On September 17, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) announced a joint proposed rule that purports to clarify which streams, wetlands and other waters are “waters of the United States” and subject to jurisdiction under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The agencies sent the proposed rule to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) but have not yet released it to the public. In support of the proposed rule, the agencies have released a draft science report titled “Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence” (Draft Study).
NAR is working closely with industry partners and the Waters Advocacy Coalition to refute the conclusions of the study released by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and conduct an economic impact analysis of the proposed regulation.
NAR supports using appropriate scientific criteria to identify regulated areas, keeping the focus on preserving high value wetlands; requiring that local officials and affected property owners be notified about the presence of wetlands; and using wetlands mitigation banking.
NAR and others supported the Supreme Court decisions to reject federal agency attempts to assert jurisdiction beyond the navigable to all waters based on “theories” like the presence of migratory birds. NAR believes that only Congress can fundamentally alter the Clean Water Act and will continue to oppose any efforts, whether guidance or proposed regulation, to expand the Act's reach or otherwise infringe on property rights.