Administration Announces Proposal to Redefine WOTUS Rule
December 14, 2018

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army proposed a revised definition for Waters of the United States seeking to clarify federal regulation under the Clean Water Act.

The new proposed rule would replace the 2015 WOTUS rule and greatly eliminates federal overreach. The proposal outlines six clear categories of waters that would be considered Waters of the United States, including: traditionally navigable waters, tributaries that flow into navigable waters, certain ditches that are navigable, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of waters of the United States and adjacent wetlands. Significantly, streams and features that only appear when it rains are no longer included. Ephemeral features, most roadside and farm ditches, groundwater and storm water would not be included, unless they meet strict requirements laid out by the proposal.

This proposal is a significant improvement on the 2015 WOTUS rule and gives American sheep producers and private landowners needed certainty in Clean Water Act regulation. Currently, the 2015 WOTUS rule is in effect in 22 states and the District of Columbia due to a court order. However, this rule will supersede the 2015 WOTUS once finalized.

A 60-day comment period will begin once the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. ASI and its affiliates will be submitting comments on behalf of the nation's sheep producers.

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