The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) recently commended the American Farm Bureau Federation for providing a graphic depicting the extent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s reach over Pennsylvania landowners under the redefined Waters of the United States (WOTUS) act.
Using Somerset County, Pennsylvania as an example, the farm bureau detailed what the NFIB refers to as a "land grab" in a PowerPoint presentation map.
“The Farm Bureau survey shows the extent of control that [the] agency appears to have granted itself through recent regulatory changes to the Clean Water Act,” the NFIB said. “This land grab has the potential to severely affect farm businesses, contractors, construction companies and others who work with the land, dig or build.”
The NFIB said that by expanding the definition of “navigable waters” under the Clean Water Act, the EPA has overstepped its bounds and circumvented Congress’ power. Now, it says, any alterations in seasonal springs, ponds, ditches and other land features may be required to obtain a federal permit, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially incurring tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
Although a federal judge placed an injunction on waters in 11 different states last week, Pennsylvania was not among them. NFIB warns small business owners to stay alert and consult with legal counsel prior to any developing, dredging or other work in wetland areas.
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