Washington, D.C. – The Science, Space, and Technology Committee has obtained a copy of a proposed rule to expand the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  The draft rule redefines “waters of the United States” under the CWA to include all natural and man-made tributary streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands that affect downstream navigable waters. The proposed rule is so broad that it effectively gives the EPA regulatory control over all man-made and natural bodies of water in the U.S., including those on private property.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to testify before the Science Committee on Thursday, November 14, at 10:00am ET.

Chairman Smith:  “The EPA’s draft water rule is a massive power grab of private property across the U.S. This could be the largest expansion of EPA regulatory authority ever.  If the draft rule is approved, it would allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams.

“The Obama administration’s latest power play to regulate America’s waterways is an unprecedented effort to control the use of private property. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will testify before the Science Committee this week and the Committee will question her about the Agency’s ever-expanding regulatory agenda.”

The EPA is rushing the approval process without thorough peer review of the supporting data. The proposed rule relies heavily on a draft report that has not yet been peer-reviewed or completed. Instead, the EPA submitted the proposed rule to the White House for approval on the same day that it provided the draft scientific assessment to its Science Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review. This is a clear attempt to fast-track the approval process without independent review.

Last week, Science Committee Chairman Smith and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget raising concerns over the EPA’s rushed process to review the rule.  The Chairmen urged the White House to allow sufficient time for a full and open scientific peer review of the both the draft rule and the water connectivity report.