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“Waters of the United States” and the Agricultural Production Sector: Sweeping Change or More of the Same?

September 2016

Citation: 46 ELR 10743

Issue: 9

Author: Emily Taylor

EPA and the Corps’ promulgation of a new definition of “waters of the United States” under the CWA has prompted a fierce rhetorical and legal debate. EPA maintains that the agencies’ jurisdiction may actually be limited by the new definition, while agricultural organizations maintain that jurisdiction is increased in violation of the agencies’ statutory authority. While heavily engaged in public dialogue, neither side has attempted to offer a systematic legal analysis comparing the scope of jurisdiction under the preexisting rule to its scope under the final rule. This Article engages in such an analysis and ultimately shows that the agencies’ jurisdiction under the new definition is, if at all changed, more limited than under the preexisting rule.

Emily Taylor holds a 2016 J.D., Vanderbilt Law School. She will be starting as an Associate in the Environmental Practice Group at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP in Columbus, Ohio, this fall.

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