Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Date: August 03, 2015 Last Edit: February 26, 2016

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Small business owners are rightly concerned about broad effect the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations are having on their bottom lines. From farms to construction companies, the EPA’s reach is extending further into the operations of small business owners. In fact, a 2010 Small Business Administration study found that small businesses spend an average of 364 percent more per employee annually that larger firms. At a time when America is hoping for strong job growth to get our economy rolling again, the EPA needs to avoid saddling small business owners with overly-burdensome regulations.

Definition of Waters of the U.S. Under the Clean Water Act

Final Rule Issued in May 2015

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 proposed 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. For more information on this rule, please visit www.nfib.com/waters.

Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule for Public and Commercial Buildings

Proposed Rule Expected in 2016

Following on its problematic Lead: RRP rule covering residential housing, the EPA is poised to expand the rule to cover commercial buildings. While the goal of the rule – protecting people from exposure to lead dust – is laudable, EPA has not yet issued a study or identified data that shows if lead dust from these buildings impact surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, EPA appears intent on adapting its residential rule for commercial buildings. NFIB is concerned about his approach because the residential rule is punitive mostly to companies that try to comply. About 35 percent of small employers, who operate their business outside of their house, own all or part of the building or land on which their business is located. These small businesses face higher costs as well.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions; New and Existing Power Plants

Final Rules Issued August 2015

EPA has finalized new rules that impose on states harsh carbon limits for electricity production that will force them to close down the coal-powered generators that now provide the vast bulk of America’s power. EPA will require the states to increase the percentage of power they generate from alternative sources, like wind and solar, which are far weaker and more expensive. NFIB is concerned about the rules’ impact on affordable electricity, one of the most important costs a small business owner faces. NFIB submitted Comments to the EPA regarding standards of performance for greenhouse gas emissions from new plants. NFIB also submitted Comments to the EPA regarding their proposed rule to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from existing coal and natural gas-fired power plants.

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