January 2, 2014

PLF comments on EPA's strategic plan

By Damien M. Schiff Senior Attorney

Last week, Pacific Legal Foundation submitted our comments on EPA’s draft Strategic Plan for 2014.  The most interesting part of this document is the agency’s plan to reduce the number of enforcement actions it will take in order to focus on what it considers to be the most “serious” environmental polluters.  This approach makes sense, but our comments urge the agency to explain just what constitutes a serious polluter.  The request is not just a rhetorical flourish; based on EPA’s enforcement history against PLF clients, one might reasonably conclude that the agency is more concerned about making life miserable for property owners than about protecting the environment from serious harm.  For example, Mike and Chantell Sackett have been fighting the EPA for over seven years just to build a single-family home, but EPA won’t let them because it thinks that the project requires the destruction of one half-acre of wetlands.  Even if that’s true (and we certainly argue that it’s not), what possible definition of “serious” environmental polluter would encompass the filling with clean dirt of 0.5 acres of wetlands?

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