WOTUS Update

In our previous newsletter we discussed the ongoing deliberation of a 2015 rule put in place by the EPA and Department of the Army that expanded the scope of the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition, increasing government oversight for items such as ditches, groundwater (including groundwater drained through subsurface drainage systems) and artificial lakes and ponds (e.g. stock watering ponds), much to the frustration of many rural landowners. On Sept. 12, 2019, both agencies released a statement that they have finalized a rule to repeal the previous expanded WOTUS definition, and consequently, the regulations will now fall back to the pre-2015 rule definitions. Now that the controversial WOTUS definition has been repealed, the EPA indicated that their next step is to create a new definition that “will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, home builders and developers nationwide.”

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