House and Senate Hold Rare Joint Hearing on Clean Water Act Jurisdiction
Members of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a joint hearing to examine the state and local impact of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule expanding jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act.
The first panel consisted of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy and lasted more than three hours. Republicans were on the offensive, talking about the rule’s expansion of jurisdiction impacting many different sections of the economy including agriculture, construction, energy, and manufacturing. Many focused on the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy calling for the rule’s withdrawal with others bringing up maps the House Science Committee had uncovered showing possible extent of the rule’s reach. Democrats instead chose to focus on the impacts the rule could have on water quality, branding opponents of the rule as spreading myths and misinformation and being opposed to cleaner water.
A second panel of state and local government witnesses focused the lack of consultation the agencies did and the costs of implementation that state and local governments would face under the new rule. Most did not agree with the agency witnesses’ assertion that the rule would clarify and actually reduce jurisdiction.
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