Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK) sent a letter Wednesday to the Environmental Protection Agency to seek clarification regarding the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule’s compliance with regulatory process guidelines. Specifically, the senators questioned whether it’s notice-and-comment procedures violated the Regulatory Flexibility Act, the Small Business Enforcement Fairness Act, and Executive Order 13132 on Federalism. The senators’ committees are conducting oversight of the Obama administration’s handling of public comments for the rule, including new media campaigns to solicit comments. Inhofe is chairman of the Environmental and Public Works Committee, while Lankford is the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management.
This ‘Waters of the United States’ rule was proposed by the EPA in 2014 to redefine which waterways are regulated by the Clean Water Act and greatly expands the EPA’s authority. On June 29, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers published their final rule in the Federal Register redefining ‘Waters of the United States’ and is now under final consideration by the White House.