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May 02, 2014

Chairman Schweikert: Proposed Water Rule Has Serious Deficiencies

Scottsdale, Ariz., May 2, 2014— Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Environment for the House Science, Space, and Technology committee, released a statement after joining House colleagues in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh asking the proposed draft rule defining ‘waters of the United States’ be withdrawn and returned for further analysis, revision.

“It is deeply troubling to know that this expansion in overreach by the EPA has been proposed without the independent analysis of the data and science behind the drafted rule,” said Chairman Schweikert. “Administrator McCarthy and Secretary McHugh need to address the legal, economic, and scientific deficiencies of the proposal before moving forward.”

"Although your agencies have maintained that the rule is narrow and clarifies Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction, it in fact aggressively expands federal authority under the CWA while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity," the letter reads. "Moreover, the rule is based on incomplete scientific and economic analysis." 

“Compounding both the ambiguity of the rule and the highly questionable economic analysis, the scientific report— which the agencies point to as the foundation of this rule—has been neither peer-reviewed nor finalized,” the letter continues. “The science should always come before a rulemaking, especially in this instance where the scientific and legal concepts are inextricably linked.”

Concerns with the proposed rule are based on charges of over regulation and underwhelming validation. The EPA and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (Army Corp) proposed rule clarifies protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands. The entire draft rule can be read here.

The letter to Administrator McCarthy and Secretary McHugh can be read here.


Chairman David Schweikert is the author of the Secret Science Reform Act and a strong advocate for transparent data, evidence, and scientific research. The Secret Science Reform Act, H.R. 4012, prohibits the EPA from proposing regulations based on science that is not transparent or reproducible.

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