The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period on a proposed rule that it says will clarify its authority under the Clean Water Act.
The comment period is now open until Oct. 20.
The rule, proposed in April by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, aims to clarify the agencies’ authority over inland water under the Clean Water Act. Their current jurisdiction, based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, includes “navigable” waters and waters significantly connected to navigable waters.
Critics argue the proposed Waters of the United States rule would broaden that to include intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation and would narrow the scope of what are considered normal farming and ranching practices.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has said the proposal does not include new restrictions and merely clarifies what bodies of water already are under federal jurisdiction in the Clean Water Act.