Yamhill Valley News Register
Oct. 14, 2016
By Mary Starrett
The Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that went into effect in 2015 has been highly controversial and was opposed from the get-go by local governments which eye WOTUS as federal overreach designed to greatly expand the jurisdiction of the federal government and place a serious burden on landowners across the country.
What is it about the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ WOTUS regulations that would cause what can only be described as a ferocious backlash from 31 states, the National Association of Counties (NaCo), which represents over 3,000 US counties, the Association of Oregon Counties (AOC), which speaks for 36 Oregon counties, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bipartisan contingent in Congress, and scores of home builders and private business owners?
WOTUS, introduced to (supposedly) clarify the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) has far-reaching implications that could strain the county budget, hobble economic growth and severely limit local control. WOTUS introduces vague definitions for water-related infrastructure, including puddles, ditches and culverts, in trying to define the term “waterway.” But what exactly is considered a “waterway”? If implemented, WOTUS would mean federal control of ditches, storm drains, and even dry stream beds.