EPN Testimony: Proposal for New “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Definition

On December 11, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army proposed a new definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The new definition would replace EPA’s 2015 definition and would halt decades-long progress toward understanding how rivers, streams, wetlands and other water bodies interconnect to provide clean drinking water and clean water for industrial needs. The proposal would deny Clean Water Act (CWA) protection to many headwater streams and undercut protection to some bodies of water still under statutory protection. Once polluted, rivers and lakes fall into a cycle of degradation. Once filled and built over, wetlands are gone forever. The proposed WOTUS re-definition puts in jeopardy the decades and billions spent on maintaining and protecting United States water quality.

On February 28, 2019, EPN Board Member Mark Hague shared oral and written testimony critiquing the Trump Administration’s proposed new WOTUS definition in one of two public hearings held by EPA and the Army in Kansas City, Kansas.

Testimony of Mark Hague, former EPA Regional Administrator and Deputy Regional Administrator in Region 7

On February 28, 2019, EPN also produced a White Paper to explain exactly how this proposed new definition threatens American waters.