EPA: House offshore oil permitting plan threatens public health

She also criticizes the bill’s limits on permit challenges.

McCarthy states: “The bill is designed to preclude citizens from appealing permit decisions to the Environmental Appeals Board, and thus would force them into a more expensive, lengthier process in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In some respects, the change is one-sided, for the bill seems to preserve some ability for the permit applicant, but not other interested parties, to seek reconsideration by EPA of an adverse permit decision.”

Shell has faced years-long delays obtaining EPA and Interior Department approval for planned exploratory drilling in Arctic waters.

That has led critics — including Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Alaska’s bipartisan Senate delegation — to allege that red tape is stymieing development of promising domestic energy sources.

McCarthy, in her statement, says the EPA is committed to working with other federal agencies to improve the permitting process.

“As part of the administration’s interagency task force on Arctic energy permitting, we are committed to finding ways to improve our processes and better integrate our work with that of other federal agencies involved in permitting Arctic OCS energy activities,” she said.

Her testimony and a GOP memo on the bill are available here.