NFIB Asks Congress to Stop Massive Federal Overreach
Agencies Move to Greatly Expand Federal Authority Over Private Property
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8,
2014 — The National Federation of Independent
Business (NFIB) sent letters to a U.S. Senator and the House Appropriations
Committee today thanking them for efforts to stop the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from greatly expanding
federal authority over private property and dramatically changing definitions
in the Clean Water Act.
The agencies are attempting to change the definition of waters of the United States in such a way that will vastly expand the federal government’s authority over private landowners, including small businesses. Under this proposal, land formations that only fill and hold water during heavy rain would be regulated if the agencies determine they would affect the quality of downstream navigable waters.
Senator Barrasso introduced S. 2496, the Protecting Water and Property Rights Act of 2014, which would stop the agencies from moving forward with the proposed rule. In addition, the House Appropriations Committee has included language to prevent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from using federal funds to develop, adopt, implement, administer, or enforce any change to the definition of waters under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.
“Congress provided a directive when they crafted the Clean Water Act,” said NFIB Manager of Regulatory Policy Dan Bosch. “In no way does the law provide the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction over every drop of water that might eventually end up in a navigable water. These agencies are sidestepping congressional authority and bypassing the necessary rulemaking process to bring seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, depressions in fields, and large puddles into federal jurisdiction.
“The end result of this overreach would disproportionately impact small businesses as Clean Water Act permits can cost tens of thousands of dollars and lead to lengthy project delays. The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers should follow the normal rulemaking process and demonstrate that this would not have a significant economic impact on small business – as mandated by Congress and required by law.”
NFIB is the nation’s leading small business advocacy association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 to give small-business owners a voice in public policy-making, NFIB’s policy positions are set by its 350,000 business-owner members, who send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through NFIB’s unique member-only ballot. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at www.NFIB.com/news.