Congressman Lamar Smith (R, TX) is highlighting [follow the links there for his letter to EPA Director Gina “Joe” McCarthy and for the EPA’s maps) a new example of this: EPA rule-making regarding waterways, particularly those on private land and how those private property owners must handle water on their property. In support of this new rule-making effort (although the EPA denies it’s in support), the EPA has generated highly detailed maps of every waterway in the US—down to what it classifies as “ephemeral streams,” or streams that only have water in them as a result of rain falling. Such “streams” include ditches on private property, runoff through a depression in someone’s yard, and so on.
EPA Press Secretary Liz Purchia insists, regarding any mapping effort related to this rule-making effort, that any maps actually related to their rule(s) would have to include ground surveys in order to support the proposed rule, and she said that would be “prohibitively expensive.”
We’re left to conclude, then, that the EPA is holding itself willfully ignorant of the extent and effect of its rule because finding that out would be inconvenient. Yet the EPA is going ahead with its rule, anyway.
Oh, and those extremely detailed maps—themselves expensive enough to generate that the EPA is reluctant to discuss the terms of the contract with the map generator—were generated on the taxpayer dime solely for…because.