Small businesses, led by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), are continuing their legal battle against the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on the Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The NFIB filed two amicus briefs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concerning the WOTUS rule, urging the court to grant a preliminary injunction.
The cases, Commonwealth of Kentucky v. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, et al. v. EPA, center on the EPA’s final ruling and its potential impact on small businesses.
“The final WOTUS rule will be disastrous for small farmers, ranchers, developers, and other small businesses,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “The rule expands the definition of WOTUS, which will ultimately raise compliance costs and increase uncertainty for small business owners doing their best to avoid sanctions.”
The WOTUS rule, if enforced, would expand the definition of the waters covered by the EPA, a move that critics argue would increase regulatory burdens on small businesses. They contend that the new definition could lead to increased costs and uncertainty for small businesses, potentially affecting sectors as diverse as farming, ranching, and real estate development.
A preliminary injunction, if granted, would temporarily halt the enforcement of the rule, providing some relief to small businesses. This fight is part of NFIB’s broader efforts to protect the rights of small business owners. The organization has previously filed an amicus brief in the case Sackett v. EPA at the U.S. Supreme Court and supported U.S. Congressional efforts in disapproving the final WOTUS rule. However, these efforts were thwarted when President Biden vetoed the disapproval.
The continuing legal battles underscore the importance of regulatory awareness for small businesses. Changes in rules, such as the WOTUS definition, can significantly impact operating costs and compliance requirements. Small business owners must stay vigilant and informed about these regulatory changes to navigate their potential effects effectively.
While the outcome of the legal fight against the WOTUS rule is still uncertain, it highlights the ongoing challenges small businesses face in managing regulatory changes. As this battle continues, small businesses nationwide will watch closely, their future operations potentially hinging on the court’s decisions.
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