Ag Policy Blog

WOTUS Executive Order Expected

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week, ordering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the highly litigated waters of the United States, or WOTUS, rule and to require the agencies to rewrite the rule, according to a report by jdsupra.com, http://bit.ly/….

In addition, the Wall Street Journal, http://on.wsj.com/…, reported the president is planning to sign the order with county water commissioners from around the country in attendance.

The WOTUS rule finalized by President Barack Obama's EPA continues to be tied up in federal court. Sometime this year the U.S. Supreme Court will be considering whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati erred in ruling it has jurisdiction on a multitude of legal challenges to the rule.

More than 30 states, county and local governments, as well as numerous industry groups include those in agriculture, filed lawsuits that resulted in the rule being put on a nationwide stay until a court can rule on the merits of a number of lawsuits.

A number of plaintiffs have alleged the EPA overstepped its authority in essentially redefining waters of the United States, with little or no feedback from states and other stakeholders. The WOTUS rule gives the federal government broad authority in determining which waters are protected by law.

Agriculture interest groups have fought the rule primarily because they say it does not provide clear direction on which waters are covered.

The jurisdictional confusion came as a result of two Supreme Court rulings in 2001 and 2006 that essentially put in doubt the true definition of waters of the United States.

Those Supreme Court rulings essentially opened the door for a broader interpretation of the Clean Water Act.

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow me on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN

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