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EPA Announces Intent to Revise WOTUS Definition

Dan Environment, Water

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Image courtesy of American Farm Bureau Federation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced this week their plans to repeal and rewrite the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS). They are looking to repeal the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which replaced the Obama-era WOTUS rule.

A review of the rule, requested by President Joe Biden, claims stakeholders are seeing destructive impacts to critical water bodies. The Department of Justice has filed a motion requesting remand of the rule without vacating it.

But after the announcement, Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, issued a statement saying:

“President Trump’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule provided long-overdue certainty and clarity for landowners affected by the scope of ‘Waters of the United States’ (WOTUS) jurisdiction. The process laid out in today’s announcement by the EPA and Army Corps is a step backward that will return farmers and ranchers to regulatory confusion. If the disastrous 2015 Obama-Biden Rule is any indication of where EPA is headed, rural America is in trouble. I implore the Biden Administration to retain the current WOTUS definition and to not engage in another massive land grab through government overreach.”

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The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers will rework the rule to protect water resources and communities consistent with the Clean Water Act. The agencies say the new rule will reflect input from landowners, agriculture, and state and local governments, along with environmental groups.