Letter From Dr. David T. Allen, Chair, Science Advisory Board (SAB), to Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on SAB Consideration of the Adequacy of the Scientific and Technical Basis of EPA's Proposed Rule Titled 'Definition of Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act' (Sept. 30, 2014)

AuthorMargaret 'Peggy' Strand/Lowell Rothschild
Letter From Dr. David T. Allen, Chair, SAB, to Gina McCarthy, Administrator, EPA Page 695
September 30, 2014
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
Subject: Science Advisory Board (SAB) Consideration of the Adequacy of the Scientific and
Technical Basis of the EPA’s Proposed Rule titled “Definition of Waters of the United
States under the Clean Water Act”
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
As part of its statutory duties, the Science Advisory Board (SAB) may provide advice and comment to
you on the adequacy of the scientific and technical basis of certain planned EPA actions. The
Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 (ERDDAA)
requires the agency to make available to the SAB proposed criteria documents, standards, limitations,
or regulations provided to any other Federal agency for formal review and comment, together with
relevant scientific and technical information on which the proposed action is based. The SAB may then
provide advice and comments on the adequacy of the scientific and technical basis of the proposed
This letter documents the SAB’s activities related to the proposed rule “Definition of ‘Waters of the
United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” released on March 25, 2014, and provides advice and
comments related to that proposal. Briefly, the SAB finds that the available science provides an
adequate scientific basis for the key components of the proposed rule. Although water bodies differ in
degree of connectivity that affects the extent of influence they exert on downstream waters (i.e., they
exist on a “connectivity gradient”), the available science supports the conclusion that the types of water
bodies identified as waters of the United States in the proposed rule exert strong influence on the
physical, chemical, and biological integrity of downstream waters. Additional comments regarding the
Board’s major findings and recommendations to strengthen the science supporting the rule are provided
In SAB deliberations leading to the letter sent to you on July 26, 2013, Science Advisory Board (SAB)
Discussions about EPA Planned Actions in the Fall 2012 Unified (Regulatory) Agenda and their
Supporting Science (EPA-SAB-14-003), the chartered SAB discussed the agency’s plan to propose the
rule. The Board also discussed the EPA’s plan to use the EPA’s September 2013 draft report,

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