Press Release

The American Legislative Exchange Council in Response to the EPA Proposed Rule: Revised Definition of Waters of the United States

February 9th 2022
Bill Ashworth



The American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”), filed public comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking the agency to withdraw its proposed “Waters of the United States” rulemaking. If adopted, the proposed rule would allow federal regulators to supersede state and local authority over land and waters delegated to their jurisdiction in the Clean Water Act.

“The proposed rule clearly undercuts state and local government authority protected in the Clean Water Act,” said Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director Joe Trotter. “Implementing the proposed rule would undermine four decades of partnership between federal, state, and local governments.” 

“The Clean Water Act and Supreme Court decisions clearly provide states with the authority to ensure that waterways are clean,” said Center for Legal and Regulatory Reform Director Jonathon Hauenschild. “The Supreme Court struck down previous regulations where the EPA failed to account for the dual authority. The EPA and Army’s new definition goes further than any in the past, effectively nullifying the authority the Clean Water Act granted to states. The EPA and Army would be wise to withdraw the proposed definition.”

Under the Obama administration, the EPA expanded the definition so broadly that virtually any area that even temporarily held water, such as ditches, fell under federal regulatory jurisdiction. ALEC’s members of the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force approved a model resolution strongly opposing the rule in 2014, citing that the interpretation impaired state authority and contravened congressional intent. The proposed definition is very similar to the one adopted in 2015.



The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit: