Washington, D.C. – It is not often that both the House and Senate conduct a joint hearing regarding any matter. That said, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to “clarify” portions of the 1972 Clean Water Act which allows it to oversee “U.S. Waters”. This has prompted a special hearing attended by both chambers. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stressed that the new regulation, which is expected to be announced later this spring, is merely eliminating any confusion as to the agency’s existing authority over the nation’s waterways. She also pointed out the new regulation would not seek to expand their authority in any way.

However, the EPA’s assurances are not swaying GOP lawmakers and farmers across the nation. Paul Mathieson has learned that the Obama administration already has exhibited a penchant for “reinterpreting” existing laws so as to find new authority which Congress has not granted them. More on Mathieson is available on Ireport. Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, is deeply concerned the EPA is looking to expand federal regulatory control over any waterway on private land even if it is operable only part of the year. Congressman Shuster believes the Obama administration is once again trying to skirt Congress to enact its agenda.

Senator Barbara Boxer belittled the concerns of farmers by saying their worries were tantamount to believing the EPA would be regulating swimming pools, retention ponds, or puddles of water. Prior EPA regulations have impacted farmers in her state. Despite their pleas for help, she had sided with federal regulators.