Approved Rule Would Cost Small Businesses Big
Washington, DC (June 10,
2015) –The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today approved S.
1140, the Federal Water Quality Protection Act. The National Federation for
Independent Business endorses this legislation, which rolls back a recently
approved Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers rule that
expands the jurisdiction of the Clean Waters Act.
“Small businesses are worried that the new EPA waters of the
U.S. rule will have a paralyzing effect on their business,” said Amanda
Austin, NFIB Vice President of Public Policy. “We want to thank Sen.
Barrasso for introducing this bill and thank Sen. Inhofe for moving it forward
today. Under the new rule, small businesses just don’t know whether the Clean
Water Act applies to their land. This regulatory uncertainty makes it more
difficult for small businesses to develop their land and grow.”
Small businesses are concerned that the rule could lead to
expensive permits, fees and fines in order to comply. The average cost of a
Clean Water Act permit is $270,000 and daily fines for violations can reach up
to $37,500. Few small businesses could afford to expand operations if subjected
to the federal requirements. Under the rule, federal authority could extend to
ditches, ponds and streambeds that are dry most of the time.
The House of Representatives passed similar legislation on
May 11—H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act. The NFIB made
consideration of that bill a key vote. Two dozen Democrats and every single
Republican in the House voted for passage.