On Monday June 29, 2015, the EPA published the final CleanWater Rule, also known as the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, in the federal register setting the effective date for August 28, 2015.
According to the text of the rule, the rule is meant to “clarify the scope of the waters…protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA)…” The rule maintains current exemptions for activities, and in some instances expands the exceptions “to make it clear that this rule does not add any additional permitting requirements on agriculture.” According to an EPA fact sheet, the Clean Water Rule is meant to provide greater clarity for agriculture within the existing requirements.
The American Farm Bureau Federation has claimed that the final WOTUS rule is broader than the original proposed rule, and rather than clarifying the requirements, creates more uncertainty for farmers. The Farm Bureau claims the new exceptions are too narrow to be of use, or so unclear as to be open only to agency interpretation.
Written by Tyler R. Etter- Research Assistant
June 29, 2015