Stakeholder sessions will be held weekly between September and November
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of the Army (the agencies) will hold 11 sessions to give stakeholders an opportunity to provide recommendations on a revised definition of “waters of the United States.” The agencies will hold nine, 2-hour long teleconferences that will be tailored for specific sectors, plus one that will be open to the general public. The agencies will also hold one in-person session for small entities.
“EPA is committed to an open and transparent process for reviewing the definition of ‘waters of the United States,’” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Receiving input from across the country will help us make informed decisions as we move through our two-step process that will return power to the states and to provide regulatory certainty to our nation’s farmers and businesses.”
These sessions follow February 28, 2017, Presidential Executive order on “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The February Order states that it is in the national interest to ensure that the nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of Congress and the states under the Constitution.
To meet these objectives, the agencies are following an expeditious, two-step rulemaking process. The recommendations gathered through these stakeholder sessions, in addition to the feedback the agencies are hearing through ongoing outreach to state, local and tribal governments, will help inform the step-two rulemaking, which would revise the definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.
The stakeholder sessions will be held on a weekly basis, beginning September 19, and will continue each Tuesday thereafter for 10 weeks. Each will run from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Information on how to register for each of these meetings is available on the EPA website. Registration for each webinar will close a week prior. Those wishing to provide verbal recommendations during the teleconference will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Due to the expected volume of participants, individuals will be asked to limit their oral presentation to three minutes.
Stakeholder Sessions Schedule
• September 19, 2017 – small entities (small businesses, small organizations and small governmental jurisdictions)
• September 26, 2017 – environment and public advocacy
• October 3, 2017 – conservation, e.g., hunters and anglers
• October 10, 2017 – construction and transportation
• October 17, 2017 – agriculture
• October 24, 2017 – industry
• October 31, 2017 – mining
• November 7, 2017 – scientific organizations and academia
• November 14, 2017 – storm water, wastewater management, and drinking water agencies
• November 21, 2017 – general public
The agencies are also planning an in-person meeting with small entities, which will be held on Monday, October 23, 2017, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time at the U.S. EPA’s headquarters.
The agencies will also be accepting written recommendations on the step-two rulemaking effort through a non-regulatory docket (EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480), which will be available when the notice is published in the Federal Register. The agencies ask that this information be submitted on or before November 28, 2017.
Additional information: www.epa.gov/wotus-rule
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Southeast AgNet’s Randall Weiseman they want to eliminate the uncertainty.
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