Wetlands are a particularly sensitive issue right now as EPA evaluates its proposed rule to broaden what constitutes “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). The new rule would bring huge new territory under EPA’s control under the Clean Water Act.
Smith wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in which he stated:
These maps show EPA’s plan: to control a huge amount of private property across the country. Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA’s desire to minimize the importance of these maps. But the EPA’s posturing cannot explain away the alarming content of these documents. It’s time to give Americans a chance to make up their own minds about EPA’s intentions.
Smith called on EPA to publish the maps and include them in public comment on EPA’s WOTUS rule. He asked EPA to reset the clock for offering public comment to 60 days after EPA officially releases the maps to the public.
For many regions of the United States, it’s hard to find much land that these maps exclude from what EPA may consider wetlands.
EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner defended the maps in a letter to Smith in which she said the maps were prepared, “to better understand the potential impacts of certain court decisions to aquatic resources, but not to depict the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act.”
Should American citizens concerned about how much of the land depicted in these maps EPA hopes to regulate under its new WOTUS rule be reassured by EPA’s recent record of moderation and restraint?
You can sign CFACT’s statement to EPA on the Waters of the United States here. Unless EPA heeds Smith’s request and extends the deadline, we have until October 20th to sign on as many concerned citizens as possible.