WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Environment, Technology, & Regulatory Affairs William Kovacs issued the following statement today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Water Rule, which was originally referred to as “Waters of the United States”:
“Over the last 13 months, it has become clear that the EPA’s proposed rule would significantly broaden federal regulatory jurisdiction over private activities on land and in waterways, wetlands and drainage ditches, and fundamentally change the scope and extent of long-standing state delegated Clean Water Act programs. Since issuing the proposed rule for public comment in April 2014, the agencies have somehow maintained that the proposal will have no significant regulatory or economic impact, and in fact the agency is simply ‘clarifying’ the current state of federal jurisdiction over waters. Such statements fly in the face reality.
“Despite appeals from constituents and lawmakers across the country; countless business owners, farmers and industry leaders; and the Small Business Administration, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers failed to conduct any meaningful regulatory or economic impact analyses prior to issuing a final rule that redefines ‘waters of the U.S.’ Additionally, by expanding federal jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Water Rule could significantly impact a portion of our economy by slowing or stopping numerous projects across the nation.
“The Chamber filed lengthy public comments identifying exactly how the proposal could affect businesses of all sizes, including local municipalities, and requested the agencies convene a small business review panel to study and evaluate those impacts. Numerous state, local and business stakeholders and the Small Business Administration (twice) echoed that request, to no avail. The agencies’ failure to consider these impacts renders the rulemaking procedure fundamentally flawed.
“The Chamber is reviewing the substance of the final rule and evaluating the best options available to prevent this flawed rule from negatively affecting our nation’s economy.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.