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EPA Publishes Waters Of The US rules

How does agriculture fare wtih the WOTUS initiative by EPA?


The Center for Ag Law and TAxation at ISU is kind of noncomittal to this point:


From that site:



The EPA and Army Corps unveiled their long-awaited final Clean Water Rule on May 27, 2015. The proposed rule had been pending for more than a year. The final rule, which faced severe opposition in its proposed form, retains most of its original provisions. It does, however, incorporate a number of changes in response to the more than one million comments received.

The final rule identifies eight categories of “jurisdictional waters.” These are waters over which EPA and the Army Corps could exercise Clean Water Act jurisdiction. These categories include:
Traditional navigable waters
Interstate waters
Territorial seas
Impoundments of jurisdictional waters
Adjacent Waters
Specific Waters Subject to Case Specific Significant Nexus Analysis
Other Waters Subject to Case-Specific Significant Nexus Determinations"



Although the final rule is more limited in scope than the proposed rule, it still marks an expansion of agency water quality jurisdiction. EPA states that this expansion would be around three percent. Within the executive summary, the agencies state with respect to agriculture, “The rule does not add any additional permitting requirements on agriculture. The rule also does not regulate shallow subsurface connections nor any type of groundwater, erosional features, or land use, nor does it affect either the existing statutory or regulatory exemptions from NPDES permitting requirements, such as for agricultural stormwater discharges and return flows from irrigated agriculture or the status of water transfers.”

It is not likely that agricultural and other groups will be assured that the new rule will not impact them. We will be watching as legislative initiatives continue. On May 12, the House passed the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, which would require the agencies to withdraw their rule and start again. Pending in the Senate is S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would require the agencies to abide by certain guidelines and which would invalidate any rule not abiding by those guidelines.

We will keep you informed as developments unfold. Although unveiled today, the new rule will not be effective until 60 days following its publication in the Federal Register. It is amenable to judicial review two weeks after the date of publication."

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