U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has introduced a bill to help rein in the Environmental Protection Agency's repeated overreach under the Clean Water Act.
S. 3558, introduced with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), would restore and guarantee the proper balance between states and the federal government in a way that protects water quality while also supporting economic growth and job creation. The measure would also clarify that Congress intended states to have the primary responsibility in overseeing their land and water resources, not the EPA.
"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. This legislation would rein in an overzealous agency, help create jobs, and return water quality regulatory powers to the states, where they belong. I appreciate the bipartisan support from Sen. Manchin and Representatives Mica and Rahall for this important legislation," Sen. Toomey said.
Local leaders and stakeholders thanked Sen. Toomey for his efforts on this legislation.
"This EPA administration has caused more grief in Armstrong County than I can ever honestly remember. The delayed waiting time for coal permits would try the patience of Methuselah. The fact of the matter is that this administration wants to shut down coal across Pennsylvania and America. We cannot let that happen, and we're thankful for the good work Sen. Toomey is doing on behalf of our coal communities," said state Representative Jeff Pyle.
"I appreciate Sen. Toomey's efforts to introduce this legislation to protect Pennsylvania's coal jobs. This bill would effectively mandate the EPA to recognize the state's role in mine permitting, which has not been the practice the past three years," said Jim Laurita Jr., president and chief executive officer of MEPCO.
"I want to commend Sen. Toomey for stepping forward to introduce this important legislation in the United States Senate. Unfortunately, the EPA under this administration has chosen an unprecedented, adversarial strategy with regard to working with Pennsylvania companies and allowing the states to regulate water quality. This legislation seeks to restore the proper equilibrium between cooperative state-level regulation and the meddlesome tactics that EPA has pursued in recent years," said John Pippy, CEO of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance.
The Senate legislation is the companion bill to a bipartisan House measure - the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act - sponsored by Reps. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) and John Mica (R-Fla.). H.R. 2018, which passed the House 239-184, was supported by a diverse coalition of groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Mining Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.