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Trump Administration Moves to Limit State Powers to Block Pipelines, Terminals

Trump Administration Moves to Limit State Powers to Block Pipelines, Terminals
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Friday, 09 August 2019 12:03 PM

The Trump administration on Friday unveiled a proposal that would curb state powers to block pipelines and other energy projects, part of the Trump administration's effort to boost domestic oil, gas and coal development.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency move drew swift criticism from New York's governor and an organization representing progressive states. It comes four months after President Donald Trump ordered the EPA to change a section of the U.S. Clean Water Act that states like New York and Washington have used in recent years to delay pipelines and terminals.

"When implemented, this proposal will streamline the process for constructing new energy infrastructure projects that are good for American families, American workers, and the American economy," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a press release announcing the move.

The EPA's proposal is centered on changes to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states and tribes to block energy projects on environmental grounds, it said https://www.epa.gov/cwa-401.

Trump and EPA chief Andrew Wheeler have often pointed to New York for its decision to block an interstate gas pipeline, Williams Cos Inc's Constitution line from Pennsylvania, accusing the state of creating bottlenecks and supply disruptions.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called the EPA's proposal "hostile." It is "a gross overreach of federal authority that undermines New York's ability to protect our water quality and our environment," he said in a statement.

"It's a hypocritical double standard," said David Hayes, director of the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center, part of the New York University Law School, which coordinates policy with state attorneys general.

He said the proposal runs counter to the Trump administration's promises to support so-called "cooperative federalism" in which states are given broad authority to decide policy.

"The Trump administration gives lip service to 'cooperative federalism,' but it practices 'fair-weather federalism," he said.

In 2017, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat and 2020 candidate for president, used the 401 provision to block a permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, a coal export facility that would have expanded the ability of companies to send Western coal to Asian markets.

Inslee said in April that Trumps executive orders to weaken state powers would put the country on a “fatal path” of unconstrained fossil fuel use and hold back clean energy development. 

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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The Trump administration on Friday unveiled a proposal that would curb state powers to block pipelines and other energy projects, part of the Trump administration's effort to boost domestic oil, gas and coal development.
trump, limit, state, powers, pipelines, terminals
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2019-03-09
Friday, 09 August 2019 12:03 PM
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