Environmental Protection Agency Regulations

Date: January 30, 2014 Last Edit: February 26, 2016

Overzealous regulation by the EPA is jeopardizing the ability of small farmers and ranchers to make a living. NFIB and the NFIB Small Business Legal Center are on the front lines of the regulatory debate; advocating for flexible alternatives to help make small farms more viable.

Cap and Trade by Regulation

The Obama Administration was unable to get a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade bill through Congress. However, it has attempted  to bypass Congress to implement regulations under the Clean Air Act. Using a court order granting the EPA authority to regulate emissions from motor vehicles, the EPA quickly issued rules expanding that authority to cover coal-fired power plants. This regulation threatens substantial increases in electricity prices for small business

NFIB and the NFIB Small Business Legal Center are an integral part of an industry coalition aggressively challenging this regulation. NFIB’s Legal Center was successful in getting the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a ruling preventing the EPA from enforcing the rule until federal courts rule whether or not the rule is legal.

Water Definition

The EPA expanded the definition of U.S. waters that are “navigable” – in some cases, to even small depressions or farm ponds that do not impair the flow of rivers. Despite state jurisdiction, this rule will impose federal mandates for water quality levels in these local waters or land uses. What’s most troublesome is that the EPA issued the rule without doing required Regulatory Flexibility Act processes. EPA claims that the rule will have no significant impact on small businesses even though the rule will clearly restrict the ability of small businesses to expand or develop their land and decrease land value.

NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center has challenged the regulation in federal court. For more information on the rule and NFIB’s lawsuit, visit  www.nfib.com/waters.

“The Cow Tax”

EPA released a report several years ago on how it could regulate additional sources of air pollution, including methane attributed to livestock. The controversial report included a new government mandate requiring farms or ranches with more than 250 cows, 50 beef cattle or 200 hogs to pay an annual fee:

  • $175 - for each dairy cow
  • $87.50 - for each head of beef cattle
  • $20 - for each hog

NFIB vigorously supported legislative measures that were successfully passed during the 111th Congress to prevent such regulation. Moving forward, we will continue to seek and support similar legislative efforts in the current Congress.

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