“Crafting a lasting definition of WOTUS means that we must bolster our understanding of how different regions experience and protect our nation’s vital waters,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “These roundtables will provide a great opportunity to deepen our shared knowledge. They also represent one opportunity—in a suite of strategic tools—the agencies are utilizing to obtain input on this important topic.”
EPA and Army are announcing a process for stakeholders to submit nomination letters with a slate of participants to potentially be selected as one of ten geographically focused roundtables. EPA and Army are seeking to understand perspectives:
- Highlighting how different regions are affected by the various WOTUS definitions.
- Learning about stakeholder experiences, challenges, and opportunities under different regulatory regimes.
- Facilitating engagement across diverse perspectives to inform the development of a durable and workable definition of WOTUS.
The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source to navigable waters unless otherwise authorized under the Act. Navigable waters are defined in the Act as “the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.” Thus, “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) is a threshold term establishing the geographic scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The term “waters of the United States” is not defined by the Act but has been defined by EPA and the Army in regulations since the 1970s and jointly implemented in the agencies’ respective programmatic activities.