The Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) is the second step in a two-step process of replacing WOTUS.
The 2015 WOTUS rule has seen many legal challenges since its introduction. The rule drastically increased the regulatory reach of the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by expanding the definition of WOTUS to include not only all waters in America, but even areas that are normally dry land. This expanded definition made it difficult for farmers, landowners, and others to determine what was and was not governed by WOTUS on their land.
Last September, the Trump Administration repealed the controversial rule and proposed a new Clean Water rule clarifying federal oversight of waters, water features, and dry land that is sometimes wet.
This new rule does not alter federal jurisdiction of permanent waterways, such as lakes, rivers, streams, and other bodies that always or usually contain water. However, the new rule draws clear lines indicating that usually dry areas should no longer be considered federal waters but would continue to be subject to state jurisdiction.
The new rule divides U.S. waters into four categories: traditional navigable waters and the territorial seas; perennial and intermittent tributaries to navigable waters; certain lakes, ponds, and impoundments; and wetlands that are adjacent to water covered by the rule. The rule also denotes those waters that are not subject to federal control, including prior converted cropland; farm and stock watering ponds; many ditches, including most farm and roadside ditches; water features as a direct result of rainfall; groundwater; and waste treatment systems.
Farmers and other rural landowners across the country are applauding the reversal of WOTUS