The Ongoing Saga of WOTUS – Waters of the United States

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The Ongoing Saga of WOTUS

After years of muddied waters, it seemed the Trump Administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), offering clarity and definition of what a “navigable water” is to the issue of Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), brought relief to farmers, ranchers, small businesses and others. However, that is no longer the case. With as much drama as a soap opera, the passage of Trump’s NWPR began with environmental extremists starting their assault on the new, clear definitions and filing lawsuit after lawsuit.

Understanding the Timeline:

The Clean Water Act (CWA) established the basic structure for regulating discharge of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The act was significantly reorganized and expanded with amendments in 1972 and became known as the “Clean Water Act.” It has since been refined further in 1981 and 1987.

The Clean Water Act of 1986 defined the waters of the United States as:

1. All waters which are currently used, or were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide;
2. All interstate waters including interstate wetlands;
3. All other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams),



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