West Virginia Is Focus Of Debate Over Clean Water Act
Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to drop its appeal of an
October 2013 Federal court ruling in favor a West Virginia farmer. EPA
unsuccessfully tried to make the case that it has the power to regulate
stormwater runoff from livestock or poultry farms, claiming the Clean Water Act
allows it to make rules regarding “concentrated animal feeding operations.” The
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia ruled otherwise.
Following last week’s announcement, American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman
said, “EPA knows its effort to regulate perfectly well-run farms cannot
withstand legal scrutiny, and the agency doesn’t quite know how to deal with
Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed legislation that
explicitly prohibits the EPA from further expanding its authority under the
Clean Water Act to cover anything but lakes, rivers and streams. That bill was
sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland of Florida.
Why This Matters For Small Business.
While the ruling the EPA had been
appealing dealt with farms, had the agency been victorious, there is little
doubt that other types of small businesses would have come under the regulatory
microscope regarding their treatment of storm water. And the American Farm
Bureau is warning that the EPA will continue its attempts to broaden the scope
of its oversight even after being dealt a defeat in the courts.
In an op-ed for The Hill, Sen. David Vitter, Republican of
Louisiana, who has joined with Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, to
introduce the Regulatory Fairness Act of 2014, says there is bipartisan support
for prohibiting the EPA “from preemptively or retroactively vetoing Clean Water
Act permits without just cause.”
The American Farm Bureau drew attention to the
EPA’s decision not pursue its case against the West Virginia farmer with fines
as high as $37,000 a day, and the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail covered the House
passage of the bill aimed at limiting the EPA’s power to regulate American
Small business owners are rightly concerned about the broad effect the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations are having on their bottom lines. Find NFIB policy updates and analysis to understand what matters to small businesses nationally and on the state level.
This news article is intended to keep small business owners apprised of current events that may affect them. It does not necessarily reflect NFIB’s policy position on such issues.