The Florida Chamber Applauds Attorney General and
Agriculture Commissioner for Taking Legal Action to
Stop the Federal Government’s Waters of the U.S. Rule
The Florida Chamber of Commerce today applauds Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for standing up for economic development, small businesses and Florida’s environment by joining a multi-state lawsuit to block the federal government’s unscientific and newly expanded job killing water rule.
“The EPA’s finalized rule is a massive government overreach that threatens small businesses and private land owners, and goes far beyond efforts needed to protect our nation’s natural resources,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The EPA went too far, too fast, rather than heeding the public’s calls to reevaluate its misguided rulemaking.”
Florida has some of the toughest environmental protections in the nation and the federal government’s action threatens to undermine them. Under the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers’ finalized Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, ditches with only ephemeral or intermittent flow may fall under the federal government’s jurisdiction. Also, for the first time ever, the federal rule expressly authorizes EPA and the Corps to assert jurisdiction over marginal surface waters based on mere proximity to navigable waters or partial location within a 100-year floodplain.
“Clean water and environmental protection issues are critical in our state and Florida is better suited than the federal government to establish the regulatory rules necessary to protect our unique waterways. We cannot allow Floridians to bear the brunt of these types of costly and burdensome federal regulations, which would have a significant negative impact on local government, businesses and households all across our state,” said Attorney General Bondi.
Previous EPA efforts to impose burdensome, non-scientific water rules on Florida have been rebuffed by federal courts. With support from the Florida Chamber, Florida’s tough, scientifically-backed water regulations are now guarding our state’s waterways from excess nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
Clean water is a priority for families and small businesses across Florida. Job creators rely on this natural resource to help provide products and services to their customers. For Florida’s farmers, home builders, retailers, building material manufacturers, transportation industry and other businesses, clean water is an economic necessity. That’s why the Florida Chamber supports Florida’s science-based environmental regulations and opposes EPA efforts to interject unneeded federal bureaucracy. Furthermore, as Floridians we care about water because of the unique quality of life it provides.
“The unconstitutional expansion of the EPA’s jurisdiction over the waters of the United States not only infringes on states’ authority, but also it threatens the sound environmental protection programs we have in place today,” Commissioner Putnam said.
The Florida Chamber believes the federal government should take a page out of Florida’s playbook – following the lead of elected leaders like House Speaker Steve Crisafulli – which is doing more to protect our environment than simply issuing mandates.
In addition to applauding General Bondi and Commissioner Putnam for their efforts to stop the federal WOTUS rule, the Florida Chamber also thanks members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation for their support of H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 providing relief for small businesses of WOTUS. This Act would require EPA and the Corps to withdraw this controversial rulemaking and instead pursue a commonsense process involving the states and local stakeholders. Representatives voting in support of H.R. 1732 included: Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Curt Clawson, Ander Crenshaw, Carlos Curbelo, Ron DeSantis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Gwen Graham, David Jolly, John Mica, Jeff Miller, Rich Nugent, Bill Posey, Tom Rooney, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Dennis Ross, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho.
Visit our Water Issue Page to learn more about the Florida Chamber’s position on water.