Kristina Baum (EPW) – 202.224.6176

Donelle Harder (EPW) – 202.224.4721

Mike Anderson (Sullivan) – 202.224.6727

EPW Republicans Seek Legal Justification for EPA, Army Corps’ final Waters of the United States Rule

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife, and the Republican members of the Committee today sent a letter to Adm. Gina McCarthy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), requesting the legal justification for the “waters of the United States” rule that Senator Sullivan initially requested on March 4, 2015. 

“This final rule tramples the Constitution, Supreme Court precedent, and the language of the statute itself,” said Inhofe. “I am not surprised that 28 states have already filed lawsuits to stop this unlawful encroachment of state authority over land and water.”

“I have been waiting for over four months for a legal justification of EPA’s redefinition of ‘waters of the United States,” said Sullivan. “Having reviewed the final rule, the reason for the delay is apparent – the final rule cannot be justified.  It will be sent back to the agencies either by Congress or by the courts.  In fact, this rule sets up the perfect case for Chief Justice Roberts and his colleagues to curtail deference to agencies.  Whether by Congressional or judicial action, this rule will not survive.” 

EPA and the Corps of Engineers published a final rule changing the definition of “waters of the United States” on June 29, 2015.  Legal challenges to the final rule have been filed by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico Environment Department, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  In addition, the governor of Indiana has announced that his state will soon join the action filed by the State of Georgia, which will bring the number of states challenging the final rule to 29.

To read the full text of the letter, click here.