United States Senator Deb Fischer charges the Environmental Protection Agency ignored public input in moving forward with its Waters of the United States rule.
The new rule expands the Clean Water Act, giving the EPA jurisdiction over more streams and bodies of water.
Fischer points out 32 states filed formal protests on the expansion.
The EPA received 20,000 what it calls “unique” comments, 2,000 of which are consider “substantive” comments. Many criticize the proposal.
“So, it makes you wonder if the EPA took the time to listen to states, to listen to the people who came to and spoke at the hearing that we had in Nebraska, that panel of Nebraskans that we had, when they, I think, finalized a rule that is not going to bring more clarity, it just raises more concerns,” Fischer tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
Fischer hosted a hearing in March on the East Campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in which Nebraska state officials and agricultural interests protested the proposal.
Fischer says the proposal is significant for Nebraska.
“So this is going to have a big effect on, of course, agriculture,” Fischer says. “It is going to have a big effect in states like Nebraska, where you have that nexus test that’s in the rule that will really affect all land in Nebraska, because of the interconnection between groundwater and surface water. It’s really going to affect some southern states.”
Fischer accuses the EPA of ignoring federal law, which requires a presidential administration to consult with the states before implementing rules.
Several members of Congress are considering various methods to stop the EPA from implementing the Waters of the United States rule.