Waters Advocacy Coalition (WAC) Recommendations on Waters of the United States (WOTUS)

Friday, September 10, 2021 - 11:45am

Dear Ms. Christensen and Ms. Jensen:

The Waters Advocacy Coalition (“WAC” or “Coalition”) provides these recommendations in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (“Corps’”) notice soliciting pre-proposal feedback on defining “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).1 The Coalition’s members are committed to both building modern, resilient infrastructure and protecting and restoring America’s wetlands and waters and we believe that a clear regulation that draws bright lines between federal and state waters will help further those goals. The Coalition represents a diverse cross-section of the nation’s agriculture, construction, transportation, real estate, mining, manufacturing, forestry, energy, recreational, wildlife conservation, and public health and safety sectors—all of which are vital to a thriving national economy and provide much needed jobs.2 If the Administration and our nation are to meet our ambitious climate and infrastructure objectives, more must be done to ensure that federal permitting is sustainable and effective, consistent with current statutory authority and legal precedent. We have commented extensively on prior rules, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (“NWPR”);3 the proposal to repeal the 2015 Clean Water Rule (“2015 Rule”);4 the proposed 2015 Rule;5 the 2011 Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act;6 the 2008 Guidance on Clean Water Act Jurisdiction After Rapanos; 7 and the 2003 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the Clean Water Act Definition of “Waters of the United States.”8 Most of the Coalition’s individual members have also submitted their own comments on these proposals. Through these individual and collective efforts, the Coalition’s members possess a wealth of expertise directly relevant to the Agencies’ efforts to define WOTUS. Our ask has remained steadfast: we need clear rules to protect clean water.