Senate bill targets EPA dumping permits

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) couldn't block permits for companies looking to dump dredge and fill material into waterways under a new legislation in the Senate.

The Regulatory Fairness Act reintroduced this week in the Senate would prohibit the EPA from preemptively vetoing dumping permits before a company's application has been considered, or retroactively taking the permits away after they were already approved.


This comes after the EPA last year attempted to preemptively veto a dumping permit in Alaska before an application had even been filed, which angered Republicans.

Senate Small Business Committee Chairman David VitterDavid Bruce VitterThe biggest political upsets of the decade Red-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins MORE (R-La.) called the EPA's move "un-American."

“It is un-American for the federal government to predetermine the fate of a business project," said Vitter, who introduced the legislation along with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinLawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Overnight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit MORE (D-W.Va.). 

"The Regulatory Fairness Act simply protects American businesses from a politicized regulatory process,” Vitter added. “EPA has clearly taken liberties with its authority during the permitting process for important job creating projects, and I am very concerned the trend will continue. Reintroducing this legislation is crucial to protecting the rights of American businesses and preventing a disincentive to investing in America.”

The legislation also aims to prevent the EPA from retroactively removing dumping permits after they have already been approved, which was the problem at a mine in West Virginia, Manchin's home state.

Vitter and Manchin introduced the Regulatory Fairness Act last year, but it was shut down in the then-Democrat-controlled Senate.

The House Transportation Committee last year also passed similar legislation.