WOTUS and Clean Water Act: Implications for Agriculture

Perhaps one of the most important and unsettled issues in environmental and agricultural law today is the ongoing development of the definition of jurisdictional waters under the Clean Water Act. Commonly referred to as WOTUS (Waters of the United States), the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a new rule that became effective in August 2015 further defining WOTUS in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Rapanos. Adopting the “significant nexus” test, the new rule significantly broadened the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act, which could pose significant challenges to farmers and ranchers nationwide. Many states, including Texas, have challenged the new rule, which remains in abeyance pending the outcome of litigation. Jim Bradbury recently spoke to members of the State Bar of Texas at the annual Agricultural Law conference in Lubbock, Texas on the new rule and implications for Agriculture moving forward. Access his presentation here.