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Velázquez Emphasizes Importance of Clean Water to Small Firms During WOTUS Hearing

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing examining the impact of the Biden Administration’s proposed rule revising waters of the United States (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) on small businesses. During the hearing, Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke in favor of the proposed rule and discussed the importance of clean water to small businesses across a variety of industries.
“This rule demonstrates a clear middle ground between the 2015 clean water rule, and the 2020 rule. It makes clear that we cannot sacrifice the economy for environmental protection nor sacrifice the environment for economic growth,” said Ranking Member Velázquez. “Nobody here wants small businesses to deal with excessive, burdensome regulations. However, we must recognize that many regulations – especially those safeguarding our waters – serve an essential purpose in protecting families, communities, and entrepreneurs.”
For 50 years, the CWA has safeguarded rivers, streams, and wetlands from pollution and degradation, resulting in billions in healthcare savings and supporting millions of jobs in industries that rely on clean water.  The new rule was crafted with extensive feedback from stakeholders, including small businesses, to restore the protections that were in place prior to 2015 for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, and upstream water sources. During the hearing, entrepreneurs testified on the importance of the protections enshrined in the CWA and the impact the new WOTUS rule would have on their business. 
“Yes, my business suffers and, honestly, my customers suffer, all because some businesses that are nowhere near our coast want to be free of regulations regarding how they handle pollution on their property,” said Rick Baumann, Founder of Murrells Inlet Seafood in Murrells Inlet, SC. “They might want to keep their costs down but those of us along the coast pay the price. These businesses are outsourcing the cost of addressing their pollution issues to me and others in the seafood industry.”


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