West Virginia Democrats are joining with Republicans in the House and Senate to rein in EPA overreach under the Clean Water Act.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) introduced companion legislation to a bill to the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act from Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and John Mica (R-Fla.) that passed the House 239-184.
The Senate bill would prevent the EPA from issuing new or revised water quality standards for any state when the state already has an approved water quality standard in place, unless the state agrees. It would block the EPA from taking any action that supersedes a state certification of state water quality standards and prevent the agency from vetoing a permit unless the state agrees.
The legislation would also mandate that agencies, including the EPA, must comment on a permit application no later than 30 days – or 60 days if additional time is requested – after a permit application is received.
“From delaying much-needed coal permits to overregulating our farmers, I constantly hear from my constituents about the obstacles the EPA has put in place that prevent Pennsylvanians from hiring and expanding their businesses,” said Toomey. “This legislation would rein in an overzealous agency, help create jobs, and return water quality regulatory powers to the states, where they belong.”
“The fact is, federal courts agree with us: the EPA has overstepped its bounds. They’re now 0-3 in federal court cases involving their proper role in administering the Clean Water Act,” Manchin said. “With that being said, I know the fight isn’t over until Congress makes it crystal clear that the EPA needs to operate within its proper boundaries, and that’s why we’re introducing this legislation.”