Reining in the EPA

Photo courtesy, Flickr, Feb. 14, 2011

Senator David Vitter (R, LA) introduced S.2156, the Regulatory Fairness act of 2014 in congress last month. The legislation is an attempt to keep the EPA from preemptively or retroactively vetoing a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. You can find a copy of the legislation here:

Senator Lisa Murkowski signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation April 7. When asked during a phone in to the Alaska Miners Association conference the week of April 7, Mark Begich (D, AK) claimed to be unaware of the legislation, though his office has been repeatedly asked to co-sponsor it by Alaskan resource development groups.

So where are we going with this? We have conservative US Senators actively attempting to rein in the EPA’s overreach under the Clean Air Act. We have democrat senator(s) not wanting to be bothered.

Mark Begich is a very good politician, who is apparently perfectly comfortable with the By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) techniques of the anti-development greens infesting the EPA, other federal agencies, and green organizations. These groups form a substantial portion of his support structure, and as such, the needs and desires of other Alaskans for real jobs are simply not important enough to defend.

While this may appear to be yet another round in the ongoing argument about the Pebble Mine, in reality, the issue goes far beyond Pebble. If the EPA via a fraudulent process can cook up a piece of paper (assessment) whose results and analysis are preordained, then use that piece of paper as a vehicle to kill a project as described in the assessment that would never pass state or federal permitting processes, and to do so before permits have been applied for, or worse, after permits have been approved, there is no limit to their power.

They will be able to approve projects they like (solar or wind) and shut down things they don’t like (mines, coal fired plants, oil or natural gas production, dams, pipelines), and do so with complete impunity.

While this legislation is not the final solution to EPA overreach, it is a small step towards putting them back on a leash, something our Boy Senator does not appear to be interested in doing.