Gosar is one of several congressmen calling new EPA rules a “water grab.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
The Obama administration’s move to expand regulatory control over the nation’s rivers and streams has some Republicans from the Southwest boiling mad, with a group of conservatives calling the EPA proposal a “water grab.”
Arizona Republicans David Schweikert, Paul Gosar and Matt Salmon, along with Texas Republican Lamar Smith, have set a hearing Monday in Phoenix to discuss the new rules, which critics contend would extend federal authority to small creeks, ditches and even dry washes on private land.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers have said the proposed changes to the Clean Water Act, announced March 25, are needed, in the wake of recent Supreme Court rulings, to clarify the definition of waterways that meet the standards for federal jurisdiction.
The new guidance would apply Clean Water Act laws to rain-dependent streams, wetlands near rivers and other areas with a “hydrologic” connection, and is designed to protect water quality and slow the destruction of the country’s wetlands.
Environmentalists have lauded the proposal, which is subject to public comment through mid-July, but Gosar and other Republicans have said the EPA is overreaching.
“The EPA has no legal authority to expand the definition of navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly made clear,” Gosar said in a statement earlier this month. “Only Congress has such authority.” Full story