Thursday, April 16, 2015
House committee chairs wants evidence from EPA on drafting WOTUS rule
Washington—A number of House committee chairmen have asked EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for documents to confirm whether or not USDA has done any quantitative analysis on how the proposed “waters of the United States” rule would affect farmers, ranchers and farm programs. The chairmen fear the rule could ultimately lead to the unlawful expansion of federal jurisdiction, resulting in significant costs for routine farming, ranching and forestry practices. Among other things, the rule would expand federal control over land features such as ditches and areas of agricultural land that are wet only during storms.
“The committees are interested in ensuring that in the course of promulgating the definition of ‘waters of the United States,’ [agriculture and forestry] stakeholder voices are being heard and taken into consideration. Congress is obligated to ensure the integrity and transparency of the rulemaking process. The American people, including farmers and ranchers, have a right to be assured their voices are being heard by the administration,” wrote House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas).