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Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker

Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States"

a.k.a. Clean Water Rule: Definition of "Waters of the United States"

RIN: 2040-AF30 (What's this?)

Docket No.: EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 (What's this?)

Current Phase: Proposal (What's this?)

After U.S. Supreme Court decisions in SWANCC and Rapanos, the scope of "waters of the US" protected under all CWA programs has been an issue of considerable debate and uncertainty. The Act has a single definition for "waters of the United States." As a result, these decisions affect the geographic scope of all CWA programs.

SWANCC and Rapanos did not invalidate the current regulatory definition of "waters of the United States." However, the decisions established important considerations for how those regulations should be interpreted, and experience implementing the regulations has identified several areas that could benefit from additional clarification through rulemaking. U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule for determining whether a water is protected by the Clean Water Act. This rule will make clear which waterbodies are protected under the Clean Water Act.

NPRM: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review09/17/2013
NPRM: Received by OMB09/17/2013
NPRM: Regulatory Review Concluded03/24/2014
NPRM: Comment Period Open04/21/2014
NPRM: Published in FR04/21/2014
NPRM: Comment Period Extension Published in FR06/24/2014
NPRM: Comment Period Closed07/21/2014
NPRM: Comment Period Extension2 Published in FR10/14/2014
Notice: Published in FR10/24/2014
NPRM: Comment Period Closed with Extension11/14/2014
Final Rule: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review04/03/2015
Final Rule: Received by OMB04/06/2015
Final Rule: Published in FR05/2015 (projected)

Potential Effects

Of the potential effects described in Reg DaRRT, none are anticipated at this time.

Participate / Learn More Regulatory Review

Some of EPA's rulemakings undergo regulatory review (What's this?), as prescribed by Executive Order 12866 and coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The following list describes which of this rulemaking's stages have completed review and published in the Federal Register, if any, and provides links to the review documents where available. Consult the "Timeline" section of this Web page for the dates of each review.

  • Final Rule - This stage of the rulemaking underwent review.
Citations & Authorities

Federal Register Citations

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Citation
40 CFR 110;40 CFR 112;40 CFR 116;40 CFR 117;40 CFR 122;40 CFR 230;40 CFR 232;40 CFR 300;40 CFR 302;40 CFR 401;33 CFR 328

Legal Authority
33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq Clean Water Act


This site provides summaries of priority rulemakings and priority retrospective reviews of existing regulations. We update most of the site at the beginning of each month, though some data is updated more frequently if it is time sensitive. The information on this site is not intended to and does not commit EPA to specific conclusions or actions. For example, after further analysis, EPA may decide the effects of a rule would be different or it may decide to terminate a rulemaking.

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