MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the newly defined and revised “Waterways of the United States” (WOTUS) rule for public comment.
The repealing of the 2015 WOTUS began when President Donald Trump signed an executive order in February 2017 which prompted EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers to revise the Obama-era rule.
The February Order states that navigable waters are to be kept free from pollution, while at the same time promote economic growth, and minimize regulatory uncertainty.
EPA’s latest version is said to simplify the language, further define what is considered federal jurisdiction, and clearly outline categories.
The new rule consists of six categories: traditional navigable waterways, tributaries, ditches, lake/ponds, impoundments, and wetlands adjacent to certain waters.
The new rule also dives deeper into what is and is not under WOTUS classification. There were 11 exclusions included: groundwater, most ditches, prior converted crop land, treatment systems, borrow pits, etc.
“This user-friendly amendment will restore landowners rights,” said Commissioner John McMillan. “The prior rule greatly expanded Washington’s control over local land use. These necessary changes will assist landowners in understanding whether a project needs federal permits, thus saving our producers both time and money.”
If finalized, the agency’s proposed rule would apply nationwide. WOTUS will be open to public comment for 60 days. Comments on the proposal should be identified with Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OW-2018-014 and may be submitted online at regulations.gov.
For additional information, visit epa.gov/wotus-rule.