02.08.2011 1

The EPA Oversteps its Bounds… Again

As usual, the EPA oversteps its bounds. The Clean Water Act is used in this case in Southwest Alaska to justify the overstepping. And as usual, jobs are on the line.

Several organizations sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson calling out her departments’ overstep:

Dear Administrator Jackson,

We understand that you are reviewing a 404(c) petition related to a potential development project on state lands in Alaska and we are concerned about how you intend to handle this novel request. This requested action would be tantamount to asking the EPA to assert veto power over an entire industry across a large geographic region where a permit application under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act is contemplated, but has not even been submitted.

The unprecedented exercise of this novel authority, impacting mineral resource activity across Southwest Alaska, could affect much of the land that belongs to the State of Alaska that is dedicated to mineral resource and other job-producing economic development. Further, we are deeply concerned that a preemptive negative action or signal by the EPA could stop the substantial industry investment and the accompanying jobs and benefits to this region, and indeed other parts of the United States. Such an unprecedented action could also have a paralyzing impact on similar industry activity and jobs across the United States of America.

The investment in mineral resource development in Southwest Alaska would create thousands of needed jobs, accompanying economic development, and significant tax revenues to fund education and infrastructure for the region, the State of Alaska, and America. In addition to regional jobs and economic development, America needs to focus on developing its own rich mineral and energy reserves to help our balance of trade, promote our national economy, and enhance our national security with the expanded development of domestic resources, which could be impacted by the precedent of EPA exercising a 404(c) veto in this and other similar situations.

The development, if it proceeds, would receive the scrutiny demanded by the federal and state environmental laws. These environmental laws set by the United State Congress and the State of Alaska have well-defined standards and procedures to evaluate the facts of development projects and make permit determinations based on science and the development proposal submitted. We believe that such an unprecedented 404(c) action by the EPA on this petition or any other area prior to a permit application and the requisite accompanying scientific research would be highly detrimental to the credibility of EPA and the certainty of our current legal and regulatory structure.

We all may not agree on various aspects of the permitting process currently in place, however, we do agree that the law of the land should not be circumvented with big government intervention in order to satisfy the unproven claims of a few. The EPA should dismiss such petitions as this outright. Further, the EPA should be very cautious on the use of such blunt power under 404(c) of the Clean Water Act.

Sincerely,

National Center for Public Policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Americans for Tax Reform

Institute for Liberty

Americans for Prosperity

American Conservative Union

Freedom Action

California Clean Water Alliance

Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute

Americans for Limited Government

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