“The Trump administration is considering executive actions to boost the proliferation of pipelines across the United States and limit state interference on water permitting,” according to an in-depth article published January 24 in the E&E News publication Energywire. The report is based on multiple energy industry sources. According to Energywire:
Sources expect any executive action to broadly apply to infrastructure permitting, with a focus on easing transport of fossil fuels from the wellhead to market, either domestically or internationally. Doing so could include facilitating construction of pipelines across international borders, as well as LNG exports.
The industry source with direct knowledge of the executive action noted that its broader focus was to leverage “energy dominance” both geopolitically and to enhance the U.S. economy. The administration is looking at a variety of ways to eliminate or ease obstacles to those objectives.
Continuing, the Energywire article states:
EPA water chief David Ross told the Environmental Council of States’ annual meeting this fall that the agency is considering changing policies for how much time states have to make their certification decisions — a move that many state groups including the Western Governors’ Association, Association of State Wetland Managers and Association of Clean Water Administrators have already expressed concerns about.
Under the Clean Water Act, if states don’t make their certification decisions “within a reasonable time” set by federal agencies, they waive their authority and a project can proceed without state action. The law itself is vague about when that clock starts, and EPA has previously interpreted it to mean the countdown begins once a state decides a permit application is complete.