Memoranda Reveal Flaws in EPA’s Water Rule

Aug. 10, 2015

Internal memoranda released in July show that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] officials have failed in their efforts to rewrite the Clean Water Act.

Since last year, the agency’s leaders have advanced a proposed rule to “clarify” the act in the wake of several U.S. Supreme Court decisions. But the proposal, known as the Waters of the United States rule, suffers from numerous flaws, according to U.S. Army Corps staff members who reviewed it.

In May, Lance Wood, an assistant chief counsel for the Corps, wrote that the EPA’s proposal “makes certain assumptions that have no analytical basis” and “is misleading in its geographic representation of data.”

A month earlier John W. Peabody, a deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations, concluded: “the draft final rule continues to depart significantly from the version provided for public comment.” Peabody emphasized that the draft regulation “contradicts longstanding and well established legal principles undergirding Clean Water Act…regulations and regulatory practices.”

In light of these findings by engineers and attorneys at the Corps, the American Farm Bureau has called upon EPA to scrap the rule and start the process again – this time with open discussion and guidance from reliable scientific evidence and established law.

The memoranda have been posted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform at