Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) today sent a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) outlining concerns about the process by which the EPA is attempting to expand its jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA).  Last month, Chairmen Smith and Stewart raised concerns that the Obama administration’s rushed process could give EPA unprecedented new authority over seasonal streams and ditches on private property.

“Rather than allowing time for a review of their proposed regulations, the EPA is rushing forward regardless of whether the science actually supports the rule,” the Chairmen wrote. “The proposed rule could give the EPA unprecedented power over private property in the U.S. Racing through the approval process without proper peer review and transparency amounts to an EPA power play to regulate America’s waterways.  Such unrestrained federal intrusion poses a serious threat to private property rights, state sovereignty and economic growth.”

On September 17, the EPA sent a draft rule to OMB seeking interagency review and approval.  The proposed rule redefines “waters of the United States” under the CWA and could vastly expand the EPA’s authority over America’s waterways.  On the same day, the EPA submitted a draft scientific assessment to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for peer review. But according to OMB’s own guidelines, the study must be fully and openly peer reviewed before interagency review of the draft rule.

Chairmen Smith and Stewart urged the administration to allow sufficient time for a full and open scientific peer review of the both the draft rule and the study.  

The full letter can be found here.