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Check in regularly as GCSAA's government affairs department keeps you informed about important compliance deadlines that impact golf facilities. Hot topics – some that fall within the 2021-2022 Priority Issues Agenda are critical to golf facilities.

WOTUS Rule Update

by Sarah Riley | Apr 13, 2023

There has been a lot of recent activity focused on the Biden administration’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) Rule. Recent activities include:

  1. The final "Revised Definition of 'Waters of the United States'" Rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18, and took effect on March 20. On March 20, the Rule was operative in all jurisdictions of the United States except Idaho and Texas. The EPA said the agencies’ final rule establishes a clear and reasonable definition of “waters of the United States” and reduces the uncertainty from constantly changing regulatory definitions that has harmed communities and our nation’s waters.
  2. On March 19, a federal district court in Texas granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the January 2023 Revised Definition of Waters of the United States (2023 WOTUS rule) promulgated by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
  3. On March 29, the U.S. Senate passed H.J. Res 27, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) of the Biden administration’s WOTUS Rule, by a vote of 53-43. The U.S. House of Representatives had previously passed the same resolution on March 9. President Biden vetoed the CRA on April 6
  4. On April 5, GCSAA participated in a meeting with the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to review the new "Revised Definition of 'Waters of the United States'" rule. GCSAA staff is in the process of providing additional implementation resources in the Advocacy section.
  5. On April 12, the district court in North Dakota granted a preliminary injunction of the 2023 WOTUS rule in 24 states, adding to the two-state injunction received by a Texas court several weeks ago. The rule is now enjoined in 26 states . The rule has been temporarily blocked in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming plus Texas and Idaho.

The 2023 WOTUS Rule will lead to an uncertain regulatory framework, requiring consultants and lawyers in order to determine whether a water is subject to federal jurisdiction. Golf needs a better rule that respects the roles of both federal and state governments in protecting water resources, as Congress intended under the Clean Water Act. Such a rule should also respect the work of superintendents who use agronomic and environmental best management practices to protect water.