Vitter accuses EPA of 'colluding' with environmental groups

Greg Nash

A Republican senator is accusing the EPA of colluding with environmental groups to drum up public support for a controversial drinking water regulation.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Sen. David VitterDavid VitterDavid Duke gets debate slot in La. Senate race GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Trump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race MORE (R-La.) criticizes the agency for using taxpayer dollars to mount a lobbying campaign for the Waters of the United States rule it proposed last year.

Vitter, who is running to succeed Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), called it “outrageous.”

“This news offers yet another example of the EPA’s collusion with far-left environmental groups to promote a policy that would hurt small businesses and substantially harm the American economy,” Vitter wrote.

He specifically criticized the EPA for using social media to promote the rule, but the agency defended its use of social media in a recent blog post.

“Like almost every government, business or non-profit organization these days, we use social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, to stay connected and to inform people across the country about our work,” the agency wrote.

“To ensure Americans had the facts directly from us about the proposed rule, the value of protecting streams and wetlands, and the need for clearly defined protections under the Clean Water Act, we used social media.”

This comes despite the Department of Justice’s longtime policy that advises federal agencies against lobbying in favor of their own rules, Vitter says.

The EPA already regulates large sources of water, but the rule would expand the agency’s jurisdiction to include smaller bodies of water like streams, ponds and ditches.

Farmers say this would make it difficult for them to operate under EPA jurisdiction.

“The fact that the EPA certified that the WOTUS rule will not harm small entities, while at the same time devoting itself to political advocacy on behalf of the White House, demonstrates that the EPA places a higher priority on the president’s environmental agenda than it does on protecting the interests of America’s small businesses, as required by law,” Vitter wrote.