President Trump today will sign an executive order designed to prevent states from blocking pipelines and other energy infrastructure by using authority they feel is afforded them under the federal Clean Water Act, Kallanish Energy reports.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, companies must obtain certifications from a state before they can build federally-approved infrastructure, like pipelines, within that state’s borders.
States can refuse to issue the certifications if they determine the project will have a negative impact on water quality within their jurisdiction, even if the project has been approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Republican lawmakers have accused Democrat-controlled states of abusing their power under Section 401 to block Ferc-approved infrastructure tied to fossil fuels.
New York has refused to issue a water permit to the developers of the Constitution Pipeline, a 125-mile project that would transport natural gas from Northeast Pennsylvania to the New York City area.
The new executive order will direct the Environmental Protection Agency to review its existing guidance on Section 401 to states. The EPA will focus on making sure states exercise their authority consistent with the intent of the statute and with existing case law, a senior administration official told Reuters.
The official said that while many states implement the law “faithfully,” others have exercised their power in a way that has delayed energy infrastructure projects.
The same presidential order also calls for a review of safety standards for liquefied natural gas export terminals and rules that prevent LNG from being transported by rail car.
It also orders the Department of Labor to review existing guidance on fiduciary responsibility related to energy infrastructure investments. And it tasks the Energy and Transportation Departments with preparing reports on limitations to transporting natural gas to the Northeast and West Coast.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.