Congressional Action: In 2015, S.J. Res 22 was an NFIB Key Vote in both the Senate and the House. The legislation would have provided relief for small businesses by nullifying this burdensome regulation that will greatly expand federal Clean Water Act of 1972 jurisdiction over small businesses and private land owners. S.J. Res 22 passed the Senate and the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, however, President Obama vetoed the bill and a veto override in the Senate failed to get the necessary 60 votes to end debate.
With the failed veto override, our next best chance to stop WOTUS was through the courts.
Legal Action: In 2015, NFIB, over two dozen states, and countless industry groups sued in courts across the country challenging the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corp of Engineers (the Agencies) for radically expanding their regulatory authority over private property.
There was a temporary court victory on October 9, 2015, when the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals blocked WOTUS from taking effect until the U.S. Supreme Court could resolve the issue.
Executive Order: On February 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order, aimed at eliminating the rule. The Order instructs the Agencies to review the rule and either rescind or revise it; rewrite the definition of “waters of the United States” to a far less expansive description; and instructs the Department of Justice to pause litigation during the review process. This means landowners can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the time-being.
Next Steps: NFIB will be actively engaged in the new regulatory process and continue to fight for small businesses, but we need your help.
NFIB is fighting to stop this regulatory land-grab:
- NFIB Small Business Legal Center filed a lawsuit against EPA and Army Corps of Engineers over the water rule. To view the complaint, click here.
- NFIB supports S. 1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act, which would provide relief for small businesses by sending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers back to the drawing board on its problematic Waters of the United States rule.
- NFIB Key Voted in support of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015, which passed the House by a vote of 261 to 155. This legislation would provide relief for small businesses by sending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Agencies) back to the drawing board on its problematic Waters of the United States rule.
- On May 19th, NFIB Legal Center Elizabeth Milito testified before the Senate Small Business Committee on the impact of the Waters Rule.
- Download NFIB’s comments on the Waters of the U.S. Rule. Part 1 | Part 2.
- NFIB’s Letter on Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act
- NFIB’s Letter on the EPA’s Definition of “Waters of the United States” Under the Clean Water Act Rule
- NFIB’s Letter in Support of HR 2028 the FY2016 Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act
- Download NFIB's letter of support for the Senate bill.
- Download NFIB's Key Vote Letter on S. 1140
- Download NFIB's Key Vote Letter on S.J.Res 22