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EPA and Corps Hold Series of Stakeholder Conference Calls on WOTUS Rewrite

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced they will hold a series of teleconferences with stakeholders to receive feedback and recommendations to revise the definition of the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) within the Clean Water Act. The teleconferences will be held throughout the fall on Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., starting on September 19 and focusing on a specific sector of the economy. The agencies will also accept written comments from the public until November 28, 2017. For more information on how to submit comments and participate in the public teleconference, click here.

The teleconferences are being held as a result of the Administration’s efforts to rewrite the WOTUS rule which was finalized under the Obama Administration in 2015. On February 28, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13778 directing the EPA and the Corps to review the 2015 WOTUS rule.

In April, EPA held an EO 13132 Federalism consultation with national representatives of state and local governments to gather their input about their plan to withdraw and rewrite the rule. As a result of the consultation, NACo, along with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), submitted a joint letter emphasizing the role local governments play in environmental programs as co-regulators and highlighted the importance for the federal government to collaborate with local governments on pending rules and regulations. These teleconferences are separate from the agencies’ Federalism consultation efforts.

 The schedule for the teleconferences is as follows:

  • September 19, 2017: small entities, which include small businesses, small organizations and small governmental jurisdictions (defined as having 50,000 population or less)
  • September 26, 2017: environment and public advocacy
  • October 3, 2017: conservation, e.g., hunters and anglers
  • October 10, 2017: construction and transportation
  • October 17, 2017: agriculture
  • October 24, 2017: industry
  • October 31, 2017: mining
  • November 7, 2017: scientific organizations and academia
  • November 14, 2017: stormwater, wastewater management and drinking water agencies; and
  • November 21, 2017: open to general public

In addition, the agencies will hold an in-person meeting with small entities on October 23, 2017 from 9:00 a.m.—11 a.m.

The agencies will accept comments and recommendations to revise the WOTUS rule until November 28, 2017. Comments and recommendations can be submitted through www.regulations.gov, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2017-0480.

For more information on WOTUS and its impact on counties, contact Julie Ufner, NACo Associate Legislative Director for Environment, Energy and Land Use, at jufner@naco.org or 202-942-4269.

Resources:

  • Click here to read the Federal Register notice for the teleconference calls
  • Click here to read the NACo, NLC and USCM joint Federalism letter on WOTUS
  • Click here to read NACo’s blog post: EPA and Corps propose to withdraw WOTUS rule; House proposes to limit public participation in WOTUS rewrite
  • Click here to read NACo’s blog post: Comment period extended for WOTUS rule withdrawal
  • Click here to read NACo’s fact sheet on WOTUS
  • Click here to read the original Federal Register notice to withdraw WOTUS rule