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House Panel Says ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Proposal is Burdensome to Small Business

House Panel Says ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Proposal is Burdensome to Small Business

By Amena H. Saiyid, Bloomberg Government

The House Small Business Committee April 23 added the recently proposed rule that would clarify Clean Water Act jurisdiction over the nation's waters and wetlands to its website alerting small businesses to burdensome federal regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly proposed a rule April 21 that would bring under federal jurisdiction all tributaries of streams, lakes, ponds and impoundments, as well as wetlands that affect the chemical, physical and biological integrity of larger, navigable downstream waters. The agencies are accepting comment on the proposed rule until July 21 (79 Fed. Reg. 2,218; 77 DER A-13, 4/22/14).

“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,” Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said in a statement.

Graves termed the proposed rule a “regulatory overreach,” saying this “means small businesses and landowners may need costly permits and face lengthy delays for ordinary activities on private property.”

Small Biz Reg Watch Website

The committee started the regulatory alert website, Small Biz Reg Watch, in February 2013 to inform small businesses of pending environmental and other federal regulations and provide them with a direct link for submitting comments to the committee on such rules (23 DER A-22, 2/4/13).

Since the inception of the Website, the focus has expanded from six to 23 regulations open for comment, including the EPA's regulations for greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture worker protection from pesticides and standards for new residential wood heaters.