President Trump Wednesday signed two executive orders designed to eliminate hurdles to new and existing natural gas pipeline construction nationwide, Kallanish Energy reports.
“My action today will cut through the destructive permitting and denials,” Trump said during the signing of the executive orders at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center, in Crosby, Texas. “Under this administration, we’ve ended the war on American energy.”
Trump said with the executive order in place, the approval process for new pipelines will not take longer than 60 days.
While the move was greeted warmly by members of the country’s oil and gas industries, it’s likely to upset some more traditional conservative lawmakers worried about the federal government impinging on individual states’ rights and governance.
The White House has argued the order is not meant to take power away from states, but to ensure state actions follow the intent of the federal Clean Water Act.
Trade groups representing the oil and gas industry applauded the orders and said greater access to natural gas benefits families and the environment.
“We have previously seen some states use the 401 permit process (of the Clean Water Act) to essentially stall valid pipeline projects, and that isn’t right,” said Mark Sutton, president and CEO of GPA Midstream Association.
“I applaud this administration for taking a stand against this type of invalid action. Too often we see bureaucracies stopping growth; it’s great to see an administration promoting a pro-growth and pro-jobs agenda for the midstream industry.”
GPA Midstream Association represents over 80 corporate members of all sizes based worldwide, engaged in the gathering and processing of natural gas.
Trump’s signings comes less than a week after roughly a dozen business groups told Environmental Protection Agency administrator Andrew Wheeler the environmental review and permitting process for energy infrastructure projects “has become a target for environmental activists and states that oppose the production and use of fossil fuels,” Fox news reported.
The groups said in an April 5 letter individual states shouldn’t be able to use provisions of the Clean Air Act “to dictate national policy, thereby harming other states and the national interest and damaging cooperative federalism,” Fox News reported.
New York regulators/Gov. Andrew Cuomo have stopped the Constitution natural gas line, saying it failed to meet standards to protect streams, wetlands and other water resources.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, companies must get certification from the state before moving ahead with an energy project.
Environmental groups described Trump’s order as an effort to prevent a state’s ability to review complicated projects, putting at risk a state’s ability to protect drinking water supplies and wildlife.
“The Trump Administration’s proposal would trample on state authority to protect waters within their own borders,” said Jim Murphy, senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation.
The second executive order Trump signed yesterday streamlines the process for energy infrastructure that crosses international borders.
Currently, the secretary of state has the authority to issue permits for cross-border infrastructure such as pipelines. The executive order clarifies the president will make the decision on whether to issue such permits.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.