The Small Business Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), today conducted a hearing about how small businesses would be affected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and United States Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed rule to expand the Clean Water Act.
Last week, Graves and Members of the Committee wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, who oversees the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to urge withdrawal of the pending rule. Among the witnesses’ and Members’ concerns, the EPA and Corps of Engineers did not adequately assess the impact of their proposed rule on small businesses, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).
“This EPA ‘Waters of the United States’ proposed rule is a classic example of regulatory overreach,” said Chairman Graves. “This rule will impose significant additional costs and burdens on small businesses to comply with Clean Water Act requirements for thousands of small streams, ditches, ponds, and other isolated waters, some of which may have little or no connection to traditionally navigable waters that the Act was designed to protect. This is a power grab that cannot be justified. It demonstrates the lengths to which the Obama Administration will bend its interpretation of the law and ignore the limits placed on it by Congress, the Supreme Court and the Constitution, to achieve its big government objectives.”
Materials from the hearing are available on the Committee’s website HERE.
Tom Woods, Owner of Woods Custom Homes in Blue Springs, MO and testifying on behalf of National Association of Home Builders said, “This proposed rule will have a significant impact on small businesses nationwide, an important notion that the agencies choose to ignore. I am at a loss as to why the agencies refuse to give small businesses a seat at the table to discuss these impacts. I request that the agencies start over and develop a more meaningful and balanced rule that respects the spirit of the RFA.”
Jack Field, Owner of Lazy JF Cattle Co. in Yakima, WA, and testifying on behalf of the National Cattleman's Beef Association said, “As a producer and the head of a state association, I can tell you that after reading the proposed rule it has the potential to impact every aspect of my operation and others like it by dictating land use activities in Washington state from 2,687 miles away. I would also feel confident in saying that I believe it will actually have a detrimental impact on water quality.”
Alan Parks, Vice President of Memphis Stone and Gravel Co. in Memphis, TN, and testifying on behalf of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association said, “The proposed rule has no clear line on what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out,’ making it very difficult for our industry and other businesses to plan new projects and make hiring decisions. If it is determined development of a site will take too long or cost too much in permitting or mitigation, we won’t move forward. That means a whole host of economic activity in a community will not occur--all of this in the name of protecting a ditch or farm pond.”