It has been nearly 45 years since the passage of the Clean Water Act, yet fundamental questions regarding the Act’s jurisdictional scope remain unanswered. Attempts at defining jurisdictional limits have resulted in significant confusion – the Rapanos case being a prime example. In an attempt to clarify this confusion, the Obama administration enacted the Clean Water Rule, a.k.a the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS), in 2015. Myriad court challenges have ensued, both over the substance of the rule and over which federal courts have jurisdiction to decide its fate. The rule itself has been stayed. The Trump administration has vowed to retract the rule, and environmental groups have vowed to fight any such attempt. In addition, there are a number of other important CWA jurisdictional issues playing out. This a pivotal moment in the history of one of the nation’s most significant environmental laws.
The Section established the WOTUS Working Group and this web page in order to keep Section members up to date on the ever changing landscape of CWA jurisdiction. It contains a rich array of information, including key background documents, cases, and links to other resources. The Working Group, led by Past Section Chair Steve Miano, will regularly update this web page. We hope you visit it often.