EPA Reinstates Environmental Appeals Board Procedures
In a rule that took effect June 11, the EPA reversed the August 2020 changes to the organization and function of its Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) issued by the previous administration which altered the process to appeal EPA decisions, including those related to EPA-issued Clean Water Act permits.
According to EPA, reinstating the EAB regulations as they existed prior to the 2020 amendments is necessary to “uphold the integrity of the Agency’s decision making, including the advancement of environmental justice” pursuant to Executive Order 13990, ‘‘Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.”
Notably, EPA’s action removes the increased political influence over the EAB and limits on amicus participation imposed by the 2020 amendments which NACWA objected to, as well as the 12-year term limits for EAB judges. The rule also, however, removes provisions aimed at streamlining the EAB process, including the 60-day requirement to issue permit decisions.
According to EPA, the Agency intends to “further consider the advisability of future revisions to the EAB’s procedural rules” going forward. NACWA will continue to monitor developments regarding the federal permit appeals process and will keep the membership updated. For questions, please contact Amanda Aspatore, NACWA’s Chief Legal Counsel.