McCarthy says EPA has no intention of withdrawing WOTUS

EPA Chief Administrator Gina McCarthy testified Thursday that the EPA has no intention of withdrawing its proposed Clean Water Rule also known as the Waters of the US (WOTUS). McCarthy testified at a House Agriculture Committee hearing Thursday where she also said the EPA has “a collaborative spirit” with federal agencies associated with farming.

“EPA is working every day with the USDA and the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) to see how we can advance their mission as a way to advance our own,” McCarthy told committee members during questioning.

McCarthy tried to reassure committee members about the increased jurisdiction in the controversial water rule. She said it’s a necessary part of the rule to explain which waters are covered and which are not.

“So is there is not significant amount of time wasted asking in areas where there is no jurisdiction or where we well know that from our history there is a direct hydrologic connection that is significant enough to warrant protection,” said McCarthy.  “But in terms of the agriculture community, there is no added permit burden.”

Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz said that the EPA has used what he calls “regulatory humility.” But, Pennsylvania Republican Glenn Thompson disagreed.

“I haven’t seen a lot of regulatory humility,” said Thompson.  “At least since I’ve been here it’s more like regulatory arrogance.”

There is nearly unanimous opposition in agriculture to the water rule which many say is a regulatory overreach. The rule remains on temporary hold under a federal court ruling.

AUDIO: House Agriculture Committee hearing w/Gina McCarthy (2 hrs. 53 min. MP3)

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