Comments to EPA and USACE on Addition of Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 1:30pm

VIA ELECTRONIC FILING

The Honorable E. Scott Pruitt
Administrator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20460

Mr. Ryan A. Fisher
Acting Assistant Secretary
Department of the Army, Civil Works
108 Army Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20310

RE: Definition of “Waters of the United States” – Addition of an Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule, 82 Fed. Reg. 55,542 (November 22, 2017); Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0644

Dear Administrator Pruitt and Mr. Fisher:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber), the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (collectively, the Agencies) proposal to add an “applicability date” of two years from the final action on the proposal to the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule (2015 Rule).

I. Background

The definition of “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is extremely important to our membership. In 2014, the Agencies proposed the 2015 Rule in order to clarify the scope of waters subject to federal protection under the Clean Water Act (CWA).2 The Chamber and its membership reviewed the proposal and filed comments in opposition to it, pointing out a number of key issues that would seriously and adversely impact the business community, such as the expansive new definition of “tributary.”3 The Agencies, however, disregarded our comments, as well as comments from a number of other industry organizations, and finalized the 2015 Rule on June 29, 2015...