Hultgren Challenge EPA on Ground Water Lack of Definition

A press release from Congressman Randy Hultgren:

Hultgren to EPA Admin: Clean Water Rule is Less Clear to Me Now than When I Walked in

Washington, DC — U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) today took the Honorable Robert Perciasepe, Deputy Administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to task for his wavering and opaque explanation of the newly-released Clean Water Rule and how it will affect Illinois 14th District constituents.

This exchange occurred during a hearing held by the Science, Space and Technology Committee titled, “Navigating the Clean Water Act: Is Water Wet?

Randy Hultgren

Randy Hultgren

After he confirmed with Mr. Perciasepe that the EPA does hold their Scientific Advisory Board in
“high esteem,” Rep. Hultgren then pressed him (1:36) to answer why, if science is the backbone of rules that are written by the EPA, there is no scientific justification for what a “shallow subsurface hydrological connection” is, a term that was used nearly 30 times in one five-page section of the rule, and more than 50 times throughout the entire rule. Nor is there an explanation for what depth water below the surface ceases to be shallow subsurface and turns into groundwater.

Shallow subsurface hydrological connections do come under jurisdiction of the draft rule, using suspect definitions for “adjacent waters.” EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, when reviewing the science the agency used to justify this rule, said there was a lack of research on these connections which “represents an important research need.”

Unfortunately, the agency did not wait for this review before issuing their draft rule, nor did they submit the draft for further review by the board before issuing the rule and seeking comment from the public.

Mr. Perciasepe wavered in his answer, holding that groundwater is not included in the rule, but ultimately failed to differentiate between the two. Rep. Hultgren asked: “How can a regular citizen be expected to know whether or not they are digging into something that would be groundwater, which as you say is exempt in the rule, or shallow subsurface water, where the Clean Water Act comes into play?”

Rep. Hultgren concluded: “This is less clear to me than when I walked in here, and it’s probably the same for my constituents…there is already such a lack of clarity in [EPA] rulemaking.”


Hultgren Challenge EPA on Ground Water Lack of Definition — 2 Comments

  1. I used to respect Mr. Hultgren- voted for him.

    Now he’s just a shaved monkey, screeching at a federal official. How did the Koch brothers pay you for that.

    I bet there’s no definition of ‘water’ in the document. Is there a definition for environmental? Protection? Agency? $5 says no.

    “Shallow subsurface hydrological connections”

    One example- marshes that connect via shallow water tables. Mr. Hultgren may be surprised to learn that many parts of the US have multiple water tables, separated by aquitards- impermeable barriers, such as shales or dense clays.

    You have a shallow water table, and a deep water table. Mr. Hultgren’s staff already knew this, but Mr. Hultgren chose to ignore them.


    that’s the deep aquifer, generally in porous bedrock, that is protected from the shallow aquifer by the aquitard.

    Again, Mr. Hultgten’s staff already knew this.

    Are there any other high school science class terms Mr. Hultgren needs help with?

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