What Are Small Businesses Saying About The EPA's 'Waters of the U.S.’ Proposed Rule?

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Washington, May 29 | comments

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Today, the Small Business Committee held a hearing titled Will EPA's 'Waters of the United States' Rule Drown Small Businesses? This hearing examined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to broaden the scope of waters subject to federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the agencies to conduct outreach to and assess the impacts of their proposed rules on small businesses and the hearing will explore the agencies’ fulfillment of these responsibilities.

Here are a few responses we received from small business owners on the potential impact of this regulation through our interactive website "Small Biz Open Mic."


As farmers we understand and support practices that result in clean waters; however, extending the reach of the US Army Corp of Engineers to regulate ditches and intermittent streams would have a crippling economic impact for compliance, as well as a drain on our available human resources necessary to comply with new requirements. The imposition of permitting under the Clean Water Act would risk making expensive changes to our farming practices and have the added burden of providing related permitting and reporting, all without improvement to water quality.

Altering our farming practices could very easily become impracticable and unaffordable… Regulations requires time to comply, or stated differently, every regulation detracts resources from sustaining the business; either directly by requiring time from us or financially by draining money for consultants. For this (additional) reason we are opposed to the imposition of this rule.

Thomas Kiefer (Charles Town, WV), May 28, 20124

As a family farm, the proposed changes to the Clean Water Act to regulate water in field tiles and drainage ditches as "Waters of the United States" will greatly impact our ability to produce agricultural products needed to feed our country and provide goods for export. From what we are reading about required permits needed to perform generally accepted agricultural practices and the bureaucracy involved will essentially halt production agriculture and put farmers out of business.

Mary Eickholt (Chesaning, MI), Eickholt Seed Farms, May 28, 2014

Regarding the changes to the clean water act - we don't need ANY further government regulation. We have too much already! The government always overreacts and over regulates and trying to regulate ditches and waterways that flow only when it rains will affect every business and property owner in the United States. Tell them - Enough is Enough!!

Richard Cramer (Knoxville, TN), May 28, 2014

Bureaucracy only ever leads to more bureaucracy to solve the problems the previous generation of bureaucracy introduced. More and more bureaucracy just continues until it stifles anything and everything… Where are we headed if we do not stop unnecessary bureaucracy. Now we are going to require a permit for every (expletive)water puddle? Farmer is the best steward of his land and can make better decisions about it then some bureaucrat. If he ruins his land he ruins his livelihood.

Mark Felling (Maple Grove, MN), May 28, 2014

Clean water act expansion will not affect me at this time but it may in the future as farmers & ranchers have more regulations to deal with that raise prices. The laws are becoming overwhelming…

Jim Brown (Cedarville, CA), JnR Hotel, May 28, 2014

Small businesses, including farms, operating near or in waters subject to CWA jurisdiction may need permits to conduct certain activities relating to those bodies of water. I think the environmental protection agency needs to be redefined, it's far too over reaching, everywhere you turn these days, small business owners are running into brick walls...

Susan Micelli (Deland, FL), May 28, 2014

In my area, the county health department's division on hazardous waste is all over this issue. They monitor pollution in water run-off after heavy rains; they audit local businesses handling of hazardous waste to prevent contamination of water supplies. Put your power grabbing egos aside. Let the states and local governments continue to do what they are already doing in this wise. Leave the Clean Water Act alone; better yet--abolish it and the EPA while you are at it!

Lisa Benedict (Henderson, NV), May 28, 2014

The redefinition of the "Waters of the United States" by the EPA to include virtually all surface water is yet another government overreach that will burden legitimate business with insane regulations and give the government yet another way to target anyone they want. Only in the minds of environmentalist wackos could this action make any sense. I'm just waiting for the EPA to list the earthworm as an endangered species.

Allen Howard (Albany, OR), Calapooia Oaks, May 28, 2014




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Recognizing the importance of entrepreneurs’ feedback in the process of shaping the very policies that will help determine their business sustainability and growth, Chairman Graves launchedSmall Biz Open Micin September of 2011.

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