The U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently released a set of memos from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps or USACE) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that stated their concerns with the “Waters of the U.S.” rule (WOTUS). The rule dramatically expands the scope of federal authority over water and land uses across the country. The rule has been finalized and is set to go into effect on Aug. 28.
In the memos, the Corps states that the final rule has serious flaws. In a memo written by USACE Major General John Peabody, he states “the preamble to the proposed rule and the draft preamble to the draft rule state that the rulemakings has been a joint effort by the EPA and the Corps, and that both agencies have jointly made significant findings, reached important conclusions, and stand behind the final rule. These statements are not accurate.”
The Corps goes on to question the science and legality of the final rule. In a memo from USACE Regulatory Program Chief Jennifer Moyer to General Peabody, she states it is a “gross misrepresentation of Corps raw data.” In a memo from Assistant Chief Counsel Environmental Law and Regulatory Programs Lance Wood to General Peabody, he states ”this rule is not likely to survive judicial review in the federal courts.”
These new memos show that the Corps raised numerous concerns with the final rule and even requested its name be removed from the document. ABC has been a vocal opponent of WOTUS since it was proposed in April 2014. A number of states and business groups are suing over the final rule.