On Feb. 14, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a proposed rule to revise the definition of "Waters of the United States". The rule is the second step in a two-step process to review and revise this definition. The proposed rule is intended to clarify the scope of waters federally regulated under the Clean Water Act. Written comments are due by April 15, 201,9 and GCSAA is taking the lead on behalf of golf in drafting public comment.
As part of the comment period, the two federal agencies held a two-day hearing Feb. 27-28 in Kansas City to further educate the public on the new rule and to take in-person public testimony. Groups providing testimony included farmers, home builders, road builders, oil and gas producers, hunters and anglers, water district managers, environmental groups and many others.
Golf course superintendents were represented with testimony provided by Matt Gourlay, CGCS at Colbert Hills Golf Course in Manhattan, Kan., and Mark Johnson, GCSAA's associate director, environmental programs. EPA and Corps staff were impressed by the testimony provided by Johnson and Gourlay and expressed interest in GCSAA and the golf industry’s record on environmental stewardship.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy held a roundtable in Kansas City on Feb. 27 to hear from small businesses on the proposed WOTUS rule and other topics. GCSAA's government affairs staff attended and provided input from the golf industry perspective on the WOTUS rule and other legislative and regulatory matters impacting superintendents. There was considerable discussion regarding the H-2B program and other seasonal labor programs relied upon by small businesses seeking to augment their full-time workforce. GCSAA will continue weighing in with SBA on these matters.
For an overview of the proposed rule, watch the webcast recently hosted by EPA discussing the rule and definitions of terms included.
Also, the rule may be read by visiting the Federal Register.