EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced that the Trump administration is proceeding with the plan to overturn a 2015 rule defining the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. According to the Center for Biological Diversity this action could eliminate protection and oversight for streams and wetlands in more than 3,000 watersheds. The Waterkeeper Alliance will be a key participant in litigation.
The Waterkeeper Alliance submitted extensive comments regarding Executive Order 13778 proposing a redefinition of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) for the Clean Water Act. Comments from the Waterkeeper Alliance, fourteen US states, the District of Columbia and multiple advocacy groups and individuals all illustrating legal, economic and health challenges to the potential removal of environmental protections from ephemeral streams, canals and ditches, artificial ponds and lakes, isolated wetlands and interstate waters. Comments are being reviewed and a final rule and legal challenges are expected in late 2018.