The Waters of the United States Ruling and what that means for rural and urban Idahoans

The EPA states that the final rule restores essential water protections that were in place prior to 2015. Some local politicians and farmers disagree.

IDAHO, USA — Attorney General Raul Labrador joined a lawsuit filed by Texas over the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that determines which waters and rivers in the country fall under federal or state regulations. 

“I am proud to join Texas in this fight against the Biden administration,” Labrador said. “Another day, another attempt by the Biden administration to target Idaho’s ability to control our natural resources. This unlawful federal encroachment threatens the sovereignty of Idaho, and we will not allow it.”

An ongoing hot-button political, public and agriculture issue, water rights and how to regulate the use and care for it, has often been debated and laws have reflected that. 

“This action will strengthen fundamental protections for waters that are sources of drinking water while supporting agriculture, local economies, and downstream communities,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated.

However, Idaho Farm Bureau Director of Governmental Affairs Braden Jensen said not everyone agrees about who should regulate that water.

“The question is what falls into federal jurisdiction and what falls into state jurisdiction,” Jensen said.

Administration Associate Professor at Boise State University Dr. Monica Hubbard, who holds a Bachelor of Science, Masters of Science in Water Resources and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science said “our water system, hydraulic system, everything’s connected, we only have a finite amount of water.”

WOTUS defines what waters qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. On Dec. 30, 2022, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the revised definition of WOTUS rule and it goes into effect Mar. 20, 2023.

Hubbard said it’s called the Clean Water Act but is technically the Federal Pollution Control Act. She said the goal was to protect the US waterways to make them like swimmable and usable, drinkable, and so on. It was passed in 1972. 

She said there are two tests that are used to determine which waters should be regulated, the …


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