Chairmen Harris and Gibbs Question EPA Efforts to Expand Clean Water Act Authorities

Jun 12, 2012

Washington, D.C. – Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Chairman Andy Harris (R-MD) and Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-OH) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting information on two water studies related to the Agency's efforts to expand regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).

In May 2011, EPA published "Draft Guidance Regarding Identification of Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act," and submitted its final draft ("Final Guidance") to the Office of Management and Budget for review in February 2012.  The letter details concerns with the scientific, technical, and legal justifications related to the guidance, particularly as they relate to the pending scientific studies.  "Once issued and implemented, the EPA Final Guidance will further confuse the CWA regulatory process and significantly expand federal regulatory authority, while introducing entirely new concepts that blur the distinction between federal and state water and land use regulatory authorities,” the Members said. “Moreover, corresponding actions by EPA, including two recent supporting water studies, have raised questions over the due diligence, open process, and scientific basis for the Agency’s action on this issue. "

The letter also criticizes the process used by EPA to advance the new changes, noting the Agency’s use of Guidance circumvents the traditional rulemaking process and threatens to result in de facto new regulations that could potentially cause significant economic harm to numerous industries. 

Chairman Harris and Chairman Gibbs request that EPA provide comprehensive details on the scope, timeline and purpose of both studies with respect to the Draft and Final Guidance, as well as information related to cost-benefit analysis, transparency, and public participation.

A copy of the letter can be found HERE