Georgia Department of Agriculture

EPA Releases Newly Defined WOTUS Rule for Public Comment

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Press Release
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Office of Communications

EPA Releases Newly Defined WOTUS Rule for Public Comment

ATLANTA - The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the newly defined and revised “Waterways of the United States” (WOTUS) rule for public comment.

“This is a great victory for our farming community over the very real threat of blatant federal overreach on private property,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black said. “The new rule will finally give our landowners a clear and precise definition regarding what is regulated and what is not, ending years of uncertainty and confusion on where the Clean Water Act applies—and where it does not.”

The proposal is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise the definition of “waters of the United States” consistent with President Trump's February 2017 Executive Order stating that navigable waters are to be kept free from pollution, while at the same time promote economic growth, and minimize regulatory uncertainty.

EPA’s latest version is said to simplify the language, further define what is considered federal jurisdiction, and clearly outline categories. The new rule consists of six categories: traditional navigable waterways, tributaries, ditches, lake/ponds, impoundments, and wetlands adjacent to certain waters. The new rule also dives deeper into what is and is not under WOTUS classification with 11 exclusions included: groundwater, most ditches, prior converted crop land, treatment systems, borrow pits, etc.

If finalized, the agency’s proposed rule would apply nationwide. WOTUS will be open to public comment for 60 days. Comments on the proposal should be identified with Docket ID No EPA-HQ-OW-2018-014 and may be submitted online at For additional information, visit


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