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Comment on The Permit Power Revisited: The Theory and Practice of Regulatory Permits in the Administrative State

August 2016

Citation: ELR 10658

Author: D. Randall Benn and Brent Fewell

In The Permit Power Revisited, Professors Biber and Ruhl make a well-articulated and easy to follow argument for a regulatory shift along the “spectrum of [permitting] approaches” from “specific permits” to the more favored “general permits.” At least in the context of the CWA, the Biber/Ruhl article is timely and adds great value to the continuing legal and policy debate on alternatives to tackling some of the intractable environmental problems that continue to elude our aging regulatory programs. While individual permits will continue to be the most effective tool for regulating individuated pollution sources with greater potential for environmental harm, despite the intensive resources required, shifting toward general permits that are cheaper to enter, easier to renew and create less administrative burdens on agencies and the regulated community is the wave of the future. Herein, Biber and Ruhl have provided a useful rationale and roadmap for making that transition.

D. Randall Benn and Brent Fewell both served in senior roles at the U.S. EPA Office of Water and are founding Partners of Earth and Water Group, a boutique law firm of experienced practitioners advancing client interests across a broad range of environmental and business matters. For more information, please visit www.earthandwatergroup.com.

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