This is something of a bombshell in the on-going saga over the Waters of the U.S. rule (also known a the federal government’s attempt to extend regulatory control over all land that gets wet or even might get wet). According to documents obtained by Senator Jim Inhofe, the Army Corps of Engineers is disputing the manner in which the EPA used its data to justify the Waters of the U.S. rule.
“Our technical review of both documents indicate[s] that the Corps data provided to EPA has been selectively applied out of context, and mixes terminology and disparate data sets,” Army Corps of Engineers Major General John Peabody states in a memo released by Inhofe’s office (see all the documents here). “In the Corps’ judgement, the documents contain numerous inappropriate assumptions with no connection to the data provided, misapplied data, analytical deficiencies, and logical inconsistencies.”
Peabody requested that the EPA not identify the Corps of Engineers as a co-author of the final policy sent to the White House for approval.
Which, you know, ouch.
“The information uncovered by Senator Inhofe demonstrates the EPA ignored its own technical experts while drafting the final WOTUS Rule. After reading the information uncovered by the U.S. Senate, I can see why some people believe the EPA lied to Congress and the American people, ” North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer said in a statement released today. “Clearly, the EPA’s decision is not driven by sound science but rather by politics. The Obama administration continues to cow tow to extreme environmentalists at the expense of local property owners and state and local governments across the United States.”
And not only has the EPA been playing fast and loose with data to justify this rule, they’ve also been astroturfing the public comment process. From the New York Times:
Late last year, the E.P.A. sponsored a drive on Facebook and Twitter to promote its proposed clean water rule in conjunction with the Sierra Club. At the same time, Organizing for Action, a grass-roots group with deep ties to Mr. Obama, was also pushing the rule. They urged the public to flood the agency with positive comments to counter opposition from farming and industry groups.
The results were then offered as proof that the proposal was popular.
Only, in this instance, the sheep were chanting on Facebook and Twitter.