Posted by 02 June 2020
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule that will limit the ability of states to use federal law to delay or stop pipeline projects.
Under a change to the regulations that administer the Clean Water Act, states will have one year to voice objections to pipelines that cross their waterways. The new rule also says that these objections must be limited to water quality concerns. If states take longer than a year to complete their review, or they include other matters in their objection, the federal government will issue permits to the pipeline company.
The Trump Administration accused states of using this law to impose years of delay on energy infrastructure projects. Officials also said that these states were going beyond the bounds of the law to stop or delay pipelines based on criteria that had nothing to do with clean water. EPA officials argue that this change in the rules will allow states to voice legitimate concerns over projects but will not give them power to drag out the process and stop important national infrastructure from being built.
Environmentalists and some state officials are strongly opposed to this new move. They contend that this is a way for the Trump Administration to favor fossil fuel companies over environmental concerns. They also note that this is diminishes states’ power to protect their waterways.
Groups opposed to the new rule have vowed to fight it in court.
Do you think that states should have the power to delay pipeline projects for multiple years over environmental concerns?