October 6, 2014

Office of Advocacy on “Waters of the United States” RegFlex Compliance: “The Proposed Rule Has Been Certified in Error”

Editor’s Note: The complete letter from SBA’s Office of Advocacy to EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers is available here. Below are three brief excerpts.

Advocacy believes that EPA and the Corps have improperly certified the proposed rule under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) because it would have direct, significant effects on small businesses. Advocacy recommends that the agencies withdraw the rule and that the EPA conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review panel before proceeding any further with this rulemaking. 

Under Section 609(b) of the RFA, EPA is required to conduct small business advocacy review panels, often referred to as SBREFA panels, when it is unable to certify that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small businesses. SBREFA panels consist of representatives of the rulemaking agency, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and the Chief Counsel for Advocacy. SBREFA panels give small entity representatives (SERs) a chance to understand an upcoming proposed rule and provide meaningful input to help the agency comply with the RFA. SERs help the panel understand the ramifications of the proposed rule and significant alternatives to it. 

The Proposed Rule Has Been Certified in Error

 Advocacy believes that the agencies have improperly certified this rule. Advocacy, and the small businesses we have spoken to, believe that

  • The agencies used an incorrect baseline for determining their obligations under the RFA;
  • The rule imposes costs directly on small businesses; and
  • The rule will have a significant economic impact on small businesses.

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