“Definition of Water in the U.S.”, known as WOTUS, increases reach of American federal regulations


Note to Reader:

Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a long-awaited final rule on WOTUS, set to take effect in late August 2015.

Is WOTUS a burdensome regulation?

“The definition of ‘water’ is not typically a controversial subject. But with new federal regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — called the ‘Definition of Water in the U.S.,’ or ‘WOTUS’ — water may come to be defined as a burdensome regulation on local and county governments,” Rich Sve_Minnesota_120pwrote Minnesota local government politician Rich Sve in an opinion piece published in the Duluth News Tribune in Minnesota.

Rich Sve is a Lake County commissioner, chairman of the Association of Minnesota Counties’ Environment and Natural Resources Committee and chairman of the Northern Counties Land Use Coordinating Board.

Implications of ‘Interconnectedness’

The final rule for WOTUS takes into account the “interconnectedness” of tributaries, wetlands and other waters to downstream waters. This means the federal government would substantially increase federal control of lakes, streams, wetlands and drainage ditches. It subjects the “new” federally protected waters to additional standards and rules.

To Learn More:

To download and read the complete opinion piece, click on Local view: Federal water rule will hurt counties.

Click on EPA and the Army Corps’ Rule to Define “Waters of the United States” to read an explanatory document prepared by the US Congressional Research Service in June 2015.

Another reference is Understanding the Proposed Definition of Waters of the United States, prepared by the American Water Works Association, 2014.