S 468

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 468

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the authority of the Administrator to disapprove specifications of disposal sites for the discharge of, dredged or fill material, and to clarify the procedure under which a higher review of specifications may be requested.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 3, 2011

Mr. MCCONNELL (for himself, Mr. PAUL, and Mr. INHOFE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify the authority of the Administrator to disapprove specifications of disposal sites for the discharge of, dredged or fill material, and to clarify the procedure under which a higher review of specifications may be requested.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Mining Jobs Protection Act'.

SEC. 2. PERMITS FOR DREDGED OR FILL MATERIAL.

    Section 404 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:

    `(c) Authority of Administrator To Disapprove Specifications-

      `(1) IN GENERAL- The Administrator, in accordance with this subsection, may prohibit the specification of any defined area as a disposal site, and may deny or restrict the use of any defined area for specification as a disposal site, in any case in which the Administrator determines, after notice and opportunity for public hearings and consultation with the Secretary, that the discharge of those materials into the area will have an unacceptable adverse effect on--

        `(A) municipal water supplies;

        `(B) shellfish beds and fishery areas (including spawning and breeding areas);

        `(C) wildlife; or

        `(D) recreational areas.

      `(2) DEADLINE FOR ACTION-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- The Administrator shall--

          `(i) not later than 30 days after the date on which the Administrator receives from the Secretary for review a specification proposed to be issued under subsection (a), provide notice to the Secretary of, and publish in the Federal Register, a description of any potential concerns of the Administrator with respect to the specification, including a list of measures required to fully address those concerns; and

          `(ii) if the Administrator intends to disapprove a specification, not later than 60 days after the date on which the Administrator receives a proposed specification under subsection (a) from the Secretary, provide to the Secretary and the applicant, and publish in the Federal Register, a statement of disapproval of the specification pursuant to this subsection, including the reasons for the disapproval.

        `(B) FAILURE TO ACT- If the Administrator fails to take any action or meet any deadline described in subparagraph (A) with respect to a proposed specification, the Administrator shall have no further authority under this subsection to disapprove or prohibit issuance of the specification.

      `(3) NO RETROACTIVE DISAPPROVAL-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- The authority of the Administrator to disapprove or prohibit issuance of a specification under this subsection--

          `(i) terminates as of the date that is 60 days after the date on which the Administrator receives the proposed specification from the Secretary for review; and

          `(ii) shall not be used with respect to any specification after issuance of the specification by the Secretary under subsection (a).

        `(B) SPECIFICATIONS DISAPPROVED BEFORE DATE OF ENACTMENT- In any case in which, before the date of enactment of this subparagraph, the Administrator disapproved a specification under this subsection (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Mining Jobs Protection Act) after the specification was issued by the Secretary pursuant to subsection (a)--

          `(i) the Secretary may--

            `(I) reevaluate and reissue the specification after making appropriate modifications; or

            `(II) elect not to reissue the specification; and

          `(ii) the Administrator shall have no further authority to disapprove the modified specification or any reissuance of the specification.

        `(C) FINALITY- An election by the Secretary under subparagraph (B)(i) shall constitute final agency action.

      `(4) APPLICABILITY- Except as provided in paragraph (3), this subsection applies to each specification proposed to be issued under subsection (a) that is pending as of, or requested or filed on or after, the date of enactment of the Mining Jobs Protection Act'.

SEC. 3. REVIEW OF PERMITS.

    Section 404(q) of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344(q)) is amended--

      (1) in the first sentence, by striking `(q) Not later than' and inserting the following:

    `(q) Agreements; Higher Review of Permits-

      `(1) AGREEMENTS-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Not later than';

      (2) in the second sentence, by striking `Such agreements' and inserting the following:

        `(B) DEADLINE- Agreements described in subparagraph (A)'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following:

      `(2) HIGHER REVIEW OF PERMITS-

        `(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (C), before the Administrator or the head of another Federal agency requests that a permit proposed to be issued under this section receive a higher level of review by the Secretary, the Administrator or other head shall--

          `(i) consult with the head of the State agency having jurisdiction over aquatic resources in each State in which activities under the requested permit would be carried out; and

          `(ii) obtain official consent from the State agency (or, in the case of multiple States in which activities under the requested permit would be carried out, from each State agency) to designate areas covered or affected by the proposed permit as aquatic resources of national importance.

        `(B) FAILURE TO OBTAIN CONSENT- If the Administrator or the head of another Federal agency does not obtain State consent described in subparagraph (A) with respect to a permit proposed to be issued under this section, the Administrator or Federal agency may not proceed in seeking higher review of the permit.

        `(C) LIMITATION ON ELEVATIONS- The Administrator or the head of another Federal agency may request that a permit proposed to be issued under this section receive a higher level of review by the Secretary not more than once per permit.

        `(D) EFFECTIVE DATE- This paragraph applies to permits for which applications are submitted under this section on or after January 1, 2010.'.

END