- President Donald Trump signed two executive orders to speed up oil and gas pipeline projects.
- Trump seeks to curtail the ability of states, like New York and Washington, to kill vital energy projects.
- New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo blocked gas pipeline projects, triggering an energy crunch in the northeast.
President Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders aimed at speeding up oil and gas pipeline permitting, including limiting the ability of activists and states to block key energy projects.
Trump signed the orders Wednesday at an International Union of Operating Engineers’ training center near Houston. Some labor unions have pushed back against Democrats’ anti-fossil fuel agenda, including the recently introduced Green New Deal.
Trump ordered federal agencies to speed up permitting for pipeline projects, including asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to curtail state authority to block projects under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
The administration is responding to criticisms that some states have weaponized CWA permitting to block energy projects.
For example, New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has blocked a number of natural gas pipelines from running through his state, depriving the northeast of much needed energy supplies.
Across the country, Washington state, under Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, a 2020 contender, has blocked coal and oil export terminals planned along the Pacific coast. The state’s actions relied on a wide-ranging permit review that included factors that had nothing to do with water quality.
“President Trump is doing some spring cleaning on regulations used by no-growth advocates to stop infrastructure in its tracks and deny Americans the benefits our energy dominance promises,” Dan Kish, a distinguished senior fellow at the free market Institute for Energy Research, said in an email.
“President [Barack] Obama lamented the lack of shovel-ready jobs; President Trump is going straight to the operating engineers who will build our infrastructure to show how he will clean out the stables and make America stronger,” Kish said.
However, Trump’s ability to curtail pipeline obstruction is rather limited without action from Congress.
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