The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw a proposed rule clarifying the definition of "waters" of the United States.
Construction groups have complained that the proposal, published in the April 21, 2014, Federal Register, expands the scope of the waters requiring a Clean Water Act permit for dredging and filling.
In an Oct. 1 letter, the SBA advocacy office said that the proposed rule will have a "direct, significant effect on small businesses." It said the EPA and the Corps should withdraw the proposal until EPA can conduct a small- business advocacy review panel to assess the proposal's potential impact on small firms.
However, EPA says the proposal is a "definition that creates no new requirements for businesses or any others" and that it and the Corps have met the requirements of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act.
Before it published the proposed regulation, the EPA held a roundtable meeting with the SBA and small firms. In a statement, the EPA said it plans to hold a second meeting "to ensure that the final rule protects clean water and jobs without creating regulatory burdens."
EPA also said on Oct. 6 that it is extending the deadline for comments on the proposed water rule to Nov. 14, from Oct. 20.