Trump Issues More Executive Orders Rolling Back Energy and Oil Regulations
President Trump issued two executive orders this past Wednesday that are meant to roll back energy regulations and promote fossil fuel development. In particular, the pair of executive orders are aimed at speeding up the permitting process for oil and gas infrastructure projects and curbing states’ ability to hold up approvals.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, companies must obtain certifications from a state before they can build federally-approved infrastructure, such as pipelines, within that state’s borders. States can refuse to issue the certifications if they determine the project will have a negative impact on water quality within their jurisdiction, even if the project has already received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The executive orders direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update its interim guidance for states to implement Section 401 of the Clean Water Act as to the scope of a water quality review, the types of conditions that must be met, and what constitutes a reasonable amount of time for states to review water quality certification applications.
The executive orders further call for a review of safety standards for liquefied natural gas export terminals and rules that prevent liquified natural gas from being transported by rail car. They also task the Energy and Transportation Departments with preparing reports on limitations to transporting natural gas to the Northeast and West Coast and order the Department of Labor to review existing guidance on fiduciary responsibility related to energy infrastructure investments.