Wednesday, 22 May, 2019

Executive orders: Trump signs orders for 'revival' of US energy

Stalled Pennsylvania New York gas pipeline could get a boost from Trump’s executive order A worker helps finish a newly-welded gathering pipeline in Greene County
Deanna Wagner | 13 April, 2019, 02:06

President Donald Trump's support for shifting more power to states on Wednesday faded next to his affinity for oil and gas production, as he aimed to make it harder for states to block pipelines and other energy projects due to environmental concerns. The action came after officials in Washington state and NY used the permitting process to stop new energy projects in recent years. Before going forward with an energy undertaking in the state, companies must obtain certification under this section.

Darren Suarez with the Business Council of NY says three pipeline projects in particular - the Millennium, Constitution, and Northern Access pipelines - have been stalled by NY water quality reviews.

The order would have the Environmental Protection Agency review its guidance on this section and make sure that "states exercise their authority consistent with the intent of the statute and with existing case law", CNBC reported, quoting a senior government official.

One order also would allow natural gas to be transported by rail and tanker truck.

"My action today will cut through the destructive permitting and denials", Trump said during the signing of the executive orders at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center, in Crosby, Texas.

In 2017, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat and 2020 candidate for president, denied a water permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, a coal export facility that would have expanded the ability of companies to send Western coal to Asian markets.

The secretary of state has the ability to issue licenses for cross-border infrastructure such as pipelines.

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The transfer follows Trump's decision last month to issue some fresh permit for its Keystone XL petroleum pipeline - two decades after he first approved it and over a decade after it was first proposed. He said in NY, the DEC relied on the Clean Water Act to shut down the Constitution Pipeline.

"My first order will speed up the process for approving vital infrastructure on our nation's border", Trump said.

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.

Trump said the approval process for new pipelines will take "no more than 60 days" under the new orders, adding that "the president, not the bureaucracy" will make the final decision. New Yorkers are proud to have intervened to stop these unneeded assaults on our health and communities in the past.

Fights over state permits have led to years-long delays and protracted federal court battles, with some analysts urging investors to consider " elevated risk premiums" in making decisions about projects created to cross some particularly challenging states.

Ong maintained that states must play an essential role in protecting their own waters. Many states in the South, Midwest, and Northeast have also been welcoming to pipeline projects, though some are starting to change their tune.

The two orders will affect the construction of oil and gas pipelines, including the one that would help get the Keystone XL pipeline project completed by giving Trump authority to approve an energy infrastructure project that crosses an global border, in this case, the border between Canada and the United States.