New Clean Water Act definition draws criticism from environmentalists, support from developers, farmers

Countless wetlands and thousands of miles of United States waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (DA) proposed a new definition of the “waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act, on Tuesday, Dec. 11.  The proposal aims to provide a “straightforward definition that would result in significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development,” according to the press release.

“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,” EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in the press release.

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