Biden Admin Makes It Easier For Blue States To Block Oil And Gas Pipelines

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday that it would roll back Trump-era restrictions on the Clean Water Act’s rules that previously allowed states to block pipelines and other major federal projects, an agency press release said.

Former President Trump scaled back Section 401 of the Clean Water Act in 2020, a rule that had allowed New York to block the creation of a 124-mile natural gas pipeline, and Washington to prevent the building of a shipping port for coal, The Hill reported. The EPA reinstated that portion of the act with some modifications to “restore the fundamental authority granted by Congress to states” so that states, territories and tribes can veto government projects if they fear they will experience “adverse water-quality impacts,” according to the press release.

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting economically secure, healthy, and sustainable communities” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the press release. “To achieve this goal, we must protect our water resources while also making investments that move our nation forward. With EPA’s final Clean Water Act Section 401 rule, we are affirming the authority of states, territories, and Tribes to protect precious water resources while advancing federally permitted projects in a transparent, timely, and predictable way.”

The new EPA rule adds shorter timelines for states to veto government projects and clarifies that states can only examine the adverse effects of the project on their water quality, according to an EPA summary of the final rule. The law also gives more power to tribes and allows them to act with almost as much authority as states on federal projects, an EPA overview detailed.

Democrat governors rallied behind the new rule, claiming the move was a protection of their “precious” resource and “critical” to the “success of our communities,” according to the press release.

“In my state, clean water is the keystone of our economy – from tourism to seafood to small business growth,” Democratic Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in the press release. “I applaud the Biden Administration’s commitment to working in partnership with state leaders to protect our waters from harmful pollution.”

The EPA did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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