NFIB is taking a hard stand against the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule to protect small businesses from expensive and unnecessary regulatory burdens.
The Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took a firmer stand against small business owners by finalizing the Clean Water Rule, putting undue and expensive burdens on Americans now facing compliance.
The new ruling includes language that expands EPA regulations to nearly every waterway, even areas that only hold water for a few months of the year. The rule seeks to more clearly define “navigable waters,” but now includes small streams and ponds without studying the impact of the new regulations on small business.
“This rule defines the waters of the United States so expansively that the federal government could apply the decades-old Clean Water Act to creeks, small ponds and even streambeds that are dry much of the year,” NFIB/Virginia State Director Nicole Riley wrote in an op-ed piece for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The Clean Water Act was supposed to govern navigable waterways, not every place where water could possibly flow or pool.”
NFIB, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and several states and industry associations, introduced a lawsuit against the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps over the ruling in early July to fight the new ruling. The lawsuit alleges the EPA has overstepped its authority and NFIB members will economically suffer as a result of unnecessary regulations.
More than 90 percent of businesses in Virginia are small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration. Most new jobs in the state come from small businesses that already face significant challenges growing due to limited resources, and placing more significant hurdles like unnecessary and unprecedented environmental regulations will harm economic development and job growth.
“We all want small businesses to grow and thrive,” Riley wrote. “Small businesses employ half of all Americans, but it is regulations like this waters rule that make it hard for more people to find a job.”
The EPA maintains that the rule is necessary to protect clean drinking water for Americans, but has failed to conduct an impact analysis on the small business community for its high penalties.