Revised Definition of Waters of the U.S. Announced

Water pouring out of large metal pipe, flooding AR rice field
Clear definition
Dec 13, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a public event held Tuesday at EPA headquarters, EPA’s Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the imminent publication of a new definition for Water of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act to replace the 2015 WOTUS rule.

During the briefing, the agency reiterated the importance of predictability and indicated that one of the main goals is that a landowner should be able to determine what is and isn’t a WOTUS on their land without needing to hire several lawyers and hydrology experts.

“Many of us live on the land we work, and not only do we want clean water to produce our crops, we also want clean water for our families.  We also need rules that are clear so it’s straightforward how to comply with them,” said Arkansas farmer David Gairhan.  “I applaud the work the EPA is doing to try and provide us with certainty of what is and is not defined and regulated as a WOTUS so we can get back to doing what we do best, farming.”

“USA Rice appreciates the efforts of EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to solicit feedback prior to drafting this new proposal and applauds the agencies’ commitment to continued engagement with stakeholders,” said USA Rice President & CEO Betsy Ward.  “We look forward to implementation of a commonsense new water rule that provides clarity for our members.”

Once published, the rule will have a 60-day comment period.  USA Rice will provide substantive comments for the industry and encourages our members to provide individual comments of their own.