Public Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement Activities
On November 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army (“the agencies”) announced the signing of a proposed rule revising the definition of “waters of the United States.” On December 7, 2021, the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. The public comment period closed on February 7, 2022.
This proposal marks a key milestone in the regulatory process announced in June, 2021. The agencies propose to put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” updated to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions. This familiar approach to would support a stable implementation of “waters of the United States” while the agencies continue to consult with states, tribes, local governments, and a broad array of stakeholders in both the current implementation and future regulatory actions.
On June 9, 2021, EPA and the Department of the Army announced their intention to revise the definition of WOTUS to better protect our nation's water resources.
On this page:
- Public Opportunities on the Proposed Rule
- Past Outreach and Engagement
- Federalism and Tribal Consultation
On July 30, 2021, the agencies announced stakeholder engagement opportunities, including the agencies’ intent to host ten regionally focused roundtables. Each roundtable allowed stakeholders to engage and discuss their experiences with implementing the definition of "waters of the United States," including challenges and opportunities within their geographic areas. The roundtables also provided an opportunity for the participants to discuss geographic similarities and differences, particular water resources that are characteristic of or unique to each region, and regionally specific feedback about implementation.
On February 24, 2022, the agencies announced the selection of ten roundtables that highlight geographic differences and a range of perspectives—including agriculture, conservation groups, developers, drinking water and wastewater managers, environmental organizations, communities with environmental justice concerns, industry, Tribal nations, and state and local governments. For more information on the organizations and entities that participated in the roundtables, see Waters of the United States Roundtables (pdf) . These roundtables were livestreamed, and recordings of each roundtable can be found using the following links:
National Parks Conservation Association (Midwest)
May 9, 2022—View Recording Here
Regenerative Agriculture Foundation (Midwest)
May 23, 2022—View Recording Here
Arizona Farm Bureau (Southwest)
June 2, 2022—View Recording Here
Kansas Livestock Association (Midwest)
- June 6, 2022—View Recording Here
Cahaba Brewing (Southeast)
June 7, 2022—View Recording Here
Amigos Bravos (Southwest)
June 13, 2022—View Recording Here
California Farm Bureau (West)
June 16, 2022—View Recording Here
- Natural Resources Defense Council (Northeast)
- June 21, 2022—View Recording Here
- North Carolina Farm Bureau (Southeast)
- June 23, 2022—View Recording Here
- Wyoming County Commissioners Association / Montana Association of Counties / Idaho Association of Counties (West)
- June 24, 2022—View Recording Here
On January 20, 2022, EPA and Army jointly hosted a roundtable with representatives from tribes and tribal organizations on the proposed rule: Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States.”
Small Business Environmental Roundtable
The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration hosted EPA and Army staff in January to discuss the proposed rule with small entities at its Small Business Environmental Roundtables. The agencies met with small agricultural interests and their representatives for a roundtable on January 7, 2022 and met with other small entities on January 10, 2022. For more information, please contact Assistant Chief Counsel Astrika Adams for Environmental Law and Policy at email@example.com or 202-798-7750.
Public Comment on the Proposed Rule
Public Hearings on the Proposed Rule
The agencies hosted virtual public hearings on January 12, 2022 from 10 AM to 1 PM Eastern; January 13, 2022 from 2 PM to 5 PM Eastern; and January 18, 2022 from 5 PM to 8 PM Eastern. The agencies recorded these hearings, which are available at the following links:
- Video Recording of Wednesday, January 12, 2022 Public Hearing
- Video Recording of Thursday, January 13, 2022 Public Hearing
- Video Recording of Tuesday, January 18, 2022 Public Hearing
To allow more time for speakers, the agencies prerecorded a video introduction and overview of the rule.
Pre-Proposal Public Meetings
On July 30, 2021, the agencies announced a schedule for initial public meetings to hear from interested stakeholders on their perspectives on defining "waters of the United States" and how to implement that definition as the agencies pursue this process. The public meetings were held as web conferences in August and September 2021.
The agencies also accepted written pre-proposal recommendations from members of the public. Written recommendations sent to the docket will be posted on Regulations.gov to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2021-0328. This docket closed on September 3, 2021.
For more information regarding federalism and tribal consultation, please contact CWAwotus@epa.gov. Additional information about tribal consultation may also be found at EPA's Tribal Consultation Opportunities Tracking System website.