Following President Donald Trump’s directive to provide certainty to American farmers and landowners so that the economy can continue to expand while waters are protected, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (Army) are moving to the next steps in proposing a new definition of the “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS).
EPA and the Army will hold a public hearing on the proposed new WOTUS definition in Kansas City, Kan., with sessions on Feb. 27-28. Anyone wanting to speak is encouraged to register in advance. EPA and the Army will also hold an informational webcast on Feb. 14, 2019.
On Dec. 2018, EPA and the Army signed a proposed rule in which the goal is to provide a clear, understandable and implementable definition of “waters of the U.S.” that clarifies federal authority under the Clean Water Act while respecting the role of states and tribes in managing their own land and water resources. The agencies have submitted the proposed rule to the Office of the Federal Register for publication.
The Wednesday session of the public hearing will convene at 4 p.m. (CST) and will conclude no later than 8 p.m. The Thursday session will convene at 9 a.m. and will conclude no later than noon.
The public hearing will be held in the Wyandotte Ballroom of the Reardon Convention Center, 520 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, Kan. 66101. Those interested in speaking at the hearing can register for a three-minute speaking slot. The last day to pre-register to speak at the hearing is Feb. 21, 2019. On Feb. 26, 2019, the agencies will post a general agenda for the hearing on the EPA website at www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/proposed-revised-definition-wotus-public-hearing. It will list pre-registered speakers in approximate order. Registration for the public hearing also is available through the EPA website. Additionally, requests to speak will be taken the day of the hearing at the hearing registration desk, pending availability, and a sign language interpreter will be available for the hearing.
EPA and the Army will also hold a public webcast to explain the key elements of the proposed "Revised Definition of Waters of the United States" at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on Feb. 14. A copy of the entire webcast will be made available afterwards. Webinar registration is limited to 2,000 attendees, so interested parties are encouraged to view with colleagues. Registration is available at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1548544876509260301.
Oral statements and supporting information presented at the public hearing will be considered with the same weight as written statements and supporting information submitted during the public comment period. The agencies will take comments on the proposal for 60 days after publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted online at www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0149.
More information about the public hearing, informational webcast and the proposed WOTUS rule-making, including the pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice, are available at: www.epa.gov/wotus-rule/step-two-revise.