Legislation that would force the EPA to make faster decisions about mining permits has been introduced in the U.S. House.
Congressman Hal Rogers filed the bill, which is similar to legislation introduced by Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul in their chamber. The lawmakers say the EPA takes too long to approve or deny mining permits, and the delays may be an indirect method of rejecting permits.
Dick Brown with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet says Rogers, Paul, McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear share a common frustration with the EPA.
“The legislation does not advocate approval or disapproval of the permits, but rather mandates that a timely and final decision be made about those permits, and this is consistent with Kentucky’s executive branch position,” he says.
Many of the delayed permits are for so-called mountaintop removal projects, which opponents say are detrimental to the environment, and leave mountain waterways clogged and polluted.