Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today is submitting hundreds of pages of comments to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging the agency to withdraw its controversial “Waters of the U.S.” proposal.

Chairman Smith: “The ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal makes clear that the EPA wants to control a huge amount of private property across the United States.  This could be the largest expansion ever of EPA’s authority to regulate private property. But the Obama administration continues to sidestep scientific integrity in order to fast track an abusive regulatory agenda.  From the start, the EPA failed to incorporate adequate peer-reviewed science in accordance with the agency’s own statutory obligations.  This proposal is premature, arbitrary and inadequately supported by the record. A founding promise of our nation is that the government cannot take what the people have not freely given. The EPA should listen to the American people and withdraw the proposed rule.”

The proposed rule redefines “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act.  Experts have testified that the definition is so broad that it effectively gives the EPA control over all man-made and natural bodies of water in the U.S., including those on private property or those that aren’t even wet.

In August, Committee oversight revealed that the EPA secretly assembled detailed maps of waters and wetlands for all 50 states.  At the time, the agency claimed that the maps had not yet been used for regulatory purposes.  However, the EPA failed to explain why it paid a private contractor to create these maps, and the details of the arrangement remain murky. Chairman Smith sent a letter to EPA demanding additional information about the agency’s motivation for having the detailed maps assembled.  EPA has not responded.

The copy of Chairman Smith’s cover letter to the formal comments can be found here.

Official comments can be found here.