The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is crafting a regulation dramatically curtailing the agency’s ability to retroactively veto water permission permits.
EPA’s regulation mirrors a memo former agency administrator Scott Pruitt drafted before resigning his post in July. His memo directed the Office of Water to create a rule prohibiting the EPA from vetoing a project before a permit is filed. Pruitt’s replacement — acting administrator Andrew Wheeler — is now picking up where his predecessor left off, according to E&E New’s report, which relies on unnamed sources.
The agency “is planning to submit a proposed rule nixing pre-emptive and retroactive vetoes to the White House for review by the end of December,” sources told E&E News. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for filling in waterways and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, but Section 404(c) of the law grants EPA the ability to veto permits.
An EPA spokeswoman confirmed E&E News’s report, telling reporters that “continuing its work to evaluate updates to the regulations governing EPA’s role in the permitting process under section 404c of the Clean Water Act in order to increase predictability and provide regulatory certainty for landowners, investors, businesses and other stakeholders.”