CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Today, Gov. Mark Gordon and 24 other governors sent a joint letter to President Joe Biden voicing their opposition to a new rule regarding the Clean Water Act and the revised definition of “Water of the United States,” or WOTUS.
WOTUS is a term in the Clean Water Act that establishes the geographic scope of federal jurisdiction over “navigable waters,” defined in the statute as “the waters of the U.S., including the territorial seas.”
Under the new definition, more wetlands, lakes, rivers, groundwater and converted croplands will qualify as being federally protected, which signees say will restrict rural communities’ energy resources.
The rule was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 18 and will be implemented on March 30.
The governors are requesting that the Biden Administration delay the implementation until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling for Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency in June.
In 2007, the Sackett family purchased and filled a residential lot near a lake in Idaho for home construction. The EPA said the lake is subject to the agency’s regulation under the act, and ordered the Sacketts to return the lot to its natural state.
The Sacketts sued in 2008 and argued that the agency lacked jurisdiction over their property. The dispute has worked its way through federal courts over the last 14 years.
The full letter, along with the list of signees, can be viewed here.