Senator James M. Inhofe, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Congressman John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Senator Jeff Sessions, Ranking Member of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, and Congressman Bob Gibbs, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment released the following statement on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to propose a rule regarding identification of waters covered by the Clean Water Act.
"We have been vocally opposed to this Administration's effort to use a 'guidance' document to vastly expand the types of lands and waters subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act. The outcry from farmers and small business owners over this abuse of legal process has been significant. As members of Congress with oversight responsibilities, we are relieved to hear that EPA has indicated they may not finalize the guidance document. Instead, EPA has apparently decided to pursue a rulemaking process to address the issues raised in the Supreme Court's recent Clean Water Act rulings.
"However, we are concerned that EPA is merely using the rulemaking process to legitimize its draft guidance document by converting it into a rule and quickly finalizing it. We strongly disagree with this approach. We expect EPA to formally withdraw their proposed guidance document and begin the rulemaking process with an open mind. We further expect EPA to go through the complete rulemaking process following the Administrative Procedures Act, taking care to ensure that public comments from all stakeholders are fully considered. And finally, we expect to see a robust economic analysis on any proposed rule that includes an analysis of the impacts on jobs in this country.
"Any rule that simply converts the misinterpretation of Supreme Court precedent found in EPA's draft guidance document will be strongly opposed by us and many other members of Congress. We intend to watch this process very closely."