EPA accused of 'unprecedented' power grab with proposed water rule that would give the agency “unprecedented control over private property across the nation.”

Two Republican lawmakers on the House Science Committee are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of pushing through a rule that could potentially expand the agency’s regulatory authority over streams, wetlands and other bodies under the Clean Water Act.

Reps. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Chris Stewart, R-Utah, on Friday sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing concern over the proposed draft rule, which they say would give the agency “unprecedented control over private property across the nation.”

The rule, which aims to clarify the agency's regulatory jurisdiction over different types of water bodies, was sent to the Office of Management and Budget in September for review. The agency has said the scope of the proposal is limited to clearing up confusion caused by Supreme Court decisions involving the Clean Water Act.

The lawmakers claimed the agency is engaging in a "rushed, politicized regulatory process" and called for the EPA's independent science advisory board to review the science underlying the proposal.

"In light of the significant implications this action would have on the economy, property rights and state sovereignty, this process must be given more thought and deliberation to allow for important, statutorily-required, weighing of the scientific and technical underpinnings of the proposed regulatory changes," the lawmakers wrote.

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