In the U.S. oil heartland yesterday, President Donald Trump announced the signing of two executive orders to accelerate the construction of oil and gas pipelines, dismaying environmentalists. To enable the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and global commerce, the Federal Government must promote efficient permitting processes and reduce regulatory uncertainties that now make energy infrastructure projects expensive and that discourage new investment.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, companies must get certification from the state before moving ahead with an energy project.
Trump's executive order calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to consult with states, tribes and relevant agencies and issue updated guidance for the states to follow to comply with the intent of the landmark act.
"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.
NY and the Constitution pipeline's developers have been locked in a legal battle for the last three years after the state denied the project a CWA permit. The second order transfers authority over approving construction of global pipelines from the secretary of state to the president. The executive order clarifies that the president is likely to decide on whether to issue these permits. "Since the election, we have created more than 5.5 million new jobs, and more than 60,000 brand new oil and gas pipeline construction jobs".
Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc supports the orders' "focus on enhancing the predictability of the permitting process and the critical importance of investing in energy infrastructure in the US and Canada", company spokesman Michael Barnes said. State authorities, including the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of State Lands, never got the chance to rule on the project's impact on the state's waterways.
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GPA Midstream Association represents over 80 corporate members of all sizes based worldwide, engaged in the gathering and processing of natural gas.
One of Trump's executive orders focuses on speeding up pipeline projects by making it harder for states to stop them on environmental grounds.
Fights over state permits have led to years-long delays and protracted federal court battles, with some analysts urging investors to consider " elevated risk premiums" in making decisions about projects created to cross some particularly challenging states.
Washington state blocked the building of a coal terminal in 2017, saying there were too many major harmful effects including air pollution, rail safety and vehicle traffic.
He signed an executive order this week that would speed up pipeline permitting.
Szybist also questioned to what extent pipeline permitting in Pennsylvania will be affected by the order, given that the state has not experienced some of the same high-profile fights over pipelines as its neighbors that have denied projects under the Clean Water Act. His visit to Houston and San Antonio, two of the top energy markets in the country, is primarily to raise re-election money in counties that backed his Democratic opponent in 2016.