National Association of Counties Responds to Congressional Challenge to WOTUS Rule

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WASHINGTON – The National Association of Counties (NACo) today issued a statement in response to the U.S. House of Representatives passing a Congressional Review Act (CRA) joint resolution of disapproval challenging the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule issued in December 2022. NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said: 

“The nation’s counties support clean water and common-sense environmental regulations. We balance our environmental stewardship responsibilities with our duties to keep residents healthy and enhance our economic competitiveness.  

“We appreciate efforts by Congress and the Supreme Court to ensure that the WOTUS rule is consistent with the intent of the Clean Water Act and capable of standing the test of time. 

“Counties have long advocated for clarity and consistency. Unclear definitions over the years have resulted in considerable confusion and costs, inhibiting infrastructure upgrades and causing delays, unnecessary red tape, and lawsuits that impede critical projects and jeopardize public safety and disaster preparedness. 

“We look forward to continuing to work with our federal partners to achieve a pragmatic definition of WOTUS that advances clean water goals without hindering counties’ vast health, safety and infrastructure responsibilities.” 

Counties support the following for the definition of WOTUS:  

  • Clarify that local streets, gutters, and human-made ditches are excluded from a federal rule and are instead determined by the local decision-makers who live and work in the community 
  • Recognize that the flow volume of stormwater from development and regulation of impervious surfaces are local land use issues, and are not subject to federal regulation 
  • Support a definition consistent with traditionally navigable waters, territorial seas, their regularly flowing tributaries, and abutting wetlands 
  • Ensure clear, concise language that is easy for counties to interpret so that a reasonable person may identify that a body of water is either regulated by the federal government or the state government 

View NACo’s resources on WOTUS here.