EPA, Army Corp Announce WOTUS Redo
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp. of Engineers (Corp) announced their intention to “revise the definition of 'waters of the United States' (WOTUS) to better protect our nation’s vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth.” The agencies' release stated their intention for revisiting the current WOTUS rule is due to a “broad array of stakeholders… seeing destructive impacts to critical water bodies under the 2020 rule.”
The agencies’ actions also follows President Biden’s Executive Order 13990 from this past January, outlining requirements for agencies to review regulations from the previous Administration. This action marks the latest development, and just one of many attempts, to rewrite the definition of WOTUS. Most recently, the Trump Administration attempted a revision of the Obama Administration’s attempt. Both faced litigation upon being finalized; however, the Trump Administration version was supported by NRMCA. While the Biden Administration in its release was very light on details about what actions it plans to take, when and what changes may be taken, it is likely that a Biden WOTUS rule may look very similar to the more burdensome Obama Administration rule from 2015. NRMCA will both monitor the agencies’ actions on WOTUS and advocate for an outcome similar to the current 2020 WOTUS rule.