WOTUS: Branan’s Presentation to 54th Annual NC Irrigation Society Meeting (November 4, 2022)

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For those interested, here is Robert Andrew Branan’s presentation on history and update to the definition for Waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (a/k/a The Clean Water Act). WOTUS is the term used to describe the jurisdictional limit of the Clean Water Act, i.e. which waters are covered by federal law, and which are left purely to state regulation. The presentation attempts to guide to topic through Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) regulatory attempts to define WOTUS and the US Supreme Court’s scrutiny of such efforts over the past four decades. The presentation is a work in progress and awaits both the issuance of the Biden Administration’s final WOTUS rules (first proposed in December 2021), and the US Supreme Court’s decision (out likely next summer) in the important case of Sackett v. EPA (link to oral argument audio and transcript, heard October 3, 2022).

Branan (JD) is an Assistant Extension Professor with the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at NC State University. His responsibilities include public education on agricultural and natural resource legal and tax matters delivered through N.C. Cooperative Extension, as well as teaching students in NC State’s 4-year undergraduate program and the NC State Agricultural Institute 2-year associate degree program.