On September 15, the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) released a paper produced by the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) on the new “waters of the U.S.” rules proposed by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. The new rules are intended to bring clarity as to the jurisdictional reach of the federal government in light of a somewhat muddled guidance from the Supreme Court. The proposed rules have generated controversy; the House of Representatives recently passed a bill to block them.
The ACOEL paper includes a complete review of previous case law, a compilation of prior guidance and an analysis of the rule. It was produced by a team of 10 ACOEL (http://www.acoel.org/) members from private practice (including DWT), academia and NGOs.
ECOS, the association of state environmental regulatory agencies, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with ACOEL under which ACOEL members would lend their expertise to ECOS on complex federal policy initiatives. ACOEL provides objective analysis without taking an advocacy position, informing the states in aid of their formulating their own policies.