Keep “Navigable” in the New WOTUS Rule


The American Farm Bureau submitted recommendations on the definition of “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS. The organization filed its recommendations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. The EPA announced in June that it intended to revise the definition of WOTUS and solicited pre-proposal recommendations. In its recommendations, Farm Bureau expressed disappointment in the EPA’s decision to replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and explains why the rule should be left in place.

“To correct the fatal flaws in the 2015 WOTUS Rule, the Agencies carefully struck ‘a reasonable and appropriate balance between Federal and State waters’ that is ‘intended to ensure that the agencies operate within the scope of the federal government’s authority over navigable waters.’ AFB says the agencies can ensure clean water for all Americans through a blend of the Clean Water Act’s regulatory and non-regulatory approaches, just as Congress intended.

Farm Bureau wants new regulations to meet several recommendations, including adhering to Supreme Court precedents, define WOTUS in clear terms that are easy to apply in the field, limits jurisdiction over non-navigable tributaries, and several others. “Any attempt to regulate typically dry low spots on farmland and pastures as ‘jurisdictional‘ waters would constitute overly burdensome regulations,” Farm Bureau also says in its recommendations.