February 28, 2017

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On Tuesday, President Trump fulfilled a campaign promise to reduce and scrutinize environmental regulations and signed an executive order directing the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers to review the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, a key Obama Administration regulation intended to more clearly define which waterbodies fall within the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.  Supporters of the WOTUS Rule praised its protection of water supply for 117 million Americans, while opponents of the WOTUS Rule—primarily industries with significant real estate assets including agriculture and real estate development—challenged its breadth.  The WOTUS Rule is already subject to a court-imposed stay but will likely be withdrawn following the President’s executive order.  Following their review, the EPA and Corps may choose to replace the WOTUS Rule but any resulting regulation is likely to define jurisdictional waters more narrowly than the WOTUS Rule does.