Graves Alerts Small Businesses to Another EPA Power Grab

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Washington, Apr 23 | comments
House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today added a new proposed rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to the Committee’s digital resource, Small Biz Reg Watch. The proposed rule broadens the scope of waters subject to the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act (CWA), which has many small business owners and family farmers concerned. 

The EPA and the Corps are proposing to revise the definition of “waters of the United States” which are those waters subject to the requirements of the CWA. The proposed rule, as currently drafted, will lead to an unprecedented expansion of federal regulatory jurisdiction. Under this expansive proposed rule, all tributaries – even small streams that only flow irregularly or when it rains – and all adjacent waters and wetlands, fall under this definition as federally-controlled waters. This includes small, temporary bodies of water, such as ditches, that may be dry for much of the year. In addition, the agencies could assert CWA jurisdiction over “other waters” on a case-by-case basis.

“The EPA and Corps are proposing to expand the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act to include nearly every damp patch of land in the United States,” said Chairman Graves. “This regulatory overreach means small businesses and landowners may need costly permits and face lengthy delays for ordinary activities on private property. Projects may need to be redesigned or relocated to satisfy federal regulators. Worse, permit applications may be denied. This extraordinary intrusion into the lives of many farmers, ranchers and small business owners has the likely potential to be economically devastating and must be stopped.”

Through the "Small Biz Reg Watch" initiative, the Committee regularly highlights new agency proposed rules that may have a significant effect on small businesses. The Committee also communicates with small businesses via email and social media when new comment periods begin for select proposed rules that have a significant impact on a wide array of small businesses. The Committee recently changed and upgraded the Reg Watch format to better serve small businesses. That updated website URL is: http://smallbusiness.house.gov/resources/reg-watch.htm.

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