For Immediate Release:January 26, 2011Contact: Katie Martin, 202.525.0589 Katie.Martin@mail.house.gov
McKINLEY INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO STOP EPA FROM VETOING EXISTING PERMITSBi-partisan bill co-sponsored by West Virginia’s Capito & Rahall, other coal-country repsPresses administration official on outrageous EPA power-grab at subcommittee hearing
Washington, D.C. – Rep. David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV) filed legislation (H.R. 457) Wednesday that would remove the EPA’s authority to retroactively veto an existing Section 404(c) Clean Water Act permit. The bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) to explicitly prevent the EPA from revoking a permit under the Act after one has been issued by the Secretary of the Army.
McKinley’s first piece of legislation is co-sponsored by Reps. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH), and would be retroactive to January 1, 2011 – thereby reinstating the Spruce Mine No. 1 permit in southern West Virginia revoked two weeks ago by the EPA. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has announced plans to file a similar piece of legislation soon.
“For years, the EPA has been bullying coal companies and the workers they employ,” said McKinley. “But this isn’t just about the Spruce Mine. If their new policy of retroactive revocation is allowed to stand, dozens of heavily-regulated industries and hundreds of thousands of American jobs hang in the balance. Businesses will not invest in new projects and create new jobs if they know that regulatory agencies can ignore existing permits and arbitrarily pull the rug right out from under them. This has to stop.”
Also Wednesday, McKinley pressed the chief White House regulatory official on the EPA’s decision on Spruce Mine. At the request of Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, McKinley asked chief White House regulatory official Cass Sunstein a series of questions at a hearing of the subcommittee. Under the congressman’s questioning, Sunstein acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court has generally frowned upon retroactive regulatory action and promised to follow up with more information on the EPA’s actions and the propriety thereof.
Earlier this week, McKinley sent a letter to Stearnsrequesting that the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee call the EPA in front of the panel to directly answer questions about the chilling effect its decision would have on the American economy.
McKinley concluded, “We have a long way to go in this fight. This is just the first step. But the Obama administration and the EPA are now on notice that we will not sit idly by while their arrogance kills West Virginia jobs and threatens thousands more across the country.”