Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, along with Senators David Vitter (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), and John Boozman (R-AR), sent an oversight letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concerns over EPA's intended stormwater regulations, specifically any post construction limits from newly developed and redeveloped sites. Currently the stormwater permits apply to discharges from active construction sites. The Senators are concerned that if EPA's rule regulates developed sites and post-construction stormwater discharges, this could create an extreme burden on private property owners and potentially exceed the Agency's statutory authority. Their letter asks Administrator Jackson to provide a detailed explanation of EPA's authority and the timing of the study and report to Congress prior to regulating new stormwater sources. EPA intends to propose the draft stormwater rule in September 2011 and the final rule is expected in November 2012.
"The onslaught of EPA job-killing regulations will likely continue next month when the Agency rolls out its proposed stormwater rule," Senator Inhofe said. "This rule has the potential to be one of the most costly regulations EPA has ever promulgated: it is an unfunded mandate that will cost state and local governments billions of dollars and increase costs for every ratepayer.
"As with most regulations coming out of EPA, it appears that the proposed stromwater rule will likely be another aggressive power grab. EPA has indicated it plans to extend existing stormwater regulations to include newly developed and redeveloped construction sites as well as rapidly urbanizing areas. As a result, development for states and municipalities will become increasingly more complicated and expensive, and areas of the country that are experiencing the most economic growth will be hit the hardest. For too long, environmental activists have been pushing for EPA to use stormwater regulations to control development. But EPA has no business getting involved in local planning decisions: the Clean Water Act is very clear that states are responsible for land use planning, not the federal government. If EPA goes through with regulating developed sites and post-construction stormwater discharges, it will penalize economic growth in the very few parts of the country where it is actually occurring.
"Today I am calling on Senator Boxer to hold an oversight hearing on the Obama EPA's forthcoming proposed stormwater rule. The Agency needs to explain to Congress and the American people why it insists on stifling economic growth, especially at a time when we most need new development and more jobs."