Following years of uncertainty related to the 2015 waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, the Trump administration this week proposed a more clear and understandable definition of federal authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the proposal would protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth and reduce barriers to business development.
The proposal provides clarity to the regulated community, including farmers and ranchers, about where CWA applies and where it does not. It would limit jurisdiction to perennially and intermittently flowing waters. Features such as ephemeral streams, most roadside or farm ditches, prior converted cropland and depressions containing water only after a rainfall event would not be classified as WOTUS.
NCBA advocated for a new water rule that was easy to understand and implement. President Kevin Kester, a cattleman from California, said the Trump administration listened. According to NCBA, the proposed rule would protect private property rights, delegate the appropriate role of the federal government in regulating waterways and restore state and local authority to protect water.
The rule will be posted in the Federal Register and open for public comment. NCBA will submit comments on the proposal.
“We look forward to engaging with the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers to finalize the rule,” said Kester.