Published: Sat, April 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump signs measures easing energy regulation while in Texas

Trump signs measures easing energy regulation while in Texas

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to make it harder for states to scuttle pipelines and other energy projects based on concerns about their impact on water quality.

Oil and gas companies have been complaining about delays in building pipelines, and Trump said his orders "will fix this, dramatically accelerating energy infrastructure approvals".

"Republican lawmakers and energy groups have long accused blue states of blocking pipeline projects using a section of the Clean Water Act", NPR's Nathan Rott reports for our Newscast unit.

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.

Trump's order, slated to be unveiled during a visit to the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas, comes as the president continues to chafe at regulatory barriers he says throttle the full potential of American "energy dominance", while keeping the nation hooked on foreign gas imports.

"This obstruction does not just hurt families and workers like you; it undermines our independence and national security", Trump said, mentioning how New England paid much more for gas this winter because of its lack of pipelines.

Trump is looking to set stricter timelines and narrow the scope of review states can use to evaluate pipelines and other projects that need CWA permits.

Amy Sisk covers energy for WESA and StateImpact Pennsylvania, a public media collaboration focused on energy.She moved to Pennsylvania in 2017 from another energy-rich state, North Dakota, where she often reported from coal mines, wind farms and the oil patch.

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.

The PennEast project, perhaps the most contentious of numerous pipeline expansion projects pending in New Jersey, still requires a host of permits, including a so-called Section 401 permit under the Clean Water Act from the state Department of Environmental Protection. "This action would be a direct attack on clean water".

Ong maintained that states must play an essential role in protecting their own waters.

"We intend to challenge any attempt by the administration to illegally constrain Washington's authority to protect our state's natural resources", the governor and attorney general said.

The order will also call to propose a rule which would allow natural gas to be sent in railroad tank cars that are approved.

Anti-Pipeline protestors say they'll keep fighting. It says that any decision to issue or deny a cross-border permit shall be made exclusively by President Donald Trump.

Currently, the secretary of state has the authority to issue permits for cross-border infrastructure such as pipelines.

"Trump's developing an addiction to executive orders that rubber-stamp these climate-killing projects", said Brett Hartl, the center's government affairs director.

A second order expected from Trump would streamline the process for energy infrastructure that crosses worldwide borders.

Trump is signing the orders in-between campaign fundraisers in San Antonio and Houston.

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