EPA, Army Move to Redefine WOTUS Definition
Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corp. of Engineers (Corp) made good on their June 9 announcement to redo the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The agencies stated they plan to “revise the definition of “WOTUS to better ensure clean and safe water for all.” The agencies continued, “EPA and Army are committed to developing a reasonable, effective, and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries.”
Specifically, the agencies announced a series of public listening sessions throughout the month of August to hear from stakeholders “on their perspectives on defining "waters of the United States" and how to implement that definition as the agencies pursue this process.” The five different listening sessions will be held virtually from August 18 through August 31, with the possibility of a sixth being added on September 2. In addition to providing verbal comments on the WOTUS redo, the agencies will also be accepting written comments into September.
The agencies have stated that their redo efforts are two-pronged. Their effort will consist of two different rulemakings, including an impending rule that “would restore the regulations defining WOTUS that were in place for decades until 2015, with updates to be consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions.” And a subsequent rule “would refine this regulatory foundation and establish an updated and durable definition of “waters of the United States.”
NRMCA is currently scheduled for multiple listening sessions to advocate for beneficial industry outcomes with any new WOTUS rule. NRMCA will continue to monitor the agencies’ actions on WOTUS and advocate for an outcome similar to the 2020 WOTUS rule.
Click here to review the EPA press release and here to review the public listening dates and times, and/or to register to speak. For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.