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Navigable Waters Protection Rule

WOTUS Step One - Repeal

On this page:

Final Rule: Definition of “Waters of the United States” - Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules

This rule has been replaced by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.

On October 22, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (the agencies) published a final rule to repeal the 2015 Rule defining “waters of the United States” and re-codify the regulatory text that existed prior to the 2015 Rule—i.e., the 1980s regulations, informed by applicable agency guidance documents and consistent with Supreme Court decisions and longstanding agency practice. This final rule became effective on December 23, 2019, but was replaced by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. On June 22, 2020 the Navigable Waters Protection Rule became effective in all states and jurisdictions, except for the State of Colorado due to a court-issued stay in that state. For now, the 2019 Rule remains in effect in Colorado.

With the final Step One rule, the agencies maintained a longstanding regulatory framework that was more familiar to and better-understood by the agencies, states, tribes, local governments, regulated entities, and the public prior to the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule taking effect. 

Public Comment - Step One

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (the agencies) sought comment on the initial proposed Step One rule. The public comment period closed on September 27, 2017, following a 30-day extension of the comment period.

The Agencies sought additional comment on the proposed repeal of the 2015 Rule through a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking. The public comment period for the supplemental notice closed on August 13, 2018.   

Comments on the Step One rulemaking can be found in the docket