Lawmakers push EPA over water rule

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pushing back against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its enforcement of the Clean Water Act.

Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and Nick Rahall (D-W.V.) introduced legislation Thursday that would limit the EPA's power to revoke permits from farmers, miners and companies that are digging through the ground near a waterway.

The Regulatory Certain Act of 2014 would prevent the EPA from revoking a permit more than 30 days after the permit was issued, unless the company was violating the terms of the permit.

"What we're saying is once a permit has been issued, unless they're in violation of the permit, they shouldn't be able to go back and revoke the permit," a spokesman for Gibbs said in an interview.

"Obviously, if you're dumping stuff into the water that you're not supposed to be dumping, you can lose your permit," he added.

Gibbs complained that the EPA under the Obama administration has been revoking permits issued to companies during the Bush administration, even though they were following the rules. The spokesman said this happened to Spruce Mine in West Virginia.

Gibbs said the EPA was "overstepping" its authority by revoking the permits of law-abiding companies and also denying permits to companies before they even apply.

"EPA has been overstepping their use of their veto authority," Gibbs said in a statement. "Recent actions by U.S. EPA to overstep its intended authority under the law have resulted in disruptions and uncertainty for businesses around the country."