The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship continued its oversight of the controversial “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) regulation April 27, holding a hearing on how small businesses were left out of the rulemaking process as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). At the hearing, members of the committee heard from stakeholders, who expressed concern about the onslaught of new regulations from the Obama administration and the detrimental impact they have on small businesses.

Ahead of the hearing, ABC thanked the committee for its attention to the issue and voiced its support for policies requiring federal agencies to examine economic impacts of proposed rules on small businesses. On the WOTUS regulation in particular, ABC explained that the regulation harms small business owners in the construction industry because it creates uncertainty over what waterways will become subject to federal jurisdiction. This lack of clarity will, in turn, lead to an unnecessarily longer and more expensive permitting process for contractors, which substantially increases the cost of doing business.

The hearing comes after a Senate vote April 21 on Sen.Hoeven’s (R-N.D. amendment to the FY2017 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, which would have prohibited funding for developing, implementing, or enforcing the WOTUS regulation in any fiscal year. While it was supported by a bipartisan group of Senators in a 56-42 vote, it failed to meet the 60-vote threshold required for passage. ABC sent a letter ahead of the vote urging Senators to support the amendment, which was considered a Key Vote on ABC’s 114th Congressional Scorecard

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals placed a nationwide stay on the WOTUS rule Oct. 9. The final rule is being challenged on the grounds that the federal agencies went further than the statute permits.
For the latest developments on the WOTUS regulation, check back to Newsline