NFIB Urges Bipartisan Vote to Override Veto on WOTUS

Date: January 21, 2016

Washington, DC (January 21, 2016) – The US Senate is expected to try
later today to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would repeal his
massive water regulation and while it’s easy to get caught up in the politics,
members on both sides should worry first about the small businesses back home,
said the National Federation of
Independent Business (NFIB)
.

“The
question for every senator should be whether it makes economic sense or, for
that matter, sound environmental sense, to allow the federal government to take
control over local land use decisions in their states,” said Dan Bosch, NFIB Sr. Manager of Regulatory Policy.  “Once this takes effect, federal regulators
will have the power to block local economic development and scoring political
points today won’t save single job back home.”

The
House last week voted on a measure that passed the Senate earlier to repeal the
Waters of the US (WOTUS) rule, which gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
unprecedented and unpredictable authority over local waters, including ponds,
streams and even dry creek beds.  The
regulation is a massive expansion of the federal Clean Water Act, adopted in
the 1970s, that allowed the EPA to regulate navigable waterways like rivers,
lakes and bays. 

The
Waters rule is currently tied up in the courts. 
A federal judge last summer blocked implementation until the Supreme
Court can settle the matter.  NFIB and
other groups are plaintiffs in the case.

“Whether
you can expand your parking lot or install a fence around your property should
not be decided by bureaucrats in Washington,” said Bosch.  “State and local agencies are perfectly able
to make those decisions and they are much likelier to strike a balance between
environmental protection and economic development.”

If
WOTUS survives, local businesses and property owners will have to seek federal
permission to undertake even the smallest projects that might affect
water.  Getting a permit could cost tens
of thousands of dollars and take months, if not years.  Even higher are the penalties for failing to
get a permit, which can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The
cost of a permit is enough to kill a project before it gets off the ground and
the cost of a lawsuit is enough to destroy a small business,” said Bosch.  “Whatever your politics, this doesn’t make
sense for the states and we would urge every member of the Senate to think
about how this will affect your local economy.”

For
more information about NFIB please visit www.nfib.com.

 

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