The US Environmental Protection Agency has extended for the second time the public comment period on its controversial proposed rule to define the scope of Waters of the United States under Clean Water Act jurisdiction.  The new deadline for public comment is November 14, 2014.  

The proposed rule, published on April 21, would give the agency greater authority to regulate water bodies such as ponds, streams, canals and ditches.   The extension comes as the EPA's Scientific Advisory Board is finalizing a report on the connectivity of these water bodies.   

Meanwhile, the EPA continues to receive concerns from powerful groups.   Last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recommended that the proposed rule be withdrawn.  While many business groups have opposed the rule, this is the first time another federal agency has done so.  The SBA’s Office of Advocacy stated that “Concerns raised by small businesses as well as the agencies’ own economic analysis both indicate that small businesses will see a cost increase as a result of the revised [CWA] definition,”  and suggested that the agencies conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review before promulgating the regulation.

To submit comments: 

Identify by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880, using any of the following:

  • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal:

http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

  • Email:
  • ow-docket@epa.gov. Include EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.
  • Mail:

Send the original and three copies of comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.

  • Hand Delivery/Courier:

EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880. Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, which are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is 202-566-2426.