US EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have announced ten roundtable discussions to explore regional implications of EPA's implementation of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. Each discussion will focus on a specific region to highlight regional differences and a range industry perspectives.
The regional roundtables
will provide opportunities to discuss geographic similarities and differences, specific water resources unique to each region, and site-specific feedback about the ongoing implementation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA says it hopes to bring together stakeholders including agricultural facilities, developers, Tribal Nations, conservationists, wastewater managers, and State and local governments.
EPA plans to host the roundtables virtually this spring and into the summer. The 10 selected roundtables are:
- Amigos Bravos (Southwest)
- Arizona Farm Bureau (Southwest)
- Cahaba Brewing (Southeast)
- California Farm Bureau (West)
- Kansas Livestock Association (Midwest)
- Natural Resources Defense Council (Northeast)
- National Parks Conservation Association (Midwest)
- North Carolina Farm Bureau (Southeast)
- Regenerative Agriculture Foundation (Midwest)
- Wyoming County Commissioners Association / Montana Association of Counties / Idaho Association of Counties (West)
EPA’s Latest WOTUS Rules
EPA is working on two rules to revise the definition of WOTUS. The first proposed rule (RIN: 2040-AG13
) would restore the regulations in place prior to the 2015 revision "Clean Water Rule: Definition of 'Waters of the United States’” (80 FR 37054, June 29, 2015). This would align WOTUS more closely with recent Supreme Court decisions. The Agency recently completed a public comment period and hosted public hearings on this proposed rule.
The second proposed rule (RIN: 2040-AG19
) would expand upon these revisions to take into consideration industry stakeholders, scientific developments, and environmental justice issues.
EPA's definition of WOTUS determines which bodies of water are subject to EPA Clean Water Act programs, including, but not limited to:
- Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Planning.
- Oil spill notifications.
- NPDES permitting.
- Stormwater discharge.
On August 30, 2021, a US District Court vacated and remanded the 2020 WOTUS Rule, which means that the Agency is currently interpreting WOTUS according to the pre-2015 definition.
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