NFIB Fighting EPA Over 'Tailoring Rule'

The National Federation of Independent Business is moving forward with a lawsuit it filed against the Environmental Protection Agency's "Tailoring Rule." The rule is part of a series of regulations put in place to monitor carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The NFIB argues that the rule, which was put in place in May 2010, will have an unfair impact on small businesses, and also leave them in a state of uncertainty because it is temporary and will have to be reviewed again by April 30, 2016.  The Clean Air Act does not allow stationary sources such as buildings to emit more than 100 tons per year of any greenhouse gas without a permit from the EPA. The Tailoring Rule moves this number up to 100,000 tons per year before an EPA permit is necessary. Without the rule, many small businesses would be subject to new permitting requirements.

Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center, said although the rule rightfully increases the amount of tons a building can emit annually without a permit, small businesses are left in limbo until the rule and its levels are reexamined in 2016.

"I can cheer until then, when they will consider lowering it," Harned said. "Meanwhile, where did they get the 100,000 tons? It's not in the statute, and it’s hard to know if it will hold because it's not law."

Before any changes were made, Harned said the NFIB would have liked to have seen an independent small business impact study done and taken into consideration.

"Do your homework and see how these regulations will impact small business," she said of the EPA. "It's arbitrary and uncertain. We need everyone to go back to the drawing board and take a deep breath."

The EPA declined multiple attempts for comment.