Some In Congress Working To Block EPA Water Rule

Date: September 18, 2015

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Senator Proposes Measure To Overturn EPA Authority Over Streams, Wetlands

On Thursday a group of 46 Senators led by Iowa Republican Joni Ernst put forth a resolution to overturn the EPA’s Waters of the United States rule by noting “Congressional disapproval” of it. In a statement reported in The Hill, Ernst said, “This ill-conceived rule ignores the thoughtful comments and serious concerns raised by farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and small businesses across the county. Furthermore, its expanded definition causes confusion, uncertainty and unnecessary red tape. Simply put, this one size fits all method is the wrong approach that puts our agriculture community at a disadvantage.” The Waters of the United States rule, first finalized in May and implemented in August, has been blocked in 13 states by a federal judge in North Dakota while “legal challenges are being worked through.” The White House has argued the measure is needed in order to “clarify protections under the Clean Water Act for headwaters, ponds, small streams, wetlands and other small bodies of water.”

What Happens Next

The Hill notes that for the Senate resolution against the rule to be successful, the House would have to pass a similar resolution of disapproval, and President Obama would have to sign off on it. This is “an unlikely scenario, given the high stakes of the regulation.” For now, full implementation of the regulation depends on the court battle between the EPA and the 13 states challenging the rule.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The EPA’s Waters of the United States rule is an example of anti-business federal oversight. Small businesses don’t need more government interference in how they conduct operations, and adding complexities to existing regulations only further increases the burden for small business owners by adding to paperwork and filing processes. Additionally, this rule is a dangerous encroachment of property rights for individuals and small businesses, as it increases federal jurisdiction over property.

Additional Reading

Sunshine State News also notes the Senate resolution. NFIB previously noted the harm the WOTUS rule would cause for small businesses. To learn more about NFIB’s efforts to fight the
rule, visit

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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