President Trump signed late April 10 two long-anticipated Executive Orders that he said would “cut through destructive permitting delays and denials” for energy infrastructure projects, such as natural gas pipelines and liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities.
The first Order, “Executive Order on Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth,” would seek to limit a state’s authority to invoke Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to prevent or interfere with an energy infrastructure project. The Order would also allow LNG to be transported by rail and tanker truck, a practice that is not currently permitted.
A special section of the Order also seeks to spur petrochemical industry growth in Appalachia:
Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, shall submit a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, describing opportunities, through the Federal Government or otherwise, to promote economic growth of the Appalachian region, including growth of petrochemical and other industries. This report also shall assess methods for diversifying the Appalachian economy and promoting workforce development.
The President’s second Order, “Issuance of Permits with Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the International Boundaries of the United States,” transfers final decision-making for infrastructure projects involving international borders (with Canada or Mexico) from the Secretary of State to the President.
ABRA released the following statement in response to the two Executive Orders:
“The Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 conservation organizations in Virginia and West Virginia, is gravely disappointed by President Trump’s Executive Orders of April 10 that purport to strengthen the nation’s energy infrastructure. The proposals reflect backward thinking and ignore the growing relevance of energy conservation and renewable sources of energy as necessary solutions for meeting the nation’s future energy needs. Furthermore, the Orders lower the standards of environmental and public safety that should be heeded with any infrastructure project. These Orders are not in the best interest of the greater public good.”
President Trump’s remarks associated with the two Executive Orders is available here.