Trump Administration Moves to Limit State Powers to Block Pipelines

Trump administration moves to limit state powers to block pipelines terminals

Protection Agency sign is seen on the podium at EPA headquarters in WashingtonMore

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018 on Friday, infuriating the ethanol and corn producers who blamed the Trump administration for bailing out the oil industry when US farmers were suffering due to trade tariffs and low prices.

The rule, according to the Wall Street Journal, would significantly weaken states' authority to cite Clean Water Act regulations to delay or block pipeline projects.

"What we've seen is states using the Clean Water Act...to hold up these projects", said Wheeler, who is expected to discuss the proposed rule on Friday during a National Association of Manufacturers event in SC.

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

The White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs completed its review of the proposed rule on Thursday.

The report, published Friday, was meant to examine the agency's response to Trump's "two-for-one" executive order, which requires that "for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination".

Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, states may deny permits if pipeline leaks could harm streams or lakes.

The Trump administration has criticized NY for its decision to delay and block an interstate gas pipeline, Williams Cos Inc's Constitution line from Pennsylvania, accusing the state of creating bottlenecks and supply disruptions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project in 2014. It comes four months after President Donald Trump ordered the EPA here to change a section of the U.S. Clean Water Act that states like NY and Washington have used to delay pipelines and terminals.

"As expected, the EPA has released a rule that unlawfully constrains state and tribal authority and violates both the spirit and letter of the law".

The tug of war between rivaling corn and oil industries has intensified over the past year on how the EPA administers the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a more than a decade-old federal policy that requires refineries to blend corn-based ethanol into their gasoline or buy credits from those that do.

The Sierra Club called the proposed rule "disastrous".

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement Friday that the Trump administration's proposal "should be seen for what it is: an egregious handout to corporate fossil fuel polluters". "This attack on one of our most fundamental clean water protections seeks to severely limit states' ability to protect their water, at a time when climate change, water scarcity, and pollution make access to clean water more important than ever".

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