On Jan. 23, the U.S. EPA and the Department of the Army announced a new definition for the Waters of the United States, or WOTUS, under the Navigable Waters Protection Rule.
Under the new definition, there are four categories which clearly define a water of the United States:
- The territorial seas and traditional navigable waters;
- Perennial and intermittent tributaries to those waters;
- Certain lakes, ponds and impoundments; and
- Wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters.
The new rule also outlines what is not considered a WOTUS which includes features that only contain water in direct response to rainfall, groundwater, ditches, farm and stock watering ponds, waste treatment systems and prior converted cropland. The U.S. EPA’s new definition will also rebalance the relationship between the federal government and the states in managing land and water resources.
Prior to the new WOTUS framework, the Ohio Chamber and a host of other stakeholders had raised concerns about the broadness of the revised 2015 definition of the WOTUS. Today, in an event held at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, these same participants commended the clarity and regulatory certainty that the Trump Administration’s new rule offers. The U.S. EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Congressman Bill Johnson and Ohio Chamber members participated in a roundtable to discuss the new framework of the rule. An overarching theme amongst the stakeholders was that this definition promotes water protection while limiting unnecessary federal government overreach.
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce commends the Trump Administration’s revision to the definition of WOTUS and recognizes the regulatory certainty that this will give to Ohio’s business community.