EPA to host 10 hearings on water rule rewrite

EPA to host 10 hearings on water rule rewrite
© Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning 10 public hearings to gather input on its effort to write a new version of an Obama-era water pollution rule.

The teleconference meetings will run throughout the fall, the EPA said in a Federal Register notice released Friday and due to be published Monday.

Nine of the sessions will be dedicated to specific interests like agriculture, construction, conservation and energy, and one will be for the general public.

ADVERTISEMENT
The meetings are part of an effort by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to write a new “waters of the United States” regulation to define the limits of the federal government’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.

The agencies formally proposed in July to repeal the Obama administration’s version of the rule, which Republicans and industry said was vague and far-reaching and would require a long permitting process for everyday business activities.

The second part of that process is to write a new regulation. President Trump has directed the agencies to write a more business-friendly rule that follows an opinion Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in 2006 that would be far more restrictive on the federal government than the previous rule.

Environmentalists supported the Obama administration rule and charge the Trump administration with putting significant water supplies in danger.

“Both EPA and the Corps are aware that the scope of [Clean Water Act] jurisdiction is of intense interest to a broad array of stakeholders and therefore want to provide time for broad pre-proposal input,” the EPA wrote in the Federal Register notice.

The EPA is also planning an in-person meeting on the matter with small entities like businesses and governments, and it is inviting the public to submit written comments as well.