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House bill would remove section 404(c) from Clean Water Act

Pebble Mine critics slam legislation as "ill-conceived" and threatening to EPA's efforts to protect Bristol Bay watershed.

KDLG:  A bill introduced by a South Carolina Republican seeks to remove a section of the Clean Water Act that is being used by the EPA to block development of the Pebble Mine.  

Representative Tom Rice says House Bill 4149 is designed to discourage frivolous lawsuits related to violations of the federal water pollution rules. However, the bill would also remove section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act and takes authority away from the EPA administrator in the permitting of wastewater disposal sites.

The EPA recently used Section 404(c) to develop preemptive restrictions which, if finalized, will prevent Pebble’s development.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay issued a statement Thursday calling the legislation “ill-conceived,” and threatening to EPA’s efforts to protect the Bristol Bay watershed.

HR 4149 was introduced December 1 and referred to the House committee on transportation and infrastructure.