E.P.A. Plans to Curtail the Ability of Communities to Oppose Pollution Permits

“Often the Environmental Appeals Board is just sort of an expensive and time-consuming stop along the way to the court of appeals,” said Russell Frye, a lawyer for several companies that have received and appealed such permits, including oil companies, power plants and paper-and-pulp factories. “This would eliminate that step for my clients.”

Another industry lawyer, Jeffrey Holmstead, who represents companies that operate coal-burning power plants, wrote in an email that he, too, was surprised by the fact that companies would be allowed to appeal, but not opponents. “It seems a bit odd to have an asymmetric appeals process,” he wrote.

The board was created in 1992 by William K. Reilly, the E.P.A. administrator under the first President Bush.

Individuals who have filed appeals with the board said it offered an effective forum for people who could not afford to mount a full legal case. Among them is Emerson J. Addison III, an unemployed English teacher in Clare County, Mich., who last year filed an appeal with the board after the E.P.A. issued a permit to the Muskegon Development Company to inject water into a defunct oil well in Mr. Addison’s community in an effort to reconstitute the well.

Mr. Addison feared that, in the process, contaminated water would leak from the well into the local water supply. “This is a poor area,” he said. “Most people don’t have the money to fight something like this in court.”

In April, the Environmental Appeals Board sent the permit back to the E.P.A. for revision, ruling that it wasn’t clear if the agency had sufficiently considered public comments or the effects of the plan on the poor and minority members of nearby community.

It is not yet known whether the agency will revoke the permit or simply revise it, but “if they eventually do it, maybe it will be safer,” Mr. Addison said.

The proposed change to the Environmental Appeals Board process could be made public as soon as the coming week, according to the three people familiar with the matter. It would then be open for public comment, a period that typically lasts 60 to 90 days, before being finalized and implemented.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.


more recommended stories

  • 2020 Won’t Repeat the Mistakes of 2016, Whatever They Were

    WASHINGTON — Democrats still don’t agree.

  • On Politics: House Kills Impeachment Resolution

    • The National Republican Congressional Committee.

  • At North Carolina Rally, Trump Bets on Divisive Attacks as Way to Bolster Re-election Bid

    “Big Rally tonight in Greenville, North.

  • House Passes Intelligence Bill That Would Expand Secrecy Around Operatives

    WASHINGTON — The House passed a.

  • Trump and Epstein Partied and Commented on Women in 1992 Video

    WASHINGTON — President Trump has been.

  • 5 Ways John Paul Stevens Made a Mark on the Supreme Court

    WASHINGTON — Justice John Paul Stevens,.

  • With Name-Calling and Twitter Battles, House Republican Campaign Arm Copies Trump’s Playbook

    “I hope the lesson the N.R.C.C..

  • Top Myanmar Generals Are Barred From Entering U.S. Over Rohingya Killings

    BANGKOK — The United States has.

  • Iran Rejects Pompeo’s Suggestion It Is Willing to Negotiate Over Missile Program

    WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike.

  • Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

    Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs.

  • Roger Stone Is Barred From Social Media After Posts Attacking Russia Inquiry

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge on.

  • North Korea Warns U.S. to Quit Military Drills With South Korea

    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea.

  • The Painful Roots of Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Comment

    It was there in 1882, when.

  • Democratic Fund-Raising: In a Packed Field, Five Candidates Stand Out

    Contributions From Individual Donors The bigger.

  • Pence’s Border Trip Illustrates Conflicting Messages About Detained Migrants

    Although many people were appalled by.

  • Trump Sends Negotiators to Geneva for Nuclear Talks With Russians and Also Seeks to Limit Chinese Warheads

    WASHINGTON — President Trump is sending.

  • E.P.A. Broke Rules in Shake-Up of Science Panels, Federal Watchdog Says

    Want climate news in your inbox?.

  • Joe Biden’s Health Care Plan Focuses on Shoring Up the Affordable Care Act

    After remaining vague for months about.

  • Huge Turnout Is Expected in 2020. So Which Party Would Benefit?

    The opportunity for Democrats, however small,.

  • On Politics: Trump Tells Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to Their Countries

    Good Monday morning. Here are some.

  • The Power Went Out. Where Was de Blasio?

    He was in rural Iowa, illustrating.

  • When Big Tobacco Invoked Eric Garner to Fight a Menthol Cigarette Ban

    In an interview in the sanctuary.

  • Trump Backs Away From Barriers on Foreign Uranium

    WASHINGTON — President Trump said he.

  • Joe Biden Decides He Doesn’t Need to Stay Above the Fray After All

    ATKINSON, N.H. — Joseph R. Biden.

  • Pence Tours Border Facilities – Video

    Channels & Shows Home Search U.S..

  • Man Attacking ICE Detention Center Is Fatally Shot by the Police

    The police fatally shot a man.

  • Pence Defends Conditions at Migrant Detention Centers in Texas

    Vice President Mike Pence played down.

  • Top Ocasio-Cortez Aide Becomes a Symbol of Democratic Division

    WASHINGTON — House Democratic leaders, their.

  • Parties Face ‘Crackup’ as Outsiders Wield Social Media Against the Establishment

    WASHINGTON — On the night that.

  • New Details on Family Separations Fuel Emotional Hearing

    WASHINGTON — At least 18 infants.

  • One Candidate In, One Candidate Out: This Week in the 2020 Race

    Every Saturday morning, we’re publishing “This.

  • A White House Correspondent Departs the Jaw-Dropping Trump Beat

    To judge by Thursday’s events, Mr..