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Waters of the United States (WOTUS)

Farmers Speak Up For Clean Water Policies

The repeal and suspension of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule demonstrates the power of advocacy when farmers make their voices heard. A multi-year effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to define protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA) was ultimately postponed in January 2018 for two years, at which time the Trump Administration says it will implement its own version.


From 2014 to 2017, 28 states filed lawsuits against the EPA rule, and the agency received more than 1 million comments during open comment periods.

WOTUS Update August 20, 2018


A federal ruling has reinstated WOTUS for 26 states. A South Carolina judge found the EPA and Army Corp of Engineers improperly suspended the clean water rule in early 2018, violating the requirement to provide sufficient public notice and comment period. The remaining 24 states are protected from this ruling by other federal court injunctions.


WOTUS Update January 31, 2018


The Trump Administration formally suspends the WOTUS rule, saying it plans to issue its own version of the rule later in 2018.


WOTUS Update May 4, 2017


The EPA proposes to repeal WOTUS. This repeal follows the February 28, 2017, Presidential Executive Order to replace the rule. ISG supports the announcement and will continue to work with the agencies to ensure the new rule promotes economic growth and regulatory clarity for Illinois soybean farmers.


WOTUS Update October 9, 2015


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled that WOTUS can’t be enforced nationwide. The decision expands on a stay that a North Dakota judge imposed in August that only applied to the 13 states filing a lawsuit, excluding Illinois, requesting a block to keep the rule from taking effect.


WOTUS Update May 27, 2015


The EPA releases its final ruling, which broadens the CWA further than originally expected. The EPA and Army Corps report that they have coordinated with the USDA to develop an Interpretive Rule to ensure that some conservation practices would not be subject to Section 404 dredge or fill permitting requirements. These exemptions appear to be narrow, and provide no protection from enforcement over other activities, such as weed control, fertilizer applications and other common farm activities.


Many in the agricultural industry – along with forestry, construction, energy, manufacturing and wildlife conservation groups – believe this rule will limit economic growth, as farmers and landowners would need to acquire federal permits before making any changes to their land.


WOTUS Update Spring 2014


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) proposes a new rule that would further define protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act (CWA).


The EPA claims the proposed rule simply attempts to clarify the existing individual water bodies and discharges that are considered Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and subject them to permitting. According to the EPA, the new rule would not expand coverage over new bodies of water.