Another Congressional committee has pounced on the Environmental Protection Agency for regulatory overreach, singling out EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. and other rules. It’s not the Ag Committee or the House Energy and Commerce Committee or even the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It’s the House Science, Space and Technology Committee chaired by Lamar Smith.
“As many had predicted EPA has claimed unprecedented jurisdiction over many kinds of water including those that temporarily result from a ‘drizzle,” he said. “The EPA actually uses that word, drizzle.”
Smith complains EPA will now have jurisdiction over prairie potholes and other ephemeral features, like ditches, that are not always filled with water. EPA argues the new rule keeps Clean Water Act exemptions for traditional agriculture and adds 56 conservation practices that will be exempt from dredge or fill permit requirements. But Smith and Ag Committee Republicans and Democrats see it differently.
“Under this regulatory regime Americans will be subject to required permits and the constant threat of government intervention. The onslaught of EPA regulations continues.”
Some Democrats pushed back, like ranking panel Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson.
“Unfortunately today’s hearing is just a continuation of the same familiar theme we’ve heard in this Congress, resistance to the EPA’s efforts to carry out its mission to protect the nation’s environment and public health, resistance that is unsupported by scientific evidence,” she said.
The American Farm Bureau charges EPA’s aggressive advocacy campaign for WOTUS and alleged misstatements about its content show the Agency’s extreme agenda. AFBF argues the Supreme Court ruled isolated intrastate waters are not waters of the U.S. since they are not navigable, but that EPA is trying to claim jurisdiction, regulate most ditches and groundwater, and fundamentally change the exercise of private property rights in the country.