In January, shortly after President Biden was inaugurated, he released a list of rules promulgated during the Trump administration that will be closely reviewed and scrutinized. As expected, the Trump Administration’s re-write of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule from the Obama administration was on this list.
The definition of what actually is a WOTUS has gone back and forth over the last several years, first being the original, yet ambiguous “navigable water”. Then to the Obama era vastly expanded definition to focus on a “nexus” to a WOTUS, and then most recently to the Trump era narrower definition to include “adjacent” and “ephemeral” to a WOTUS. EPA Administrator Regan had been on record as stating that EPA would look to find a middle ground on the WOTUS rule, but recent public comments set off alarm bells for those industries (like the landscape) that were adversely impacted under the Obama era definition. EPA is expected to move forward with stakeholder outreach in the coming months followed by an official rulemaking to redefine a WOTUS for the third time within the last decade. NALP will work towards representing the landscape industry as a vested stakeholder in a WOTUS definition.