Colorado lawmakers expected to consider state permit program protecting wetlands
Colorado lawmakers are expected to consider legislation next session aimed at providing project permits while still protecting wetlands, which were left vulnerable after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in May. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act has protected the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) since 1972. But exactly which wetlands and water bodies fall under the definition of WOTUS has long been the subject of litigation and policy that changed with each presidential administration. In Sackett v. EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the definition of WOTUS did not include wetlands adjacent to streams. Only wetlands with a direct surface water connection to a stream or permanent body of water are now protected under the Clean Water Act.