U.S. EPA expected to grant 30 small refinery waivers on Friday

  • U.S. EPA expected to grant 30 small refinery waivers on Friday

U.S. EPA expected to grant 30 small refinery waivers on Friday

Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson today released a joint statement on the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rule that severely curtails the legal authority of states and tribes to protect clean water under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

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

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

NY lawmakers raised alarm at Trump's attempt to undermine their state's authority when he signed the executive order in April.

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". The administration has specifically criticized NY for its decision to delay and block an interstate gas pipeline, Williams Cos Inc's Constitution line from Pennsylvania, saying it has created bottlenecks and supply disruptions. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the project in 2014.

The rule follows executive order 13868 from President Donald Trump that sought to curb states' use of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to denial pipeline permits if it was possible for a pipeline project or other infrastructure project to damage nearby streams or lakes.

"It seems that not a day goes by when President Trump isn't spitting into the wind to try to stop the ongoing transition to a carbon-free future", a coalition of 20 NY state senators said in a statement at the time. He said it provides "needed clarity" from an industry perspective, and imposes "a federal agency "veto" when the agency determines a state 401 certification does not comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act".

"The Trump administration gives lip service to 'cooperative federalism, ' but it practices 'fair-weather federalism", he said.

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said the Trump EPA is "attacking the Clean Water Act because it's more interested in padding corporate polluter profits than ensuring communities have access to safe drinking water".