Trump issues energy infrastructure orders affecting natural gas lines

President Trump signed a pair of executive orders intended to streamline energy infrastructure, according to the White House. The orders have to do mostly with liquified natural gas extraction projects and cross-border infrastructure permits.

“Inefficient energy infrastructure forces Americans to depend on energy that is more expensive and less reliable,” according to a White House press release.

Specifically, Trump directed the EPA to review and update the “outdated” guidance regarding certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

Section 401 deals with wetland and other waterway protection in states and tribal authorities. It enables states and tribes to “review and approve, condition, or deny any federal permits or licenses that may result in a discharge to waters of United States within their borders, including wetlands,” according to the EPA’s website.

The executive order states that any decision to issue or deny a permit shall be made solely by the president, according to the White House release. 

Trump also directed the Department of Transportation to update its regulations to reflect the modern liquefied natural gas development ongoing in the United States, according to the White House.

A more efficient cross-border permitting process is good for the American economy, according to the White House. 

“The executive order addresses regulatory and permitting barriers to financing new energy infrastructure and prioritizes the safe operation of existing infrastructure on federal lands,” according to the White House statement.

Tom Kuhn, Edison Electric Institute president said, “These executive orders are another example of the President’s ongoing effort to ensure that his administration is efficiently managing the siting and permitting processes across all of the federal agencies.”

“At all levels, energy infrastructure siting and permitting processes for electric transmission and distribution lines and natural gas pipelines often are burdensome, restrictive, and duplicative. The existing processes also create unnecessary and costly delays for companies and their customers, as well as introduce new operational risks,” Kuhn said.

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