The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) replacement proposed rule was published in the Federal Register at the end of February. The public comment period is 60 days.
This action is another step in the rulemaking process that was mandated by an earlier federal court decision that blocked the Administration’s outright repeal of the Obama Administration’s WOTUS rule. That definition would have dramatically broadened the waters subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. In taking that action, the Obama-era WOTUS could have subjected farmers to substantial legal jeopardy for pesticide applications that were otherwise fully compliant with FIFRA and other matters.
36 Democratic Senators and 160 Democratic Representatives have demanded the comment period be extended to at least 207 days. House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has promised to hold hearings on the proposal, which he called “obscene” last month.