BISMARCK, N.D. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the release of a highly detailed map of North Dakota developed in secret by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the purpose of expanding its regulation of water features. Investigations by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, of which Cramer is a member, revealed the EPA has assembled detailed maps of all waters and wetlands in every state with no intention of releasing them to the public. At the same time, the EPA has been in pursuit of a rule titled “Waters of the U.S.”, which would drastically expand the agency’s authority over bodies of water including small ponds, creeks, ditches, and other occasionally wet areas, including those found on private property.
Last month, Cramer and other members of the House Science Committee held a hearing examining the EPA’s actions in pursuit of issuing the new rule. During the hearing, EPA Deputy Administrator Robert Perciasepe was asked about the maps and agreed to release them to the public.
“It is certainly alarming the EPA would develop these maps in secret and only release them after being confronted by members of Congress. The EPA has been hiding information which could upset the public and jeopardize its massive power grab of unprecedented authority over private and public water. It doesn’t take much of a leap to conclude these highly detailed maps developed with taxpayer funds are for the purpose of enforcing this rule,” said Cramer. “Transparency at the EPA is long overdue, and this is just another example of how out of control this agency has become.”
The map shows much of the state colored in either blue, indicating a perennial water feature, or yellow, indicating an intermittent water feature which may or may not exist depending on the time of year, or in a period of drought or otherwise. A second, regional map including North Dakota depicts a “wetlands inventory”, and sees nearly all of the state colored in blue.
Congressman Cramer has consistently opposed the Waters of the U.S. rule and has called on the EPA to change course on numerous occasions, citing its devastating economic impacts, substantial regulatory costs, bureaucratic barriers to economic growth, and severely negative impacts on farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production, as well as the fact waters are to be governed by states and not the federal government. Cramer has also been outspoken about the EPA’s recent attempt to garnish the wages of private citizens to assess its regulatory fees. Two weeks after he wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, a swell of public outcry from citizens of North Dakota as well as other states forced the EPA to rescind its proposed wage garnishment plans.