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New Rule Could Keep Regulators From Rejecting Oil, Gas Permits

EPA order

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new rule on Friday that would keep state regulators from stalling indefinitely their approval or disapproval of oil and gas pipeline projects, according to EPA Administration Andrew Wheeler in a press release.

The rule would not prompt the states to rule in favor of pipeline projects—it would simply require states to render a denial within a year to keep pipeline projects from ending up in regulatory purgatory.

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. The new EPA rule would require states to issue a 401 denial within a year. It also stipulates that a 401 review “must be limited to considerations of water quality.”

“When implemented, this proposal will streamline process for constructing new energy infrastructure projects that are good for American families, American workers, and the American economy,” Wheeler said in a press release.

Pipeline projects in the US and Canada have been a hot button political issue, with the Trump Administration accusing progressive states of either delaying or blocking pipeline projects for political gain, and democrats accusing EPA of weakening state powers in matters when it suits them to do so.

Despite the United States being well on the path to energy independence, pipeline projects in the United States have served as the oil and gas industry’s resident dog to be kicked, depressing prices as the ability to move oil and gas outstrips the ability to produce it.  

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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