GCSAA has joined a long list of trade associations and industries supporting a congressional resolution in favor of the “Navigable Waters Protection Rule” (H. Res. 318). Sponsored by Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), this resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) should not be withdrawn or vacated. The NWPR significantly improves the regulatory clarity of the Clean Water Act, by simplifying the definition of tributaries, wetlands and ditches. As the Biden Administration considers which elements of the NWPR to change, this resolution represents an important step in the ongoing debate over the scope of clean water regulations, especially at golf facilities.
The NWPR was put in place in August 2020 to clear the way for a new definition of water under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. It represented a vast improvement over its predecessor, the “Clean Water Rule” (commonly known as WOTUS), which GCSAA opposed. It limited tributary jurisdiction, for example, to those surface water conveyances with perennial or intermittent flow. It also limited wetlands jurisdiction to those wetlands that either touch or have a hydrological connection to a water already covered by the Clean Water Act. This is the opposite of the “one-size-fits-all” approach of WOTUS and better considers the efforts of state and local regulators as well as golf course superintendents who use agronomic best management practices (BMPs) at their facilities.
While the Biden Administration has expressed its opposition to the NWPR, it remains the law of the land in all 50 states. GCSAA’s government affairs team will continue to advocate for clarity in water regulation and urge the Biden Administration to consider the impact at the golf facility before making any changes to the NWPR.