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What types of waterways are protected?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2021 | Environmental Law |

One of the most significant environmental health and safety issues faced by American corporations is waterway regulations. While every executive should have some understanding that waterways are protected and heavily regulated, one area of concern involves understanding which waterways are specifically protected.

Understanding the nuanced, complicated environmental regulations surrounding waterway protection helps corporations avoid exposure to sanctions and lawsuits.

Waterway regulation updates

According to a recent Associated Press report, Joe Biden recently announced the intention of issuing new regulations under the Clean Water Act. These regulations will repeal changes made to the act under the Trump administration, while also updating the previous regulations in place.

The primary issue here involves how far the regulations “reach in.” While major rivers, lakes and other significant waterways are obvious subjects for this type of federal regulation, at issue is whether these laws should also govern small rivulets, gullies and creeks that flow into private property like farmlands.

The Trump administration had rolled back regulation on approximately 25% of these small, private-property waterways.

While the Trump administration rolled back the previous regulations that governed these small private property waterways, this new announcement is clear that these waterways will fall under the Clean Water Act.

The implications

While the debate inevitably continues between advocates for environmental protection and those in favor of private property rights and corporate initiatives, all private property owners and corporations should take notice.

For businesses, farms and private property owners with small waterways on the land, learning the new regulations and compliance are once again becoming essential.

Almost invariably, environmental regulations of this kind emerge piecemeal, with changes and updates occurring frequently. To avoid charges of environmental violations and private lawsuits, businesses of all types and sizes should confer with an experienced team of lawyers who are up to date on these changing regulations. Environmental compliance and mitigation are critical to the long-term survival and success of any business.