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The EPA Clean Water Rule: Not so popular

| Saturday, May 30, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new rule that effectively gives it and the Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over most every puddle in the U.S. is dubious in itself. And it benefits from a flood of supposed support that's anything but a genuine outpouring of public opinion.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in March that 87.1 percent of more than 1 million comments received were “supportive” of the measure, known as the Clean Water Rule. But she didn't mention EPA efforts to rig the comment process, according to Heritage Foundation agricultural-policy expert Daren Bakst, writing for The Daily Signal.

The EPA used social media including Facebook and Twitter, collaborated with the Sierra Club and even developed a video to promote the rule. And those overwhelmingly “supportive” 1 million-plus comments? Most were form letters.

Add Ms. McCarthy's dismissal of “some public concerns about the rule as ‘ludicrous' and ‘silly'” and the EPA “has been acting more like an advocacy group than a federal agency that is supposed to welcome comments from all sides,” Mr. Bakst writes.

All of which makes this new rule — opposed by “farmers, ranchers, small businesses, manufacturers, home builders, mining companies, counties, cities and state legislators, as well as individuals, state officials and other groups” — even more of an unprecedented power grab than it already was.

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