On November 18th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule to return to the pre-Obama definition of what constitutes a "Water of the United States" (WOTUS). WOTUS defines the types of waterways qualifying for federal protection under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and has long been a point of contention among environmental groups, farmers, homebuilders, and lawmakers. In June, the Justice Department filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts requesting “remand” of the Trump rule. It argued that the Trump rule was "inconsistent" with the objectives of the CWA.  

The EPA’s action Thursday formalizes steps it has already been taking since the court order to transition back to the 2015-era rule.