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Revised Definition of WOTUS Published, Public Hearing Scheduled

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Army (Army) proposed a revised definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) that clarifies the scope of waters subject to federal authority under the Clean Water Act. Public comments on the revised definition are due April 15, 2019. The EPA and Army will hold a public hearing February 27-28 in Kansas City, Kansas regarding the proposal. The proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of WOTUS consistent with the February 2017 Presidential Executive Order entitled, “Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule.” The proposed definition would replace the approach in the 2015 Rule and the pre-2015 regulations.

Specifically, under the proposal, federal protections would remain for major waterways, rivers, tributaries, wetlands adjacent to federally protected waterways, certain lakes and ponds, reservoirs and ditches used for navigation or affected by the tide. States would oversee most ditches, terrain that fills with water during or in response to rainfall, certain wetlands that have been used to grow crops, stormwater control ponds and water and wastewater treatment systems. Groundwater would not be federally protected. The 2015 rule is in effect in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

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