Op-Ed: EPA needs oversight, not free pass on waterways regulation
Recently, the Mirror published an op-ed calling on Connecticut’s legislative delegation to reject H.R. 5078, the Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014. As someone who represents the small businesses impacted by our runaway regulatory machine – I could not disagree more.
This legislation provides a much needed check to the ever-expanding reach of the EPA and the federal government. Congress wrote the Clean Water Act with an explicit purpose, however the EPA has chosen to act outside of Congressional intent in order to expand the Agency’s power beyond anything the law ever intended.
Claiming that the EPA’s power grab is an issue of ensuring clean water is incredibly disingenuous. Small businesses want and need clean water for their businesses. This regulation is attempting to bring such notable “waterways” as farmers’ ponds, seasonal streams and even temporary bodies of water that most would call puddles under EPA jurisdiction.
This means that the EPA’s proposed regulation that vastly expands federal jurisdiction would create uncertainty over what small businesses can do with their land. If the federal government is granted jurisdiction over this land, expanding or modifying existing facilities would be subject to permitting — resulting in lengthy delays and substantial costs.
The proposed rule does nothing to clarify the definition of waterways and instead increases uncertainty over which waters are covered by requiring most waterways to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, the EPA failed to follow the basic regulatory process and did not consider the impact on small businesses as required by law. This is a bad idea that is a dud at every level.
I applaud the House for passing H.R. 5078 Tuesday and thank those members who recognized the need to stop the EPA from exerting authority beyond what Congress intended.
Andrew Markowski is the Connecticut director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
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