As I explained in yesterday’s post What a travesty!, the Supreme Court let stand an unfortunate decision by the D.C. Court of Appeals that allows the EPA to amend or revoke a section 404, Clean Water Act discharge permit, at will. Thereby depriving the permit holder of any vested right in the permit, even when the permit holder is in full compliance with all permit conditions and there are no changes in circumstances. However, today, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) took action to stop this abuse of power. These senators have introduced a bill, The Regulatory Fairness Act of 2014, that prohibits the EPA from revoking a duly issued permit.
“The Regulatory Fairness Act of 2014 would give American businesses a fair shot at going through the process of building or mining without having to worry about politics getting in the way,” said Vitter. “After seeing the EPA grossly overstep on established permitting procedures, it’s clear that this legislation is necessary to prevent a serious disincentive to investing in America and distinctly state what the EPA can and cannot do.”
Now that the courts have failed to protect permit holders from agency overreaching the only option is a legislative fix. Could this be it?