WOTS Up? An Update Regarding Regulation of Waters of the State and Waters of the United States
Jun 12, 2019 at 4:00pm
On April 2, 2019, the State Water Board adopted new regulations requiring Water Boards to issue permits for discharges of dredged and fill material (meaning soil, sediment, or dirt) to Waters of the State (WOTS). Although sometimes portrayed in the media as a response to the Trump Administration’s rollback of provisions in the federal Clean Water Act, the process to adopt the new regulations actually began about 15 years ago. The newly-adopted regulations create a new statewide wetland definition that expands to features not previously covered under federal law and creates a new permitting program for activities that result in the discharge of dredge or fill materials to any Waters of the State.
The new policies are intended to conform with the State’s ‘no net loss’ policy for wetlands and to address the gap in federal regulation created by recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. However, as water agencies look to meet future state goals of recharging groundwater, diversifying water supply portfolios, and ensuring protections of health and safety, many are concerned that a rigorous state permitting program could have unintended consequences.
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