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The federal government redefined Waters of the United States recently—a change that will have an significant impact on developers. However, the change is not the first. The definition of Waters of the US has been often contested, with many wondering if the regulation should come from the federal or state level.

“In many ways, this most recent effort to redefine Waters of the United States is only another plot twist in the long-running saga to establish the scope of the federal government’s jurisdiction over wetlands and other water features,” Scott Birkey, land use and natural resources partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholson, tells GlobeSt.com. “Since the inception of the Clean Water Act permitting program in 1973, the definition of Waters of the United States has been hotly contested.  After some initial legal skirmishes, the federal government established a set of regulations in 1986 that reflected an impasse rather than a resolution of the issue.”

Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance writer and editor living in Los Angeles whose work has appeared in such publications as Travel + Leisure, Angeleno and Los Angeles Magazine.

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