Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today voted in favor of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732), a bill he cosponsored that would force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its controversial “waters of the U.S.” rule. The bill would allow the EPA to propose a new rule only after the agency engages with stakeholders on the rule’s impacts.

Chairman Smith: “The EPA’s ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule is a massive power grab of private property. Farmers and landowners are right to be concerned. The rule is written so broadly it could allow the EPA to regulate virtually every body of water in the United States, including private and public lakes, ponds and streams. The EPA needs to take a step back, engage with stakeholders, and be open and transparent about its intentions. The Regulatory Integrity Protection Act will force the EPA to hit the reset button on this far-reaching rule.”

The Science Committee has sent several letters to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy questioning the agency’s rushed process and lack of transparency in pushing this unpopular rule on the American people. Last summer, a Science Committee investigation revealed that the EPA had assembled detailed maps showing waters and wetlands for all 50 states.  The maps, which were created in 2013 shortly after EPA proposed its waters of the U.S. rule, had never been made public.

While the EPA has claimed the maps have not yet been used to regulate, they have failed to explain why the agency used taxpayer money to create them. Serious questions remain regarding the EPA’s underlying motivations for creating such highly detailed maps.

H.R. 1732 was approved this evening by a vote of 261 to 155. A bipartisan group of senators introduced similar legislation last month that would force the EPA to rewrite the rule by the end of next year.