USA: Scientific Societies Oppose Revised Definition of "Waters of the US"

Ted Mochen, Pixabay

Twelve scientific societies, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, have submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers opposing a proposed rule to revise the definition of the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS).  The new definition would limit the number of wetlands and waterways that would receive federal protections under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

The letter reads, in part, “The proposed redefinition of WOTUS will make it impossible to achieve the objectives of the CWA because it excludes numerous waters and wetlands that directly affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of primary waters.  Furthermore, many of the definitions and terms in the proposed Rule lack clarity and/or are not based in science.  Likewise, many of the criteria for jurisdiction are not based in science and fail to meet the stated goal of clarity, predictability and consistency.  Under this proposed Rule, the CWA's primary goal of maintaining and restoring the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of downstream traditional navigable waters would not be possible.  In conclusion, we wish to state in the strongest possible terms that the proposed Rule should be rejected.”

The comments, including a list of signatories, can be found here: https://www.aibs.org/position-statements/20190410_joint_society_l_1.html