Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt released a memo Wednesday formally asking the EPA’s water office to propose “a regulation under which officials wouldn’t be able to block a permit before it had been applied for or after the Army Corps of Engineers has issued the permit,” The Hill reported.
EPA offices previously had the ability to retroactively or pre-emptively block a water permit for environmental reasons. They would now have to get approval from headquarters, and officials would be required to provide a period for public comment before blocking any permit.
“This long-overdue update to the regulations has the promise of increasing certainty for landowners, investors, businesses and entrepreneurs to make investment decisions while preserving the EPA’s authority to restrict discharges of dredge or fill material that will have an unacceptable adverse effect on water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife,” Pruitt said.
The EPA must release a formal proposal and invite public comment in order to change the regulation.