Bull report: EPA feeds propaganda on WOTUS
January 6, 2016
While Congress was out over the holidays, the Obama Administration tried to enlist the media in their attempt to rebrand the "Waters of the United States" rule, or WOTUS, as the "Clean Water Rule." The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) originally proposed the rule as the "Definition of Waters of the United States under the Clean Water Act." The EPA added the "Clean Water Rule" moniker to the final rule only after months of pushback from the public, the Congress, and the states whose authority over intrastate waters will be eroded by the rule.
The EPA seems to think that if they call the rule something else, they can make the law seem less like the federal water grab that it is. After all, who doesn't support clean water? But labels aside, the facts speak for themselves. A federal district court decision blocked the rule in 13 states, calling it an "exceptionally expansive" interpretation of federal jurisdiction that would "irreparably diminish the States' power over their waters." The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals later expanded the stay to apply nationwide as the case makes its way through the courts. No matter what label the EPA chooses in the meantime, we hope the media resists the EPA's attempts to spin the facts as if only bureaucrats in Washington are capable of keeping state waters clean.
This attempt to rebrand the contentious WOTUS rule came on the heels of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that the EPA's social media campaign supporting the rule violated laws barring agencies from lobbying and disseminating propaganda to the public. The report found that the EPA's use of social media tools like Thunderclap was "covert propaganda," and that the Agency was participating in prohibited agency lobbying on pending legislation.
In all, the EPA's handling of the WOTUS rule has discarded the objectivity and integrity that Americans deserve from their government, especially when it is writing rules and regulations that impact their rights and their livelihoods. Instead, the EPA seems more preoccupied with using every trick in the book to grab as much power as possible. For that, we give the EPA four bulls.
– Congressional Western Caucus