Ask the Supervisor: Fairfax County v. EPA
Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust answers questions submitted by Patch readers.
Question: In July 2012, the County joined with the State of Virginia to sue the United States Environmental Protection Agency claiming that the EPA exceeded its authority to regulate stormwater in the Accotink Creek watershed. Why were you the only Supervisor to vote against filing the lawsuit?
Response: As I explained at the time the decision was made, I supported the County filing a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency with respect to the Accotink Creek regulations. I believe the EPA overreached and, if left unchallenged, the result would be significant and unnecessary costs imposed on County taxpayers with minimal environmental benefits.
My issue was not with the County’s decision to file a lawsuit to challenge the EPA’s position. Rather, I did not agree with the County’s decision to join with the Virginia Department of Transportation as co-plaintiffs in a suit. In my judgment, the County could have had a stronger case, and significantly more control over the resolution of the case, if it had filed its own lawsuit. At a minimum, I felt that before a joint suit was filed, the County should have had an agreement in place with the State that established the County’s rights with respect to prosecuting and negotiating resolution of the lawsuit. I was concerned by the State Attorney General’s previous efforts to politicize litigation against the federal government. I felt the County’s case against the EPA should be decided on the merits and that, if it was, the County would win. I did not believe the County needed to take the risk that someone we could not control might attempt to politicize our lawsuit.
Do you have a question for Supervisor Foust? You can submit it below in the comments section or contact his office directly via email, email@example.com, or by phone, 703-356-0551.