[Vision2020] NRDC 4-11-19 "Trump Threatens States with Two Executive Orders Favoring Fossil Fuels"
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Mon Apr 15 22:20:04 PDT 2019
Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
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One of the most obvious propaganda tactics of the Trump administration is
to dominate the media echo chamber(s) with a barrage of outrageous
statements that the infotainment profit/rating driven "news" must debate
and repeat endlessly, while in the background critical decisions are being
made that should be reported and debated but are largely off the mainstream
media radar. Like this news from the National Resources Defense Council:
Trump Threatens States with Two Executive Orders Favoring Fossil Fuels—Again
April 11, 2019 Kimberly Ong <https://www.nrdc.org/experts/kimberly-ong>
The move is yet another attempt to expedite fossil fuel development, this
time by limiting states’ ability to protect their water as well as making
it easier to approve cross-border dirty energy pipelines.
In a transparent attempt to restrict states’ powers to protect their own
streams, rivers, wetlands, reservoirs, and springs, President Trump signed
an executive order
to limit states’ authority to enforce its water quality standards against
interstate fossil fuel infrastructure like fracked gas pipelines. He also
signed a separate executive order designed to ease the approval process for
According to Trump’s remarks, at least one of these executive orders was
issued in direct response to New York governor Andrew Cuomo
<https://www.apnews.com/967486d0368e447d80e75d9eae2d3f67>'s enforcement of
the Clean Water Act to block several natural gas pipelines in New York
State, particularly Constitution Pipeline
Before a natural gas pipeline is built in any state, it must first obtain,
among other things, a water quality certification issued by the state in
accordance to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. This ensures that the
pipeline will meet state water quality standards. If a state denies this
certification, the pipeline cannot be built there.
This state role is essential to protect water quality—in some cases, state
laws prohibit pollution that might be allowed under federal law. And states
have unique knowledge of local conditions and stakeholders that may not be
fully considered by federal agencies.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, states have one year from the
date they receive a project’s application to decide whether the project
will meet state water quality standards. Some of the projects subject to
review are massive, like fracked gas pipelines, and require very detailed
analysis of the effects on nearby waterbodies.
One of the two executive orders instructs the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency to, among other things, revisit the timeline in which states have to
review fracked gas pipelines and to limit the scope of state water quality
reviews. This contravenes the very purpose of section 401 of the Clean
Water Act, which is to empower states to enforce their own water quality
standards against interstate projects. In other words, Trump is trying to
limit the information that states and the public can gather on impacts to
clean water, as well as the time they have for doing so.
To date, New York has denied water quality certification to three
and Valley Lateral
All but Constitution’s denial has been voided by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, which determined that New York took too long (over
one year) to make these determinations.
One natural gas pipeline—the Northeast Supply Enhancement
or Williams—is still under review by New York and New Jersey. Williams
would cut through some of the most important bodies of water of these two
states—Raritan Bay and the lower New York Bay—and involve the construction
of more than 17 miles of fracked gas pipeline within New York waters and
more than 6 miles of pipeline in New Jersey waters. (NRDC submitted comments
New York to deny 401 water quality certification.) It is essential that
both states have the time they need to carefully evaluate the impacts of
The intent of Trump’s executive orders is clear. In a time when we should
be rapidly transitioning off fossil fuels in favor of clean energy, Trump's
orders are taking us back in time and leaving communities vulnerable to the
excesses of an industry that has repeatedly violated state water quality
standards across the country.
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