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WSJ says “era of lawless environmental regulation is over” under Scott Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt finally got some good press this week in the form of a Wall Street Journal editorial.

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is wasting no time broadcasting that an era of lawless environmental regulation is over,” wrote editors. “One of the best signals so far is the agency’s agreement last week to let the Pebble Mine project in Alaska proceed through regular permitting and legal order.”

As the editorial noted, documents from freedom of information suits and legal discovery showed EPA officials orchestrated opposition to the mine with environmental activists and native tribes. The paper called Alaska “the other victim” because it owns the mine site and was cut out by the EPA under the Obama administration.

Here’s what the editorial further stated:

“The Clean Water Act gives the Army Corps of Engineers the primary job of evaluating development projects. EPA can perform a secondary review and veto a project—though only with cause. The Obama EPA developed its own fictional model of a mine and then vetoed the project before Pebble had a chance to go through the Corps’s review.

 

The EPA’s pre-emptive veto was the first in the history of the Clean Water Act, and a damaging precedent. It positioned the agency to become a superregulator able to kill any bridge, mine, pipeline or oil well before companies could make a case. Mr. Pruitt’s reversal will unleash capital that has been on strike due to arbitrary regulation. No sane investor would risk years of financial and legal hardship in light of the federal treatment of Pebble, the Keystone XL pipeline or the Shell Arctic development.

The EPA agreement offers no guarantee that the Pebble Mine will be approved after state and federal reviews. But at least Alaska and Pebble stakeholders can get a fair hearing from a transparent federal process.”