|Most wetlands wouldn't qualify under the new definition.|
(Photo by Petr Kratochvil, PublicDomainPictures.net)
According to those talking points, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers will make the announcement on Tuesday. It's unknown how much of our nation's wetlands and waterways will lose federal protection, but Wittenberg notes that the talking points give some indications. The talking points say that "ephemeral streams and related features" that only exist after rain will be entirely excluded from WOTUS. The proposal aims to protect only wetlands that are "physically and meaningfully connected" to other waters protected under WOTUS.
"It's not clear how the administration would define 'physically and meaningfully connected,' Wittenberg reports. "But the agencies have set out to write a regulation based on a 2006 opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who said the Clean Water Act should extend only to waters and wetlands with a 'continuous surface connection' to nearby rivers and streams where it is 'difficult to determine where the 'water' ends and the 'wetland' begins.'"