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Comments on the Replacement of the Clean Water Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers are proposing to replace the 2015 Clean Water Rule with a new rule that would harm many waterways by removing critical federal protections. We submitted comments detailing how the agencies provide flawed analysis in support of the proposal. Dr. Peter Howard and Dr. Jeffrey Shrader also submitted an expert report detailing the flaws in the agencies’ new valuation of wetland benefits.

In particular, the agencies provide a flawed assessment of wetland benefits, unquantified forgone benefits, and avoided costs, which obscures the effects of the reduced protections. The agencies make the unreasonable assumption that states will step in to fill the regulatory gap left by the proposal. And the agencies fail to provide critical information and data needed for adequate assessment. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers should provide the public with a more complete and accurate account of the proposal’s costs and benefits before proceeding with any revision of the Clean Water Rule.