of Waters of the United States

The recently issued definition of waters of the United States for purposes of the Clean Water Act continues to generate significant interest in the legal and popular worlds. Litigation has been filed against the new rule, by states and industry on one side, and by environmental advocates on the other side. Unless a court order is issued against the rule, the new definition will go into effect on August 28, 2015.

As might be expected at such a time of change, many landowners are seeking to complete projects while the old rule is in effect. This is more about certainty of regulatory outcomes than the specifics of the two rules, as any change in law brings significant uncertainty.

To assist landowners and others who may be impacted by the rule, I have prepared a side-by-side comparison of the 1986 and 2015 versions of the rule, as well as a redline version. I hope the documents are useful.

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