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"Waters of the U.S." Rule After South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt

State-by-State Guidance on Federal Jurisdiction Under the Clean Water Act

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will discuss the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule's patchwork implementation and its aim to expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The panel will provide a review of the latest case developments and offer guidance for practitioners on how to best navigate compliance in the states affected by the recent rulings.


Since its 2015 release, the EPA's rule redefining the WOTUS continues to face significant public opposition, controversy, and a multitude of legal challenges in federal courts. In 2018, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responded by adopting a rule delaying the WOTUS Rule's implementation for two years.

On Aug. 16, 2018, in South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt, the U.S. District Court of South Carolina enjoined the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' delay.

As a result, the WOTUS Rule is, for now, effective in 23 states, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. Courts have stayed the effectiveness of the WOTUS Rule in 27 other states.

Counsel to affected industries must understand not only the potential impact of the final rule but also the impact on current transactions due to ongoing legal challenges to the rule.

Listen as the panel provides an overview of the final rule and discusses the impact of the most recent injunction. The panel will also examine the other pending legal challenges to the rule and offer guidance to counsel involved in transactions that could be impacted.



  1. Review of the final rule and its impact
    1. Waters of the U.S.
    2. Significant nexus
    3. Exemptions
    4. Expanded jurisdiction
    5. Impact of the final rule
  2. South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt
    1. Effect of ruling
    2. Impacted states
    3. Remaining states
  3. Practical steps for counsel moving forward with transactions involving waters under EPA control


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How does the final rule define tributaries, adjacent waters and other waters?
  • What are the potential effects of the final rule?
  • What are best practices for counsel dealing with WOTUS issues in current transactions?
  • What are the costs and risks to industry and businesses going forward despite the uncertainty of legal challenges?


Herman, Sean
Sean G. Herman

Hanson Bridgett

Mr. Herman is a counselor and litigator focused upon the practice of environmental law. He assists clients in achieving...  |  Read More

Silton, Andrew
Drew C. Silton

Beveridge & Diamond

Mr. Silton's practice encompasses a range of environmental matters that include regulatory counseling, defense of...  |  Read More

Smith, Freedom
Freedom S.N. Smith

Ice Miller

Ms. Smith concentrates her practice in the areas of environmental and toxic tort litigation, environmental...  |  Read More

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