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February 5, 2015

Controversial Clean Water Act Rule Withdrawn by Federal Agencies

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Corp) withdrew a controversial rule intended to clarify the definition of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) in the Clean Water Act. Ag groups — including Western Growers – have argued the interpretive rule, which became effective in March of 2014, limited their available exemptions under the Clean Water Act. According to a Capitol Press story, ag organizations said the rule “would lead to cost-prohibitive requirements, leave producers open to litigation and discourage participation in conservation programs.”  The agencies rescinded the rule “effective immediately” in a memo January 29, 2015.

Western Growers and other ag organizations are still pushing for the agencies to withdraw its overall proposal that defines which waters are protected under WOTUS.  In comments submitted to the agencies, Western Growers detailed the flaws in the proposed regulations and outlined the changes needed to make to make the regulations palatable.