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WOTUS Definition Revised Again and More

Updated: May 31, 2023



Sackett Decision Provides Clarity, Substantially Restricts Clean Water Act Jurisdiction Scope

May 26, 2023

In its May 25, 2023, decision in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the definition of "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) with regard to the Clean Water Act (CWA). WOTUS defines the geographic reach and authority of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate streams, wetlands and other water bodies under the CWA.

Debt Ceiling Showdown Yields Significant Permitting Reform Legislation

May 31, 2023

Over the Memorial Day weekend, President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached an agreement on a legislative package that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling. As a quid pro quo for raising the debt ceiling, the Biden Administration agreed to a substantial package of permitting reforms. While the legislation must still pass both houses of Congress, passage is likely given that failure to raise the debt ceiling before June 1 could provoke a severe financial crisis.

Hazardous Materials: Harmonization with International Standards

May 31, 2023

PHMSA is proposing to amend the Hazardous Materials Regulations to maintain alignment with international regulations and standards by adopting various amendments, including changes to proper shipping names, hazard classes, packing groups, special provisions, packaging authorizations, air transport quantity limitations, and vessel stowage requirements.

Source: EPA

EPA Proposes Updates to the New Chemicals Regulations

May 30, 2023

EPA is proposing amendments to the new chemicals procedural regulations under TSCA. These amendments are intended to align the regulatory text with the amendments to TSCA’s new chemicals review provisions, improve the efficiency of EPA's review processes, and update the regulations based on existing policies and experience implementing the New Chemicals Program.

Source: EPA

EPA Proposes Power Plant GHG Rule After West Virginia v. EPA

May 26, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 23, 2023, published new proposed standards designed to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by coal- and gas-fired power plants, with most affected plants eventually being required to meet emissions limits tied to use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) or co-firing with low-GHG hydrogen.

EPA Proposes New Rules Strictly Limiting Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Nation’s Fossil Fuel Power Plants

May 23, 2023

On May 23, 2023, after months of anticipation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its proposal for sweeping greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards (GHG Rules) in the Federal Register that will, if adopted, strictly limit GHG emissions from the nation’s electricity generation fleet over the next two decades. The GHG Rules include GHG limits on new, modified, and reconstructed, as well as existing plants. The proposed rules, if finalized, would impose stringent new source performance standards (NSPS) on power plants fueled by natural gas, and impose strict limits on GHG emissions from existing fossil-fired generators.

Proposed Revisions and Confidentiality Determinations for Data Elements under the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

May 23, 2023

EPA is issuing a supplemental proposed rule to its June 21, 2022 proposed rule (87 FR 39620), which proposed improvements to the requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, including updates to existing calculation, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. In this supplemental proposed rule, EPA is proposing additional amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, including updates to the General Provisions to reflect revised global warming potentials, and is proposing to require reporting of greenhouse gas data from additional sectors—specifically energy consumption; coke calcining; ceramics production; calcium carbide production; and caprolactam, glyoxal, and glyoxylic acid production. The EPA is also proposing additional revisions that would improve implementation of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, such as updates to emissions calculation methodologies; revisions to reporting requirements to improve verification of reported data and the accuracy of the data collected; and other minor technical amendments, corrections, or clarifications. Finally, this action proposes to establish and amend confidentiality determinations for the reporting of certain data elements to be added or substantially revised in these proposed amendments.

Source: EPA

EPA Seeks Input on Methane Emissions and Waste Reduction Incentive Program for Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems

May 18, 2023

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is inviting small entities to participate as Small Entity Representatives (SERs) for a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel. “Small entities” are the small businesses, small governments, or small not-for-profit organizations that may be directly regulated by a rulemaking. This Panel will focus on the agency’s development of a rule that proposes to impose and collect a charge for methane emissions from applicable facilities that report to the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program petroleum and natural gas systems source category (40 CFR Part 98, subpart W) and that exceed emission thresholds specified in Title I of the Clean Air Act section 136(f).

Source: EPA

EPA Releases Draft of National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution

May 8, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery released the draft National Strategy to Prevent Plastic Pollution on April 21, 2023.

This Holland & Knight alert provides a summary of the Draft Strategy's strategic objectives and proposed actions, including potential regulatory reforms.

EPA Proposes Revisions to Methylene Chloride Regulations

May 4, 2023

EPA is proposing revisions to the Methylene Chloride regulations to address the unreasonable risk of injury to health that EPA identified in its 2020 Risk Evaluation for Methylene Chloride.

Source: EPA


Deadline to Renew Your Stormwater Construction General Permit Authorization

May 4, 2023

Currently permitted construction sites with ongoing activities need to renew their stormwater Construction General Permit (CGP) authorization by June 5, 2023, at 8:00 PM CST. Active construction sites that fail to renew by the deadline can receive a violation and potential fines.

Source: TCEQ

TCEQ Public Drinking Water Conference

May 2, 2023

Join in-person or online for this year’s Public Drinking Water Conference on August 8-9, 2023, in Austin, Texas.


  • Attend online or in-person.

  • Participate in hands-on workshops.

  • Earn continuing education units toward your water operator license for the qualifying sessions you attend.

  • Speak with regulators “one-on-one” about your public water system and receive free assistance.

  • Visit with exhibitors and discover exciting new products.

  • Obtain information about current and upcoming rules and regulations.

  • And best of all… it’s FREE!


  • Registration opens Tuesday, June 6 at 9:00 AM

Source: TCEQ

TCEQ Solicitation Save the Date: FY24 Clean Water Act Section 319(h) Grant

May 1, 2023

The TCEQ Nonpoint Source Program anticipates posting its request for grant applications (RFGA) at the beginning of June 2023 and will be open for 45 days after the posting.

Source: TCEQ

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Leading Indicators That Improve Workplace Health and Safety

May 31, 2023

On May 11, 2023, OSHA published a memorandum and opened a new docket (Docket No. OSHA-2023-0006) to notify and collect feedback on "employer use of Leading Indicators as a measuring tool for focusing their safety and health efforts and monitoring and evaluating their safety and health management system.” On May 17, 2023, the Agency released a Trade Release and list of questions with more information and detail.

Source: Regulations

Proposed: Rule HM-215Q to Align US Hazmat Rules with International Standards

May 30, 2023

On May 30, US DOT PHMSA proposed to align the US Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) with international requirements for hazmat/dangerous goods shipping and transportation..

The proposed rule incorporates-by-reference the editions of international regulatory standards for hazardous materials/dangerous goods transportation in effect as of January 1, 2023, including the 2023-24 ICAO Technical Instructions, the 2022 IMDG Code, and the 22nd Revised UN Model Regulations.

Source: Lion

OSHA Launches Nationwide Campaign Focusing on Workplace Falls

May 16, 2023

On May 1, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) to prevent and reduce workplace falls. For the last 12 years, 29 CFR 1926.501 (Duty to Have Fall Protection) has topped OSHA’s list of most frequently cited standards. Despite the agency’s enforcement efforts, falls from heights remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries across all industries. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the OSHA Information System (OIS), falls to a lower level accounted for 13% of all worker fatalities between 2014 and 2021. In the construction industry, falls to lower levels caused 32% of all fatalities during this same period. The NEP became effective immediately. This NEP applies to all industries, although OSHA acknowledges that most inspections conducted pursuant to the NEP will occur in the construction industry. In addition to construction, the NEP will target the following activities:

  • Roof top mechanical work/maintenance

  • Utility line work/maintenance (electrical, cable)

  • Arborist/tree trimming

  • Holiday light installation

  • Road sign maintenance/billboards

  • Power washing buildings (not connected to painting)

  • Gutter cleaning

  • Chimney cleaning

  • Window cleaning

  • Communication towers

Source: OSHA

USPS Updates Pub 52 Hazmat Mail Rules Effective July 9

May 3, 2023

The US Postal Service (USPS) is requiring mailers of hazardous materials/dangerous goods (DG) to use new “service codes” to identify hazmat shipments and to notify USPS when hazmat is tendered. Except for one provision discussed below, the rule takes effect on July 9, 2023.

To send hazardous materials through the postal system, mailers will be required to:

  • Identify hazmat using a distinct service code or codes, and

  • Submit an electronic file (SSF) to inform USPS about hazmat shipments.

The rule also requires mailers/shippers to incorporate special "Intelligent Mail" barcodes on shipping labels for domestic mailpieces containing hazmat. Those barcodes will be required as of January 21, 2024.

Source: Lion


Net Zero Guidelines

May 31, 2023

With increasing concern around global climate change, ISO launched at COP27 its Net Zero Guidelines to enable a common global approach to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: ISO

U.S. Department of Interior Proposes New Conservation Framework

May 17, 2023

In April 2023, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed rule that would apply new “land health” standards to all BLM-managed public lands and programs. This new policy will have broad implications for federal land management. Interested parties must submit comments by June 20, 2023.

Development of Guidance for Zero-Emission Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Port Equipment, and Fueling Infrastructure Deployment Under the Inflation Reduction Act Funding Programs

May 8, 2023

To support development of potentially multiple funding programs under the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, EPA invites public comment to inform the availability of zero-emission technologies in the heavy-duty vehicle and port sectors. Although EPA already has considerable information about the availability of certain types of these technologies, in order to ensure that EPA has the most comprehensive and current information available in this dynamic space, EPA is inviting this comment.

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