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Manchin, Rockefeller reintroduce EPA fair play act

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U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, both D-W.Va., reintroduced the EPA Fair Play Act April 25.

The legislation would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from retroactively vetoing permits, and it also was sponsored by lawmakers from Alaska, North Dakota, Louisiana and Ohio – many of them Republicans.

The EPA Fair Play Act was the first piece of legislation Manchin introduced as a U.S. Senator in 2011.

"For too long the EPA has overreached with its power at the cost of countless American jobs and critical investments," Manchin said in a news release. "As we continue to face a recovering economy, American businesses must have certainty in the marketplace."

Manchin said it is fundamentally wrong for any bureaucratic agency to regulate what has not been legislated.

Rockefeller said it's only fair that once the federal government makes a decision about a permit the decision doesn't change.

"Our workers and businesses need to have that certainty to be able to do their jobs," Rockefeller said in a news release. "The EPA serves a very important purpose to protect our health and water quality.

"But with Spruce Mine, we have seen the agency try to reverse a permit years after it was issued."

The Spruce Mine permit was issued to Mingo Logan Coal Company in 2007, and it was expected to be a $250 million project with 200 jobs.

Manchin launched a lawsuit against the EPA after its veto of the Spruce Mine permit in Logan County while he was governor of West Virginia.