McKinley reintroduces bill on EPA permit authority

U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley reintroduced legislation last week seeking to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from revoking permits already issued by the Secretary of the Army.

McKinley, R-Wheeling, passed similar legislation in the House during the last term of Congress, and the measure also was contained in amendments to two other pieces of legislation approved by House members, said Jim Forbes, spokesman for McKinley. None of the bills were addressed in the Senate.

A federal court ruling from March 2012, however, could help bring the measure to the attention of Congress. In her decision, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the EPA overreached its powers by revoking a permit at the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, W.Va. The EPA has appealed this decision.

McKinley said Congress must be vigilant and fight against illegal overreach by all executive agencies.

“(The) EPA took the unprecedented action of revoking a permit at the Spruce No. 1 Mine, which had been issued years prior, which sent a chilling effect throughout the American economy,” he said. “If EPA can retroactively pull a permit at a coal mine, what’s to stop them from doing so at any construction site or manufacturing plant? The ability to change the rules once a project is started creates a level of uncertainty that hurts not just the coal industry, but all industries.”

McKinley’s House Resolution 524 presently has 10 co-sponsors: Reps. Shelley Moore Capito, R-Charleston; Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, Ohio; Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, Ohio; and Nick Rahall, D-Beckley.; along with Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, Tenn.; Larry Bucshon, R-Kincaid, Ind.; Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, S.C.; H. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, Va.; Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, Kan.; and John Kline, R-Lakeville, Minn.

The bill has been referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee and its Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, chaired by Gibbs.