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EPA extends WOTUS comment period

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period on the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule from Oct. 20 until Nov. 14. EPA says its scientific advisory board is finishing a report on the connectivity of small bodies of water...

The Environmental Protection Agency has extended the comment period on the controversial Waters of the U.S. rule from Oct. 20 until Nov. 14.

EPA says its scientific advisory board is finishing a report on the connectivity of small bodies of water such as streams and wetlands and that its staff needs to examine it and to receive more comments from the public.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., says in a news release he thinks the decision "is in response to strong public opposition to it."

"While extending the comment period to allow for more input is fine, the fact is that the EPA needs to rescind the rule," Hoeven says. "The agency is asserting jurisdiction beyond that which has been granted to it by Congress. I will continue my efforts to either de-authorize the rule or defund it as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee."

Other Republicans were more scathing in their reactions.

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The announcement "is little more than election-year politics from an administration worried about retaining control of the Senate, I invite Nebraskans who recognize the rule as a power grab to take advantage of the opportunity to air their grievances," Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., says in a news release.

"The proposed rule could have enormous consequences for farmers and ranchers," Johanns says. "I hope the agency is flooded with additional comments that bring much-needed commonsense to an out-of-touch EPA."

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