More clarification on "waters of the United States"

June 16, 2015 | By REED HOPPER

We have noted earlier that the EPA and the Corps of Engineers have issued a “pre-publication” version of their final rule redefining those waters (and land features) subject to heavy-handed regulation under the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the United States” or, more colloquially, as WOTUS. We are still waiting for the rule to appear in the Federal Register which is the federal government’s official publication for new and amended rules and regulations.  As previously noted, once the rule is published, it will become effective 60 days later.

In the meantime, we are seeing a number of groups producing some excellent analysis of the new rule and its impact on landowners.  Our friends at the American Farm Bureau Federation deserve special mention because of the detailed analysis they provide on the issue here.  There are four documents in particular that those with an interest in this subject should review.  The first is AFBF’s honest and insightful fact check of the agencies’ claims about the new rule.  The second is a side-by-side comparison of the old, proposed and final rules.  Take special note of the substantial differences between the proposed rule and the final rule.  The third document is a condensed version of AFBF’s overall analysis of the rule.  And the fourth is a more detailed version of the same.  These analyses show the staggering breadth of the new rule and provide an excellent reference tool for landowners and practitioners alike.