EPA and Army to Revise WOTUS Definition

On June 9, EPA and the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) to better protect our nation’s water resources. The Biden Administration Executive Order 13990 on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” directed EPA and the Army to review and, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to revise or replace the 2020 Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) that defines WOTUS. EPA and the Army have completed this review and determined that they have concerns that it is causing significant, ongoing, and irreversible environmental damage.

This new effort to revise the definition will be aimed at: protecting water resources under the Clean Water Act; considering the latest science and the effects of climate change; emphasizing effective implementation; and reflecting the experience of landowners, the agricultural community that fuels and feeds the world, states, tribes, environmental organizations, and community organizations. In the interim, the NWPR is still in effect across the country. Further details of the agencies’ plans, including opportunity for public participation, will be conveyed in a forthcoming action later this summer.  For more information, read the press release and visit EPA’s website.