EPA, Army Corps Extend Deadline for Rapanos Comments

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are extending the public comment period for the interagency joint guidance on the scope of Clean Water Act geographic jurisdiction following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Rapanos v. United States. The public comment period has been extended by 45 days and comments on the guidance and experiences with its implementation are now due by Jan. 21, 2008.

EPA and the Corps issued the guidance in June 2007, consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in the consolidated cases Rapanos v. United States and Carabell v. United States regarding the scope of the agencies' jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The guidance supports a strong regulatory program that ensures no net loss of wetlands, which is one of three key elements of the Bush Administration wetlands policy. The other two elements include an active management program that will result in the restoration, enhancement and protection of 3 million acres of wetlands by 2009 and a commitment to conserve isolated wetlands such as prairie potholes.

During the early implementation of the guidance, the agencies are inviting public comments on case studies and experiences in applying the guidance. Comments can be submitted to docket EPA-HQ-OW-2007-0282 through www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main . The agencies, within nine months after the Rapanos guidance has been issued, intend to either re-issue, revise, or suspend the guidance after carefully considering the public comments received and field experience with implementing the guidance. For more information please visit: www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/guidance/CWAwaters.html .

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