EPA chief: Permit vetoes aren’t used ‘frivolously’

Perciasepe cautioned that he is not yet familiar with the specifics of the court decision.

A number of Republicans and coal-state Democrats have blasted the agency’s 2011 veto of the Corp’s approval of Arch Coal Inc.’s plan to dispose of mining waste in certain Appalachian streams.

They say the EPA action and the court ruling will create uncertainty for various types of projects that require so-called dredge and fill permits.

“How can you ever give the assurance that any permit is ever final if you have got this dangling out there — that it can be removed almost unilaterally by the EPA?” asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the top Republican on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

“It injects a level of uncertainty in just about anything going forward,” she said.

The agency’s action with the Spruce Mine was “the first time [EPA] had acted on a previously permitted mine,” according to The Associated Press.