Published: Sat, April 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Trump Order Will Clear the Way for Stalled Constitution Pipeline

Trump Order Will Clear the Way for Stalled Constitution Pipeline

NY has delayed pipelines that would bring natural gas to New England, for example, and Washington state has stopped coal export terminals.

A senior administration official told reporters the agency would have to follow normal procedures, including a comment period, and that projects already tied up in litigation "are obviously a much longer-term issue".

Section 401 requires applicants for a federal license or permit that may result in any discharge into waters of the state, including pipelines, to apply for and obtain a Water Quality Certificate from the Department of Environmental Conservation indicating the proposed activity will not violate water quality standards.

President Donald Trump went after New York's blocking of natural gas pipelines from passing through the state.

Jennifer Danis, staff attorney for Columbia Law School's Environmental Clinic, called the president's executive order "an unprecedented federal power grab" that squashes states' right to protect natural resources.

Trump's order also directs the transportation secretary to propose a rule allowing liquefied natural gas to be shipped in approved rail tank cars, and directs the labor secretary to review whether investment fund managers who invest based on social goals are fulfilling their responsibility to maximize shareholder returns.

The executive orders were announced on Wednesday at the International Union of Operating Engineers' International Training and Education Center near Houston.

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Presently, the secretary of state has the ability to issue permits. The second order transfers authority over approving construction of global pipelines from the secretary of state to the president.

The edict represents a reprise of earlier presidential memos and orders Trump issued in 2017 in a bid to hasten permitting of USA energy infrastructure.

"The president is attempting to advance his risky fossil-fuel agenda by trampling on the rights of states to protect their waterways under the Clean Water Act, " said Tom Gilbert, campaign director for ReThink Energy NJ and the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

"This executive order is nothing but an attempt to trample people's rights to protect their air, water, and climate from polluting oil and gas pipelines", said Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Rachel Rye Butler.

The second executive order Trump signed yesterday streamlines the process for energy infrastructure that crosses global borders.

Trump's action is unlikely to jump-start widespread construction, since it's up to Congress - not the president - to restrict states' authority under the Clean Water Act. "We've ended the war on energy like never before". Energy investors vying for permits to build oil export terminals along the Gulf Coast say they have worked closely with Trump officials in a bid to speed regulatory reviews of facilities capable of loading supertankers. The order slated to be released Wednesday focuses on promoting projects with facilities or land transportation crossings at US borders. The pipeline will bring natural gas from producers in Pennsylvania to upstate NY, and is supported by labor unions. "The actions NY is taking not only impact NY, they are impacting the entire Northeast, because we can't get a pipeline through the state in order to provide gas service to the Northeast". Meanwhile, natural gas production is booming in Pennsylvania.

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