Ebb and Flow of Federal Water Regulation

Ebb and Flow of Federal Water Regulation
Associate Professor and Extension Policy Specialist
Center pivot watering field.

Lance Cheung/USDA (Flickr, Public Domain)

This article was first published on Sept. 2, 2021 by Nebraska Farmer and is excerpted here with permission.

A court decision in late August to scrap the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule brings back the long-running debate and uncertainty of federal regulation of water and water quality.

The Trump administration had repealed and then rewritten the Waters of the United States rule written by the Obama administration in response to lingering issues related to Supreme Court rulings from more than a decade ago and varying arguments about their interpretation.

The Biden administration had already indicated plans to rewrite the rule again, and the latest court action paves the way for a new rule to come. However, it also raises a great deal of uncertainty as the pendulum on federal regulation seems to swing back and forth, and the process leaves everyone without a working definition of WOTUS beyond the earlier court interpretation.


Full Article on Nebraska Farmer