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S. 3193: Protect Utah’s Rural Economy Act
by outdoorwire. 08/12/18 06:30 PM
H.R. 6520: Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act of 2018
by outdoorwire. 08/12/18 06:09 PM
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Access Roundtable
08/13/18 01:50 PM

On August 2, 2018, the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) and the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued two related, proposed rulemakings, which together comprise the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (“SAFE”) Vehicles Rule. The proposed rule, if adopted, would curb NHTSA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (“CAFE”) standards and EPA’s tailpipe carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years (“MY”) 2021 through 2026 that were issued in 2012. The proposal also asserts that the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (“EPCA”), which requires NHTSA to set national fuel economy standards for new motor vehicles, preempts any state, including California, from imposing or enforcing its own vehicle fuel economy standard.

The proposed rule would maintain the CAFE and CO2 standards applicable in MY 2020 for MYs 2021 through 2026. The estimated CAFE and CO2 standards for MY 2020 are 43.7 mpg and 204 g/mi for passenger cars and 31.3 mpg and 284 g/mi for light trucks, projecting an overall industry average of 37 mpg, as compared to 46.7 mpg under the standards issued in 2012. These revised standards would constitute a single set of national fuel economy standards. The proposal also seeks to exclude CO2-equivalent emission improvements associated with air conditioning refrigerants and leakage (and, optionally, offsets for nitrous oxide and methane emissions) after MY 2020.

The proposal is a de novo rulemaking and, according to the agencies, based on an “entirely new analysis reflecting the best and most up-to-date information available” demonstrating that the standards currently in place are not feasible from an economic standpoint.

In support of the proposed rulemaking, NHTSA and EPA project that the rule will reduce the number of lives lost annually in fatal vehicle crashes by 1,000 individuals, reduce the average ownership cost of new vehicles by $2,340, and save manufacturers $252.6 billion in regulatory costs through MY 2029. The agencies also acknowledge that the rule would increase daily fuel consumption by 2-3%, increase global average temperature, and increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Public comments will be accepted for 60 days, until October 1, 2018.

Implications for California’s Independent Emissions Programs

Not only does the proposed rule find that EPCA preempts California’s fuel economy standards, it also attempts to foreclose California from adopting or imposing emission standards independent from the federal program. Specifically, the proposed rule would withdraw EPA’s January 9, 2013, Clean Air Act (“CAA”) waiver of preemption for California’s Advanced Clean Car program, its Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate, and its Greenhouse Gas standards applicable to model years 2021 through 2025.

In that regard, Title II of the CAA generally provides that California may obtain from EPA a waiver of the CAA’s Section 209(a) preemption clause. Without such a waiver, Section 209(a) prohibits states from (1) adopting or enforcing an emissions-related standard for motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines and (2) requiring certification, inspection, or other approval relating to emissions-controls. Prior regulatory interpretation and case-law have been applied to provide that California is presumably entitled to receive such a waiver unless the EPA Administrator finds one of the following: (i) California’s determination that its standards in the aggregate will be at least as protective of public health and welfare as applicable Federal standards is arbitrary and capricious; (ii) California does not need independent standards in order to meet compelling and extraordinary conditions; or (iii) California standards and accompanying enforcement procedures are inconsistent with Section 202(a), which requires the EPA to establish standards applicable to the emissions of any air pollutant, including GHGs, for new motor vehicles.

In proposing to withdraw California’s waiver, the rule concludes that California’s programs are unnecessary to meet “compelling and extraordinary” conditions because California programs address environmental considerations related to CO2 that are neither specific to California, nor caused by consequences of CO2 emissions that are unique to California such that the programs’ standards would provide a remedy that would also be unique to California.

Conclusions and Implications

The proposed changes to national fuel economy and emissions standards will likely meet substantial opposition from environmental and consumer groups alike. The larger challenge here, however, will almost certainly involve the courtroom battle that will take place between California and the federal government if the proposed rulemaking becomes final. California has already announced its intention to fight this proposed rulemaking and to work diligently to maintain its right to a waiver under the CAA, noting little hesitancy when it comes to suing both EPA and NHTSA.

While the proposed rule may release new vehicle manufacturers from meeting more burdensome regulatory standards, the impact of the rulemaking may be an extended period of uncertainty in the automotive industry and two potentially conflicting markets.

Source: Lexology
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Federal Legislation
08/12/18 06:30 PM
A bill to limit the establishment or extension of national monuments in the State of Utah.


Jul 11, 2018

Introduced on Jul 11, 2018

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on July 11, 2018. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Proposed bill text is available at GovTrack
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Federal Legislation
08/12/18 06:23 PM
Passed Senate with Changes (back to House)

The Senate passed the bill with changes not in the House version and sent it back to the House to approve the changes.

See changes at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr6147/text/eas#compare=eh
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Federal Legislation
08/12/18 06:09 PM
H.R. 6520: Arizona Sonoran Desert Heritage Act of 2018

To designate certain public lands in the Sonoran Desert of the State of Arizona as national conservation areas and wilderness areas, and for other purposes.


Jul 25, 2018

Introduced on Jul 25, 2018

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on July 25, 2018. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Proposed bill text is available at GovTrack
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Federal Legislation
08/12/18 05:59 PM
H.R. 6147: Interior, Environment, Financial Services and General Government, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2019

H.R. 6147 provides a total of $58.675 billion in total discretionary budget authority for agencies within the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act and the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act. This includes $35.252 billion for the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies and $24.423 billion for the financial services and general government provisions.

###Division A ####Title I—Department of the Interior

The bill provides a total of $13.046 billion for the Department of the Interior, including funding for:

Bureau of Land Management (BLM): The bill provides a total of $1.4 billion for the BLM, an increase of $55 million above the FY 2018 enacted level.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Resource Management: The bill provides $1.6 billion for FWS, an $11 million decrease below the FY18 enacted levels. Significant investments continue to be made to reduce the deferred maintenance backlogs within the National Wildlife Refuge System and the National Fish Hatchery System, and to ensure that all fish hatcheries continue to operate. Funding to recover and delist threatened and endangered species is increased by $5.5 million, including a $2.5 million increase for Recovery Challenge matching grants to share the costs of recovery with corporate and other non-governmental partners. Proposed cuts are restored to the National Wildlife Refuge Fund and cost-shared grant programs, including the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, which is increased by $2 million. Bill language is included to delist recovered gray wolves and prevent the unnecessary listing of greater sage-grouse.
National Park Service (NPS): The legislation includes $3.25 billion for the NPS, an increase of $50 million above the fiscal year 2018 level.
United States Geological Survey (USGS): The bill includes $1.2 billion for the USGS, $19 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. Funding is targeted to critical infrastructure investments in natural hazards programs, streamgages, the groundwater monitoring network, and critical materials mapping activities. The bill includes $21 million for an earthquake early warning system to help save lives during natural disasters; a $13 million increase for the streamgage network; and $11 million for the Three Dimensional Mapping and Economic Empowerment Program. The bill also fully funds the development of “Landsat 9” – a satellite program that provides land use measurements that are important to local communities for agriculture, forestry, energy and water resource decisions.
Wildland Firefighting and Prevention – In total, the bill funds wildland firefighting and prevention programs at $3.9 billion, fully funding the 10-year average for wildland fire suppression costs for both the Department of the Interior and the Forest Service, and providing robust additional funding – $500 million – for Forest Service suppression operations.
Native American Programs: The bill increases the federal commitment to honoring government-to-government treaty and Trust agreements entered into with American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Indian Health Service is funded at $5.9 billion, $370 million above the fiscal year 2018 level. The Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education are funded at $3.1 billion, $40 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
Federal Payments to Local Communities: The bill provides $500 million for “Payments In Lieu of Taxes” (PILT), $35 million above the budget request. PILT provides funds for local governments in 49 states to help offset losses in property taxes due to nontaxable federal lands within their counties. Without congressional action, many rural communities would face huge budget shortfalls impacting public safety, education, and other local government responsibilities.

Read the Republican Policy Committee Summary

Read the full text at GovTrack
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Federal Legislation
08/12/18 05:53 PM
H.R. 5556: Environmental Compliance Cost Transparency Act of 2018

To provide for transparency and reporting related to direct and indirect costs incurred by the Bonneville Power Administration, the Western Area Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Southeastern Power Administration related to compliance with any Federal environmental laws impacting the conservation of fish and wildlife, and for other purposes.

Introduced: Apr 18, 2018
Status: Ordered Reported on Jul 18, 2018

The committees assigned to this bill sent it to the House or Senate as a whole for consideration on July 18, 2018.

Proposed bill text is available at GovTrack
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07/26/18 12:56 PM
On July 19, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced three proposed rulemakings that would revise the regulations pursuant to which the Services have implemented the Endangered Species Act (ESA). These initiatives were the result of public comments solicited by the Services in response to Executive Order 13777, 82 Fed. Reg. 31576 (July 7, 2017), which sought comments on how federal agencies could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal regulations and the regulatory process.

The proposed rules fall into three categories:

1. Proposed rules to adjust how FWS and NMFS decide to remove, add or reclassify species on protected lists pursuant to Section 4 of the ESA and to designate critical habitat. The proposals in this initiative include the following:

♦ Clarifying that, while the Services will continue to base determinations solely on biological information, there are situations in which the public are appropriately apprised of economic or other impacts of the determination.

♦ Clarifying that the Services will determine endangered/threatened status using the same standards regardless of whether the species is listed at the time; the standard for delisting shall be the same as the standard for listing in the first place.

♦ Clarifying that “foreseeable future” as to threatened species determination will be case-by-case and will extend only so far as the Services can reasonably determine that the circumstances are probable.

♦ Proposing a non-exhaustive list of situations when it is not prudent to designate critical habitat. As to unoccupied areas, the Services will first evaluate the areas occupied by the species and then determine whether designation of unoccupied areas is essential for conservation of the species; there must be a reasonable likelihood that the unoccupied area will contribute to conservation.

2. A proposed rule that would rescind the current rule that automatically extends the protections of ESA section 9 to species listed or reclassified as threatened. Under this proposal, the prohibitions in section 9 of the ESA (which include the “taking” prohibition) would continue to apply to threatened species listed as such as of the effective date of the rule. For species listed or reclassified as threatened after that date, the prohibitions will apply only if the FWS publishes a species-specific rule. This approach was described as consistent with the approach currently followed by NMFS for threatened species.

3. Proposed rules to simplify the consultation process that federal agencies must go through with FWS or NMFS under Section 7 of the ESA to ensure that administrative actions do not jeopardize protected species. Proposals here include:

♦ Revised definitions of “destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat;” “effects of the action;” “environmental baseline;” and “programmatic consultation.”

♦ Revisions to the rule as to when agencies are not required to consult under section 7.

♦ A 30-day deadline for informal consultation.

♦ Clarification as to when it is necessary to initiate formal consultation.

♦ Clarification of the responsibilities of the Services during formal consultation.

♦ An amendment that the Services can adopt all or part of an agency’s initiation package in the Service’s biological opinion.

♦ A new provision for expedited consultation.

♦ Revisions to the provision on re-initiation of consultation.

The proposed rules will be published in the Federal Register on July 25 and the deadline for comments is September 24.

Source: Lexology
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07/24/18 12:32 PM
On July 20, the U.S. Fish Wildlife Service (“USFWS”) and National Marine Fisheries Service (“NMFS”) (collectively, the “Services”) released pre-publication versions of three proposed rules that would significantly affect applicability and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”). These regulations relate to the process and standards for listing species and designating critical habitat, the scope of protections for threatened species, and the process for consultations with federal agencies under Section 7.

In addition to implementing the Trump Administration’s general deregulatory goals and Executive Order 13777, several of these proposed changes appear directly responsive to negative court precedent from the Ninth Circuit that the Services indicate improperly have extended the ESA beyond its intended scope, while other changes are intended to rollback expansions that were implemented by the Obama Administration.

The package of proposals includes a number of provisions that are intended to streamline and clarify the scope of the ESA, including the ability to use programmatic consultations and proposing to include an expedited consultation process under Section 7. Nevertheless, the most significant and controversial changes likely are those that are focused on shrinking the scope of the ESA, rolling back Obama-era revisions, and responding to negative court precedent. If finalized as proposed, among other changes, these regulatory revisions would:

Remove the blanket “take” prohibition from threatened species;
De-emphasize the role of unoccupied habitat in critical habitat designations by reversing 2016 regulations implemented by the Obama Administration;
Establish a framework for and limit the scope of the “foreseeable future” for purposes of threatened species listings;
Allow economic impacts to be identified – though not considered – in listing decisions;
Narrow the definition of adverse modification to further de-emphasize unoccupied critical habitat in the Section 7 consultation process; and
Clarify that the environmental baseline is not part of the action to be evaluated as part of Section 7 consultations and to propose a limiting definition that would better explain how to perform consultations for ongoing actions.

These changes, if finalized as proposed, would represent a significant departure from historical application and scope of the ESA, especially to threatened species. The changes also are intended to clarify and explain the Section 7 consultation process as well as the listing and critical habitat designation process, which could provide additional certainty and clarity to the regulated community on these important issues to project development. Comments on all three proposals will be due 60 days after the proposals are published in the Federal Register.

Source: Lexology
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07/24/18 12:29 PM
Services Propose Highly Anticipated Revisions to ESA Regulations on Critical Habitat Designation, Section 7 Consultation, and Protections for Threatened Species

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued three significant, highly anticipated, proposals to revise the Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations on July 19. The proposals address critical habitat designation, ESA section 7 consultation, and protection of threatened species. Once published in the Federal Register, there will be a 60 day comment period for all three proposals. The proposals would make important changes in each area, and are likely to garner substantial attention in public comments. Some key highlights follow.

Among the major issues at stake are: (1) concerns by industry, landowners and other stakeholders that critical habitat designations often draw into federal regulation broad areas of land and water that have little or no current demonstrated value to the species, resulting in costly burdens without proportionate benefits to the species, and (2) that ESA section 7 consultations on federal agency actions (like permits) often evolve into broad evaluations of activities that extend beyond the regulatory jurisdiction and control of the agency, leading to lopsided project restrictions and uneconomic outcomes. To avoid these and other problems, groups often urge the Services to ensure that (1) when an area of land or water is designated as critical habitat, it is truly critical to the species at the time of designation – and concerns about theoretical future habitat need be held for future revisions to the designation, as contemplated by Congress in the statute, and (2) consultation focuses on the specific agency action under consultation and those effects that are caused by the action and subject to the agency’s regulatory jurisdiction and control.

1. Critical Habitat Designation

Following settlement of challenges brought by industry and State groups to critical habitat rules promulgated in 2016, the Services have now proposed revisions to the critical habitat regulations.

The proposed rule would return to the prior two-step approach to designating critical habitat under which the Service first considers designation of occupied habitat, then considers designation of areas outside of occupied habitat only if a designation limited to the species’ present range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.
The proposal would thereby change the current process under which the Service immediately and automatically considers designation of unoccupied areas.
The Services propose important clarifications to and limits on the designation of unoccupied areas as critical habitat:
Designation of unoccupied areas would be allowed only when a designation limited to occupied areas would (1) be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species, or (2) result in less-efficient conservation for the species.
This change is intended to add predictability to the process of determining when designation of unoccupied habitat may be appropriate.
For an unoccupied area to be considered essential to conservation, the Secretary must determine that there is a “reasonable likelihood that the area will contribute to the conservation of the species,” taking into account the best available science regarding species-specific and area-specific factors.
As an example, the Services state that they might conclude that an area is unlikely to contribute to the conservation of the species where “it would require extensive affirmative restoration that does not seem likely to occur such as when a non-federal landowner or necessary partners are unwilling to undertake or allow such restoration.”

2. Section 7 Consultation

The Services have proposed revisions to the ESA section 7 consultation regulations, including the definition of “destruction or adverse modification” of designated critical habitat.

The proposal would revise the definition of adverse modification by removing the controversial second sentence in the current definition, which includes impacts to land that “preclude or significantly delay development of [physical or biological] features” essential to the conservation of a species.
The proposal would create a “but for” standard of causation for determining the effects of an action.

3. Protections for Threatened Species

Current FWS regulations extend to threatened species most of the ESA’s prohibitions that otherwise apply only to endangered species, including the take prohibition. The proposal would require FWS, pursuant to ESA section 4(d), to determine on a species-by-species basis which, if any, prohibitions are appropriate for species the Service lists as threatened in the future (including the take prohibition).

Source: Lexology
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All About Water
07/20/18 01:33 PM
The Clean Water Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States Rule, has been controversial since it was first proposed. It was opposed in multiple judicial forums when it was finalized in June, 2015. The Trump Administration has taken steps to repeal and replace the Rule. The latest chapter in the ongoing saga is the issuance by the EPA and the Corps of Engineers (the Agencies) of a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice), which provided further justification of its effort to repeal the Rule.


Ever since Justices Scalia and Kennedy muddied the waters in the 2006 Rapanos decision, the extent of the Agencies’ jurisdiction over ‘waters of the United States’ has been the subject of much debate. The Rule was touted by the Agencies as providing much needed ‘regulatory certainty.’ Many felt, though, that the Rule expanded the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ by including waters that were never intended to be within the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA). For example, tributaries were defined to include any water that contributes flow, directly or indirectly, to a traditional navigable waterway and that is characterized by the presence of a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark. This definition included many waterways, and their adjacent wetlands, that were not previously subject to regulation.

After the Rule was issued, chaos ensued. Multiple petitions for review were filed in numerous district and appellate courts across the country. At the district court level, a court in North Dakota issued a stay of the Rule, but only as to the states involved in the litigation. At the appellate court level, the petitions were consolidated at the Sixth Circuit, which stayed the Rule almost immediately, finding that the petitioners were likely to succeed on their claims that the rule exceeded the Agencies’ authority under the CWA. However, when the Supreme Court ruled that the appellate courts had no jurisdiction, the nationwide stay was put into question. The Agencies came to the rescue, though, adopting the Applicability Rule, which created an effective date of February 6, 2020 for the Rule.

Meanwhile, an executive order was issued on February 28, 2017 which required that the Agencies review the Rule. Among other things, the Agencies were required to consider defining the scope of jurisdiction in a manner similar to the approach announced by Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos case. In that case, Justice Scalia stated that jurisdiction extended to waters that are navigable in the traditional sense, relatively permanent, standing, or continuously flowing bodies of water, and wetlands with a continuous surface connection to those relatively permanent waters.

The Agencies announced a two-step process to implement the executive order. In Step One, the agencies would repeal the Rule and re-institute the rules as they existed prior to issuance of the Rule. In Step Two, the agencies would propose a new definition that would replace the approach in the Rule, taking into consideration the principles that Justice Scalia outlined in Rapanos. As to Step One, EPA published a Proposed Rule in June, 2017 to repeal the Rule and recodify the exact same regulatory text that existed prior to the Rule. 82 Fed. Reg. 34900 (July 27, 20178).

The Supplemental Notice

The Notice provides further justifications for the Agencies’ Step One proposal to repeal the Rule and re-codify the prior regulatory text. 83 Fed. Reg. 32227 (July 12, 2018). The stated purpose of the Notice is for the Agencies to clarify and supplement the rationale for the repeal of the Rule while seeking additional comment. Comments must be received before August 18, 2018.

In the Notice, the Agencies provide their view of how to achieve ‘regulatory certainty,’ stating that the Proposed Rule of June, 2017 “is based on our view that regulatory certainty may be best served by repealing the 2015 Rule and re-codifying the preexisting scope of CWA jurisdiction.” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32237. To support this view, the Agencies suggested, among other things, that the Rule fails to achieve regulatory certainty, the Rule may exceed the Agencies’ authority under the CWA, and the findings and assumptions supporting the Rule are not correct.

According to the Agencies, the Rule “does not appear to achieve one of its primary goals of providing regulatory certainty and consistency.” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32238. Instead, developments indicate that maintaining the Rule “would produce substantial uncertainty and confusion among state and federal regulators and enforcement officials, the regulated public, and other interested stakeholders.”

In the three courts that have substantively considered the Rule (the Sixth Circuit and district courts in North Dakota and Georgia), each has stated that there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. Thus, as the two district court cases in which 25 states are involved move forward, there is the possibility that all or part of the Rule will be vacated, leaving “different regulatory regimes being in effect in different parts of the country, which would likely lead to substantial regulatory confusion, uncertainty, and inconsistency.” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32238. Further, statements and comments, most importantly from several States, indicate substantial disagreement and confusion as to the scope of the Rule. The repeal of the Rule, and reversion to the prior rules, will serve to reduce disagreement and confusion as the Agencies have a great deal of experience in implementing and enforcing the rules that were in effect before the Rule was finalized.

The Agencies also expressed concern that the Rule may exceed the Agencies’ authority under the CWA. One possible exceedance discussed by the Agencies is the seeming expansion of the ‘significant nexus’ standard advanced by Justice Kennedy in Raponos. Justice Kennedy wrote that “adjacent wetlands possess the requisite nexus, and thus come within the statutory phrase ‘navigable waters,’ if the wetlands, either alone or in combination with similarly situated lands in the region, significantly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of other covered waters more readily understood as ‘navigable.’” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32240, citing Rapanos. The Agencies felt that it was “reasonable to presume that that the Justice did not mean ‘similarly situated’ to be synonymous with ‘all’ waters in a region.” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32240. In the guidance issued by the Agencies after the Raponos decision, the Agencies interpreted the term ‘similarly situated’ more narrowly to “include all wetlands adjacent to the same tributary.” 83 Fed. Reg. at p. 32240. However, the Agencies expressed a concern that the Rule substantially broadened the term ‘similarly situated’ by adopting a true regional approach which included all wetlands in the entire watershed. This watershed approach is well beyond the narrower view that ‘similarly situated’ includes only wetlands adjacent to the same tributary.

The Agencies also expressed concern that the findings and assumptions supporting the Rule are not correct. Originally, the Agencies concluded that, under the Rule, there would only be a modest increase in positive jurisdictional determinations (between 2.84 and 4.65 percent) when compared to those made under the Rapanos Guidance. However, the Agencies announced they are reconsidering the validity of this conclusion, citing the economic analysis for the Rule in which it was estimated that 34.5 percent of negative jurisdictional determinations under the Rapanos Guidance would become positive jurisdictional determinations under the Rule.


The Agencies’ Step One approach to repeal the Rule and put in place the prior regulation seems to be nearing its completion. A response to comments on the Notice and the issuance of a final rule would seem to complete Step One. The Agencies will then focus on the Step Two proposal, which is supposed to be based on Justice Scalia’s view of jurisdiction as expressed in Rapanos. The Step Two proposal was sent to the Office of Management and Budget for review on June 15, 2018. Presumably, it will be issued as a proposed rule in the near future.

The Rule was proposed in 2014 and finalized in 2015, prompting litigation in multiple courts across the country. The efforts to repeal the Rule, replace it with the prior regulation, and revise the definition of ‘waters of the United States’ are ongoing. Once the Step One and Step Two rules are finalized, the inevitable litigation will extend for many years thereafter.

The course of the efforts to establish the correct balance of CWA jurisdiction over ‘waters of the United States’ has been a meandering one. It is likely to take multiple twists and turns before ever getting straightened out.

Source: Lexology
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07/19/18 12:57 PM
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for the Southern California Distinct Population Segment of the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Southern California Distinct Population Segment of the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog (Rana muscosa) for public review and comment. The draft recovery plan includes objective, measurable criteria, and site-specific management actions as may be necessary to reclassify the species from endangered to threatened and also for removal from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

We must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or before September 17, 2018.

Document availability: You may obtain a copy of the recovery plan from our website at http://www.fws.gov/​endangered/​species/​recovery-plans.html. Alternatively, you may contact the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2177 Salk Avenue, Suite 250, Carlsbad, California 92008 (telephone 760-431-9440).

Comment submission: If you wish to comment on the draft recovery plan, you may submit your comments in writing by any one of the following methods:

U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
Hand-delivery: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above address; or
Email: fw8cfwocomments@fws.gov. For additional information about submitting comments, see the “Public Comments Solicited” section below.

The Federal Register Notification is available here.
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Federal Legislation
07/19/18 12:42 PM
H.R. 6410: To provide for the administration of certain national monuments, to establish a National Monument Enhancement Fund, and to establish certain wilderness areas in the States of New Mexico and Nevada.


Jul 17, 2018

Introduced on Jul 17, 2018

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on July 17, 2018. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Source: GovTrack
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Federal Legislation
07/19/18 12:15 PM
A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to place signage on Federal land along the trail known as the "American Discovery Trail", and for other purposes.

This bill authorizes the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture to place on federal land at points along the American Discovery Trail (from Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware, to Point Reyes National Seashore, California) acceptable signage donated to the United States for that purpose.

No federal funding may be used to acquire the signage authorized for placement by this bill.


Jul 18, 2017

Ordered Reported on May 17, 2018

The committees assigned to this bill sent it to the House or Senate as a whole for consideration on May 17, 2018.

Proposed bill text is available at GovTrack
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