Both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy Wednesday requesting documents and clarification regarding the Waters of the United States rule.
U.S. Sens. James Lankford and Jim Inhofe want to know whether certain procedures violate regulatory flexibility and small business acts, as well as an executive order on the powers of the federal government.
“Unfortunately, rather than complying with these requirements, EPA claimed that no outreach or consultation was required, arguing that the governments, and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy strongly disagree with the EPA’s assertions,” the Senators wrote in their letter. “Instead of meeting its obligation to consult with small businesses, states, and local governments, EPA utilized taxpayer provided resources to amplify the viewpoint it wanted to hear.”
The two Republicans also asked for documents related to the rulemaking process and public outreach for the Waters of the U.S. rule created between January 2014 and May of this year. They want the documents by August 26th:
- 1. All documents, including emails, relating to outreach efforts, public relations strategies, social media efforts, and public meetings undertaken in connection with the WOTUS rule, and the dates of those actions.
- 2. All documents, including e-mails regarding EPA outreach efforts, including all communication via official EPA Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Pinterest, Thunderclap, and all other media platforms, as well as the dates they were disseminated.
- 3. All documents, including e-mails regarding efforts made by EPA in furtherance of soliciting comments from varied groups of stakeholders with viewpoints surrounding the WOTUS rule, including those opposed to the rule.
- 4. All documents, including e-mails regarding EPA decision to prioritize WOTUS rule as the subject of a public outreach campaigns.
- 5. All documents, including e-mails regarding WOTUS items that EPA decided it would include and exclude from the rulemaking docket.
- 6. All documents, including e-mails, relating to the process EPA implemented when counting comments to reach over 1 million public comments on the proposal, along with the determination process for duplicative comments from January 1, 2015 to the present.
Inhofe and Lankford cited a May article in The New York Times as one of the reasons behind their letter. The newspaper reported the WOTUS public comment period included many remarks generated by the EPA itself.