WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Tom Rice (R-S.C.) introduced legislation to amend the Clean Water Act (CWA) to streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects and hold special interest groups accountable for filing frivolous lawsuits. H.R. 5341, the Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act will reduce the delays and costs caused when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and special interest groups unnecessarily stall infrastructure projects.

“Bureaucratic red tape and frivolous lawsuits from obstructionists delay badly-needed infrastructure projects and cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” said Congressman Rice. “In order to keep unnecessary lawsuits and permit denials from stopping essential projects from moving forward, checks must be implemented.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the lead authority for wetland permitting, but the EPA can deny permits at the last minute. The Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act lowers uncertainty from the application process by removing this “veto authority” from the EPA. 

The Discouraging Frivolous Lawsuits Act also creates a “loser pays” citizen suit structure to pardon prevailing parties from legal and court fees associated with challenging a permit decision and requires the losing party to pay the costs. This will curb the filing of frivolous lawsuits and hold obstructionists accountable for lengthy court proceedings that cause needless delays.

To view a copy of the legislation, please click here