The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed a Clean Water Act rule change known as “waters of the U.S.” The proposed rule would allow for a broader interpretation of the Clean Water Act, giving the EPA regulatory jurisdiction over a variety of waterways and water sources, many of which are not considered navigable waterways. This rule could result in EPA asserting jurisdiction over ditches, farm and golf course ponds. Lengthy and costly permitting processes could become commonplace for landscape and nursery businesses.
What does this mean for your business? It could potentially mean that chemical applications, ground disturbances (planting included) and many other normal business activities could require permitting and further, could be subject to EPA oversight. AmericanHort is a strong supporter of environmentally responsible business and land use practices. However, this proposed ruling is seen as a regulatory overreach that could pose a significant challenge to nursery and landscape business operations across the country.
Legislation to address this issue (H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act), passed the House of Representatives in September. Thanks to all who wrote letters to support this issue campaign. Unfortunately, the outlook is not favorable for action in the Senate this year.
With the EPA comment deadline just weeks away, now is a good time to let your state’s Governor know that this rule is a problem for your business and your state. Urge your Governor to ask EPA to withdraw its “Waters of the U.S.” rule.