Under the SAB’s authorizing statute, the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978, the SAB "may make available to the Administrator, within the time specified by the Administrator, its advice and comments on the adequacy of the scientific and technical basis” of proposed rules. On March 25, 2014, the EPA released a proposed rule entitled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act." The proposed rule was published on April 21, 2014 (79 R 22188-22274).
In public teleconferences about the SAB's Fall 2012 Unified (Regulatory) Agenda and their Supporting Science, the SAB discussed the agency’s intent to propose the rule and its plan to use the EPA’s 2013 draft report, "Connectivity of Streams and Wetlands to Downstream Waters: A Review and Synthesis of the Scientific Evidence," to inform determinations in the rule. In those discussions and in the report resulting from them, the chartered SAB highlighted the importance of this planned rulemaking and the importance of providing SAB advice and comment on the adequacy of the supporting science.