The EPA has issued 13 vetoes since the passing of the Clean Water Act.
Section 404(c) of the federal Clean Water Act gives the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to veto permits for the discharge of waste and fill material into lakes, streams and wetlands. The agency has used the authority 13 times since the passing of the CWA in 1972, vetoing projects from shopping malls to surface mines. While the vetoes have been initiated under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the majority took place during the tenure of Republican presidents.
The EPA is currently trying to use the veto power to protect Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed—home to the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery—from the Pebble gold mine project. The EPA initiated the veto for Bristol Bay in February 2014, but a federal judge in November ordered the agency to put the process on hold pending a legal challenge from Pebble’s developers.