Next Legal Hot Topics Webinar Set for March 18

(February 12, 2020) – NACWA will be hosting a new legal hot topics webinar, What the WOTUS? The Latest and Greatest on the “Waters of the US” Definition, on March 18th from 2:00-3:30 p.m. (Eastern). The webinar will provide an overview of the recent rulemaking modifying the Clean Water Act (CWA) definition of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS), the current state of litigation over the WOTUS definition, and what the latest WOTUS changes may mean for public utilities.

The WOTUS definition impacts all CWA programs, as it identifies which waters are subject to federal CWA jurisdiction – the so-called “navigable waters.” In 2015, the Obama administration finalized changes to the definition of WOTUS that had been in place since the 1980s. Those changes were immediately challenged by states, industry and environmental organizations in court, and continue to be the subject of extensive litigation throughout the country.

Early in his administration, President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to revisit the WOTUS issue, and the Agencies subsequently repealed the 2015 definition and have now finalized a new revised WOTUS definition.

David Chung, a partner with the law firm of Crowell & Moring, will provide NACWA’s members with a high level summary of the new WOTUS definition, highlighting some of the major changes made from the Agencies’ longstanding definition and providing an overview of the complex legal landscape involving the 2015 rulemaking, the repeal of the 2015 revisions, and the newest WOTUS definition. As counsel to a diverse group of industries on the issue, David will also provide his insights into how other sectors are viewing the new rule.

Devon Goodrich, an attorney with the New York City Law Department and a NACWA member, will then discuss several issues that may be of concern for public water utilities. Devon will address the potential impacts of the rule’s exclusion of wastewater and stormwater features from regulation as “navigable waters,” as well as how the new scope of federally regulated waters may impact wetlands and watershed protection and the potential concomitant effects of those impacts on areas such as drinking water supplies and flood control.

We strongly encourage all NACWA members to register for the webinar.  Please contact Amanda Aspatore, NACWA’s Chief Legal Counsel, with any questions.