The final federal rules pertaining to building and development projects along the nation’s waterways have now been released.
The Federal Register has just published the latest version of the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” and in so doing a two-month timeline has been launched before the new rule becomes effective nationally.
As proposed by the Trump Administration, the rule provides a new definition of what comprises the “waters of the United States,” and will decrease the number of federal permits that builders and developers have been required to fill out for projects related to waterways.
Contractors have charged that the rules have been burdensome, affecting everything from work on a pond on private property to man-made ditches.
An editorial published by the National Association of Home Builders complained that increasingly home builders were required to “obtain additional or more onerous permits.”
The new rule, as seen in some quarters, will provide certainty regarding federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agricultural Committee, said in a statement that the new rule “takes steps to protect lakes, ponds, streams, and other tributaries, while providing that certainty to our ag producers.”
But a number of environmental groups have expressed their opposition to the new rule. The National Resources Defense Council has announced plans to sue the Trump Administration over the rule change.
In a statement, Jim Murphy, legal advocacy director with the National Wildlife Federation, remarked: “We cannot afford to further put our public health at risk or lose protection for half or our remaining wetlands.”
By Garry Boulard
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