Agricultural Groups Ask for More Time to Comment on WOTUS Definition
August 31, 2021
More than two dozen other agricultural organizations asked EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for an extension of the period for commenting on how to define “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act.
The Biden administration announced in July that it was ditching the Navigable Waters Protection Rule promulgated in June 2020 by the Trump administration to replace the Obama-era WOTUS Rule. That 2015 regulation gave EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.
Prior to that rule, EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The Biden administration said it would revert to the pre-2015 regulation and update it consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions and recommendations from affected stakeholders, who were given until Sept. 3 to submit comments.