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Joint EPA and Department of the Army Hearings on WOTUS

08/04/2021

During August, the EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army will organize ‘engagement opportunities’ to allow stakeholders and the public to provide input into rule-making with respect to Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The first rule will define the scope of WOTUS as modified by Supreme Court decisions.  The second rule-making process would establish an updated and durable definition of WOTUS. 

 

In commenting on the intended action, Michael S. Regan, Administrator of the EPA stated, "We are committed to crafting an enduring definition of WOTUS by listening to all sides so that we can build on an inclusive foundation".

 

Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jaime A. Pinkham stated, "The EPA and the Department of the Army recognize the importance of this effort, and we are committed to meaningful engagement with tribes, states, local governments and stakeholders to ensure that a revised definition of WOTUS reflects the experiences and input received from all communities".

 

The basis of WOTUS is the Clean Water Act of 1972 that was enacted to "restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters".  The Act specifically prohibits discharge of pollutants from any point source into navigable waters” currently defined as "the waters of the United States including the territorial seas".  Waters of the United States     per se is not defined in the Clean Water Act, but this exclusion will now have to be resolved in an amicable and fair manner in order to protect water resources that support public health, the environment, agriculture and economic growth for future generations.