This week, the Trump administration formally suspended the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule for two more years, which will be well after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expects to have its replacement ready to go.

WOTUS would have given the EPA greater jurisdiction, leading to small waterways like wetlands and ponds being subject to federal rule. This would have eroded a state’s ability to define jurisdiction within its bounds. On top of that, the case-by-case determination would have significant uncertainty for the regulated community. The Indiana Chamber is very pleased by the President’s decision and had placed a WOTUS reprieve/fix on our list of rules and executive orders to address, which was sent to Vice President Pence and our delegation last January.

Indiana’s senior senator, Joe Donnelly, also welcomed the WOTUS delay: “… It is important that we get the WOTUS rule right, and I look forward to continuing my work with EPA and the administration, Hoosier farmers, businesses, local governments and environmental groups to rewrite this rule so that it both protects our waters and is workable for Hoosiers.”

Donnelly, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, has been working on this issue for a number of years. In April 2015, Donnelly and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced bipartisan legislation to require a rewriting of the WOTUS rule. It was voted on in the Senate in November 2015, but fell three votes short of advancing.

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: [email protected]