In response to two recent federal court rulings that will delay enforcement of the EPA’s Waters of the US rule, the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) released a statement expressing its concerns. ASBC has a membership network spanning 200,000 businesses across the country. The following may be attributed to Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy for ASBC:
"Businesses have been calling for clear protections for clean water for years, and these rulings mean they will have to wait even longer. A scientific poll last year found that 80 percent of small business owners nationwide supported the EPA's rule. While neither decision suggests that the rule violates the EPA's authority under the Clean Water Act, this delay is not good news for industries and businesses that rely on clean water to succeed.
"Even businesses that don't rely on clean water can be hurt when communities lose access to it, slowing consumer demand and potentially eliminating millions in revenue from the local economy. The idea that protecting clean water is an economic burden doesn't match with the
"The Waters of the US Rule will ensure that this crucial resource is protected, giving businesses more certainty to operate and expand, even as it continues to offer reasonable exemptions to the agricultural sector and does not extend the EPA's authority over waterways. The courts should allow this rule to move forward as soon as possible."
On Tuesday, a federal judicial panel ruled that 13 separate state lawsuits, which had been granted a temporary injunction, may not be combined as requested by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Last week, a federal appeals court issued a ruling delaying national enforcement of the rule, until that court makes decisions on a separate lawsuit. These decisions mean a longer wait for enforcement of the Waters of the US Rule, which guarantees pollution protections for tens of millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of streams all across the United States.
ASBC had previously sent a letter to 13 State Attorneys General, asking them to pull their lawsuit and asserting that their actions will put their states’ economies in jeopardy. The full text of the letter may be found here: http://bit.ly/ASBC_CleanWater_AG_Letter