May 222015

The Gray Lady, as she is sometimes known, has an article today predicting an announcement of the controversial "waters of the U.S." rule from the Obama Administration "in the coming days."

Coral Davenport of the Times reports that the announcement could come as soon as today or early next week.

EPA spokesman Robert Daguillard would say only that the rule will be published this spring. As of today, that gives EPA (and its less-visible partner in the effort, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) another month.

The rule has been under review at the Office of Management and Budget since April.

Meanwhile, Capitol Hill lawmakers have been moving to block the rule's implementation or, at the least, substantially change it. A Senate hearing was held Tuesday on S. 1140, which attempts to define the limits of federal jurisdiction. The House of Representatives, meanwhile, has already passed a bill requiring EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw their proposal.

The Senate bill has 30 co-sponsors. The House bill cleared the chamber with a 261-155 vote -- 29 votes shy of the number needed to override a presidential veto. For those in need of a civics lesson, that number is two-thirds of each chamber: 290 in the House, 67 in the Senate.

The Times article contained a curious word choice, reporting that "the rule will also limit pollution in groundwater and other sources of drinking water. Polluted groundwater is now chemically treated before being used as drinking water."

While the rule may very well result in a reduction of pollutants seeping into groundwater, it will not set any limits on the amount of chemicals of any kind in groundwater.

Said Daguillard: "The Clean Water Rule (and Clean Water Act) do not regulate groundwater."

Docket for the rule