NCBA Weekly Newsletter
Senate Examines EPA's Unfunded Mandates
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight held a hearing entitled, "Oversight of EPA Unfunded Mandates on State, Local, and Tribal Governments." Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) opened the hearing stressing that as the committee's oversight has exposed, the EPA has continued in a pattern of evading requirements in law that are meant to serve as a check on the EPA's regulatory overreach. Further, of all the problems farmers and ranchers are facing, overregulation is by far the worst.
"Of all of the over regulations by the EPA, [farmers and ranchers] say that the WOTUS scares them the most, because you don't know," said Senator Inhofe. "They have different people out there making their decisions as to what is a bar ditch, what is something that only has temporary water after a storm. This is what I'm concerned about."
Christian Leinbach, Chairman of the Berks County Board of Commissioners in Pennsylvania, and representing the National Association of Counties was also concerned with the increasing cost to his county and other local governments by EPA's refusal to consult before promulgating federal regulation. He stated his county was forced to choose between cutting services, such as police and fire services, and increasing taxes to comply with federal regulation like the Clean Water Act.
"Federal agencies have been issuing an increasing number of regulations in recent years. In 2015, only 114 laws were enacted by Congress, compared to 3,140 rules that were issued by federal agencies. According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, unfunded mandates from federal rules and regulations cost local governments, our citizens and businesses between $57 billion and $85 billion a year," Leinbach expressed in his written testimony. "When the true cost of implementing federal regulations is shifted to local governments, it can create budgetary imbalances that may require cuts to other critical local services like fire protection, law enforcement, emergency response, education and infrastructure or increases in local taxes and fees to make up the difference. Ultimately, it is our residents and local communities that shoulder the increased cost of federal mandates."
EPA's unchecked regulatory footprint is hampering businesses of all sizes. With WOTUS as a leading problematic regulation, NCBA urges Congress to act immediately while also continuing to fight the rule through the courts.
Scott Yager, NCBA Environmental Counsel, talks about the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure rule and the impact it would have on on-farm fuel and feed ingredient storage.
There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.