The State & Environmental Impact Center

Eighteen AGs Urged EPA to Adopt More Protective WOTUS Definition

September 3, 2021

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and New York Attorney General Letitia James led a coalition of eighteen state attorneys general in submitting a comment letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the agencies’ plans to initiate two new rulemakings related to the regulatory definition of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. On the same day that the AGs sent their letter, the agencies announced that they were halting implementation of the Trump-era Navigable Waters Protection Rule after the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona vacated that rule in Pasqua Yaqui Tribe v. EPA. The decision to use the pre-2015 definition is in line with the states’ comment letter, but the AGs urged the agencies to act swiftly on adopting a new more protective definition that addresses climate change and environmental justice, especially given unprecedented drought conditions in Western states.