Environmental law is complicated, and those complications can multiply when several states and the federal government get involved on a project. This principle is on display in Eagle Creek Township, Indiana, where work is underway to build a 600-acre quarry. According to news reports, the business building the quarry received a discharge permit under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, and the company says that it “for the past five years has been diligent about following the appropriate process to obtain approvals from local, state and federal agencies.” Now, U.S. EPA is allowing additional oversight–now from the State of Illinois–to determine if the quarry would affect water quality in Illinois. Section 401(a)(2) of the Clean Water Act allows another State to be involved whenever EPA determines that a discharge may affect the quality of the waters of that other State.
Now, the business is in legal limbo. They have a permit to go ahead, but EPA is attempting to overrule the State of Indiana’s permit to give oversight to another State. This process may be good for environmental protection, but it adds to the argument to those who believe that EPA continues to use its authority to hurt the business community.
What do you think?