The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to limit how much people can bring legal challenges against its pollution permits, according to a report Friday in the New York Times.
According to the Times, the EPA plans to “eliminate the ability of individuals or community advocates to appeal against E.P.A.-issued pollution permits before a panel of agency judges.” This would mean that individuals could not appeal a permit regulating the pollution of a company.
These panels of agency judges have been a standard part of EPA policy since the early 1990s. While “individuals and community advocates” will have lost their right to appeal, companies with permits could still appeal to this same board to try to have their pollution levels increased.
This plan is still in draft form and has not yet been made public. Three sources with reported knowledge of the plan talked to the New York Times. Before it can become official policy, it will have to go through a period of public comment.
Environmental attorneys and activists worry that these changes will negatively impact the environment.
The Trump administration has already rolled back some previous EPA regulations, including ditching the Obama-era Clean Power Plan which aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, through mandates on energy producers. President Donald Trump has also expressed his support for the coal industry, and the EPA under his watch has changed its policies to benefit coal-fired power plants.