Networks Neglect to Cover New EPA Regulations Expanding Control of Waterways

On Wednesday night, the major broadcast networks ignored a series of new regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the agency claims will better explain regulations in the Clean Water Act, but are seen by many as a power grab by the Obama administration to further control America’s waterways. 

While the story received zero mention on ABC, CBS, or NBC (but full stories from the AP wire on their respective websites), the Fox News Channel’s Special Report devoted a 15-second news brief to the story on its Wednesday program. 

Host Bret Baier reported the following: 

The EPA has issued new rules that it says will protect the nation’s drinking water from pollution. The rules have run into deep opposition from farm groups and the Republican-led Congress. The House voted earlier this month to block the regulations, saying they amount to overreach.

According to Zack Colman of The Washington Examiner

The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a rule Wednesday that critics say would expand federal reach over U.S. waterways, but that the Obama administration contends will clarify which farming, development and other practices are subject to regulation.

The battle over the "Waters of the U.S." rule has been brewing for months and will continue both on and off Capitol Hill. The regulation attempts to define Clean Water Act regulations as stretching to bodies of water that have a "significant nexus" with "navigable waters" to prevent pollution of drinking water.

The EPA told various media outlets that the rule asserts the agency's ability to regulate waters connect to those flowing into drinking water supplies, thus enabling regulation of upstream pollutants. The Washington Examiner and several other news outlets that cover the EPA regularly were not informed of the media call or of the release of the new regulation.

Colman also explained that the opposition in Congress runs across party lines as “Republicans and rural Democrats are determined to roll the regulation back because they say agricultural and other interests fear the rule could halt virtually all development near water.” 

In addition, they believe “the regulation would add features that only contain water when it rains and hit streams with limited flow.”

While the networks made no mention of this story, ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir instead touted Hillary Clinton telling a South Carolina audience that her hair would not go white if she became president. 

Over on NBC Nightly News, two topics that received coverage instead were the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night and a Delta pilot ordering pizza for passengers while they were stuck on the tarmac.

The news brief that aired on FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier on May 27 is transcribed below.

FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier
May 27, 2015
6:26 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: EPA Water Regulations]

BRET BAIER: The EPA has issued new rules that it says will protect the nation’s drinking water from pollution. The rules have run into deep opposition from farm groups and the Republican-led Congress. The House voted earlier this month to block the regulations, saying they amount to overreach.

CyberAlerts Regulation Environment Pollution Media Bias Debate Bias by Omission ABC World News CBS CBS Evening News NBC NBC Nightly News Fox News Channel Special Report Video Government & Press environmental protection agency Bret Baier
Curtis Houck's picture