U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (both D-W.Va.) today joined Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rob Portman (R-OH), and David Vitter (R-LA) to reintroduce the EPA Fair Play Act in the 113th Congress. The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from retroactively vetoing permits to protect energy production, economic growth and job creation.
"It's only fair that when the federal government makes a decision about a permit, that decision doesn't change. Our workers and businesses need to have that certainty to be able to do their jobs," said Senator Rockefeller. "The EPA serves a very important purpose to protect our health and water quality. But with Spruce Mine, we have seen the agency try to reverse a permit years after it was issued. Such unnecessary uncertainty undermines confidence in permits issued by the government. This bill would make sure that EPA can't retroactively veto permits once they're issued."
"For too long the EPA has overreached with its power at the cost of countless American jobs and critical investments," Senator Manchin said. "As we continue to face a recovering economy, American businesses must have certainty in the marketplace. It is simply common sense to allow companies that already have been granted permits to finish the work they have started. We simply cannot afford to stifle energy production and good-paying jobs. It is fundamentally wrong for any bureaucratic agency to regulate what has not been legislated. Giving such absolute power to an agency will have a chilling effect on investment and job creation far beyond our great state of West Virginia."
Mingo Logan Coal Company -- which was awarded the Spruce Mine permit in 2007 -- was poised to invest $250 million dollars in the Spruce Mine project, which would have created approximately 200 good-paying jobs with benefits. The EPA's decision to retroactively veto the permit casts serious doubt on the future of this project and others throughout the country.
While serving as the Governor of West Virginia, Senator Manchin supported a lawsuit against the EPA after the veto of the Spruce Mine permit in Logan County. In 2011, Senator Manchin introduced the EPA Fair Play Act as his first piece of legislation in the Senate. Senator Manchin has gained bipartisan support for his legislation, including cosponsors Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Hoeven (R-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jay Rockefeller and David Vitter (R-LA).