Winning: EPA Amends WOTUS to Not Apply to Puddles, Ditches

This modifies a 2015 Obama-era rule regulating all bodies of water as navigable water.

EPA Administrator Wheeler and his agency announced their intent to scale back the egregious tenets of the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule—which regulates all bodies of water, including puddles and ditches, as subject to federal regulation. Today’s move would clarify federal authority under the Clean Water Act.

“Our proposal would replace the Obama EPA’s 2015 definition with one that respects the limits of the Clean Water Act and provides states and landowners the certainty they need to manage their natural resources and grow local economies,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “For the first time, we are clearly defining the difference between federally protected waterways and state protected waterways. Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.”

“EPA and the Army together propose this new definition that provides a clear and predictable approach to regulating ‘waters of the United States.’ We focused on developing an implementable definition that balances local and national interests under the Clean Water Act,” said R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works. “I have heard from a wide range of stakeholders on Clean Water Act implementation challenges. This proposed definition provides a common-sense approach to managing our nation’s waters.”

The EPA’s press shop said today’s announcement would result in “significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Secretary Ryan Zinke


Great work by @EPAAWheeler to correct regs. This will help a lot of communities and return power to the most local level.

59 people are talking about this

Rep. Steve Scalise


This new, revised rule restores sanity to the definition of ‘navigable waters’ & rolls back the extreme overreach we saw from the EPA under the last Administration, which sought to regulate all bodies of water, even ditches & puddles. Thanks @POTUS! 

EPA and Army Propose New “Waters of the United States” Definition | US EPA

EPA News Release: EPA and Army Propose New “Waters of the United States” Definition

185 people are talking about this

Here’s how navigable waters will be defined under this administration going forward:

Under the agencies’ proposal, traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be federally regulated. It also details what are not “waters of the United States,” such as features that only contain water during or in response to rainfall (e.g., ephemeral features); groundwater; many ditches, including most roadside or farm ditches; prior converted cropland; stormwater control features; and waste treatment systems.

This is a win for science and property rights.