The Clean Water Rule for Development: Factsheet Page: 1 of 2
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The Clean Water Rule for:
WHY THE CLEAN WATER RULE IS IMPORTANT
Clean and reliable water is an economic driver, including for manufacturing, farming, tourism,
recreation, and energy production. Protection for about 60 percent of the nation's streams and millions
of acres of wetlands has been confusing and complex since Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and 2006.
This led to time-consuming determinations of protected waters, which delays activities of developers.
EPA and the U.S. Army are ensuring that waters protected
under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined and The Clean Water Act protects
more predictably determined, making it easier and quicker the nation's waters. A Clean
for businesses and industry to understand and operate.
Developers will benefit from the greater clarity and certainty Water Act permit is only needed
provided by the Clean Water Rule. Permitting requirements if these waters are going to be
have not changed, but the permit process will be more
timely and predictable as covered and exempt waters are polluted or destroyed.
more clearly defined.
INPUT SHAPED THE RULE
After releasing the proposed rule last year, the agencies held more than 400 meetings with stakeholders
across the country to provide information, hear concerns, and answer questions. The EPA and Army
Corps listened to the important questions raised by the development community about what it means
for waters to be "covered" or "jurisdictional" under the Clean Water Act. The agencies reviewed over
one million public comments, and carefully considered perspectives from all sides. All of this public input
helped to shape the final Clean Water Rule.
WHAT THE RULE DOES
The Clean Water Rule protects streams and wetlands that are scientifically shown to impact
downstream water quality and form the foundation of our nation's water resources. The rule provides
more certainty and timeliness through the use of clear definitions and a reduced need for case-specific
determinations. Specifically, the Clean Water Rule:
" Clearly defines and protects tributaries that impact the health of downstream waters. The
Clean Water Act protects navigable waterways and their tributaries. The rule says that a
tributary must show physical features of flowing water - a bed, bank, and ordinary high water
mark - to warrant protection. The rule provides protection for headwaters that have these
features and science shows can have a significant connection to downstream waters.
" Provides certainty in how far safeguards extend to nearby waters. The rule protects waters
that are next to rivers and lakes and their tributaries because science shows that they impact
downstream waters. The rule sets boundaries on covering nearby waters for the first time that
are physical and measurable.
" Protects the nation's regional water treasures. Science shows that specific water features can
function like a system and impact the health of downstream waters. The rule protects prairie
Clear Protection for Clean Water
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United States. Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Rule for Development: Factsheet, text, 2006-2017; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc949468/m1/1/: accessed November 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.