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Environmental Protection Agency Regulations

Date: January 30, 2014

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 the last Congress. However, it is now attempting 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 stationary sources, like small businesses.

NFIB and the NFIB Small Business Legal Center are an integral part of an industry coalition aggressively challenging these economically devastating regulatory maneuvers in court. Such regulations will substantially increase the cost of energy for all consumers, especially small farms and businesses.

Water Definition - The EPA is aiming to expand 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 could impose federal mandates for water quality levels in these local waters or land uses. What’s most troublesome is that the EPA sent the rule to the White House for review 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.

“The Cow Tax” - EPA released a report two 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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