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South Carolina Small Business Leader Tells Senate Committee How Clean Water Regulations Help Business

For Immediate Release: 
April 27, 2016
Contact Info
Bob Keener

WASHINGTON, DC (April 27, 2016)—Today, in testimony before the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Frank Knapp, Jr., President and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said that clean water regulations help business and the economy. Knapp, who is also co-chair of the Board of Directors for the American Sustainable Business Council, proposed key ideas for improving the regulatory process, which he sees as under-funded.

He said, “In conclusion, the current regulation promulgating process can produce good rules while protecting small businesses from unnecessary burdens if we provide the adequate resources for agencies to expeditiously carry out the requirements Congress has already put in place on the front end and back end of the process.”

About the value of clean water regulations, Knapp said, “Let’s start with clean water. Everyone in this room wants it. Small business owners want it and they understand that the way we protect it is through regulations. Regulations aren’t put in place to punish some businesses but to protect all of them and the public from the behavior of some that can negatively impact everyone else. 

“Ask the small businesses of Charleston, West Virginia, what happened to them after the 2014 chemical spill in the Elk River that shut down their water supply and their businesses costing the local economy $19 million a day. Ask the small business owners in Wisconsin along Six Mile Creek and Lake Mendota what happened when 300,000 gallons of manure spilled in 2013 contributing to algae blooms, unpleasant odors and bacteria-tainted water that forced beach closings,” he said.

Knapp referred the Committee to national, scientific polling that found strong majority support by small businesses with fewer than 100 employees to protect water. The survey showed that 80 percent supported the Waters of the U.S. rule. Sixty-two percent agreed that government regulations are needed to prevent water pollution, and 61 percent believe that government safeguards for water are good for businesses and local communities. In the poll, support for the clarification of federal rules under the Waters of the U.S. crossed political lines, with 78 percent of self-identified Republicans and 91 percent of self-described Democrats supporting the rule.

He also gave the committee three recommendations for improving the process of creating and implementing regulations for business:

1.) Include benefits when conducting analyses of the impact of regulations.

“Why do we never see the benefits of regulations in any agency analysis? For example the EPA and the Corps estimate that permitting costs under the WOTUS rule will increase over $19 million annually and mitigation costs will rise over $59 million. These are direct costs and some believe that indirect costs should also be reported. But there is no analysis showing how these direct costs are also direct benefits to the local economy because most of this money will go to local small businesses for goods and services,” he said.

2.) Invest more resources for research and collecting input from businesses.

“We have essentially starved the regulatory agencies and Advocacy while at the same time wanting both to do more. And then when the machine gets clogged up and controversial, we want to fix the wrong problem and make more problems. The RFA (Regulatory Flexibility Act) process we have today simply needs more resources so it can run more effectively and efficiently,” he said.

3.) Increase funding for education and compliance assistance for the business community.

“Once a rule has been promulgated and hopefully the burden on small businesses has been reduced as much as possible, the job of the federal government is not done. Small businesses need to be educated about the new rule and, when necessary, provided regulatory compliance assistance. This important component of the rulemaking process is woefully underfunded and thus underutilized,” said Knapp.

The full testimony may be found here:

The American Sustainable Business Council advocates for policy change and informs business owners and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant, sustainable economy. Through its national member network it represents more than 200,000 business owners, executives, and investors.