Republican leaders of the House Science Committee are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of rushing a rule to establish broad authority over streams and wetlands.
In a letter to the agency on Friday, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) alleged that it is trying to initiate a “sweeping reinterpretation” of its jurisdiction in a potential new rule.
The regulation to expand the EPA’s oversight would give it “unprecedented control over private property across the nation,” they asserted.
In September, the EPA began the process of asserting that it can regulate streams, estuaries and other small bodies of water under authority granted by the Clean Water Act. The agency said that the new rule is necessary to clear up confusion caused by two recent Supreme Court cases.
The EPA said making sure that regulations protecting clean water apply to those smaller waters ends up protecting larger lakes and rivers downstream.
Republican lawmakers have attacked the move and accused the agency of making a broad power grab. They worry that the EPA’s science has not been thorough enough to warrant a new rule.