By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

The Trump administration’s revision of the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) reached a major milestone Dec. 5 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forwarded its draft to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

OIRA’s review is the final step before the new WOTUS rule is finalized. There is no timetable for the agency’s review. Once the rule is released, litigation in federal court is likely.

ARTBA supported the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Obama-era WOTUS rule and issue a revised regulation. When enacted in 2015, ARTBA held the regulation improperly extended federal Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction over roadside ditches and would result in unnecessary permitting requirements leading to increased delay for transportation construction projects.

EPA’s re-write of WOTUS, which ARTBA also supports,  would not include roadside ditches in federal wetlands jurisdiction.