EPA Amends Waters of the United States Definition
In response to the Supreme Court decision in the Sackett v. EPA case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army announced a final rule amending the 2023 definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), including the removal of the “significant nexus test.”
The agencies said the amended ruling only addresses parts of the 2023 rule that were determined invalid as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the Sackett family.
The new rule removes the significant nexus test when identifying tributaries and other waters as federally protected. The significant nexus test required a federal regulator to determine whether a feature significantly impacted “the integrity of traditional navigable water.” While the significant nexus test was one major point of contention with the WOTUS definition from housing organizations, the NAHB said the new final rule still remains a challenge to housing affordability due to the regulatory burdens for builders and developers.