Trump Executive Orders aim to speed up approval of fossil fuel projects

April 18, 2019

On April 11th, President Trump signed two new Executive Orders to promote oil and gas pipeline and rail shipment projects, subvert the Clean Water Act, remove permit requirements and review processes to expedite approval of pipelines.

This will likely be challenged in court, but as it stands is an administrative action directing federal agencies.

Here’s a summary of the policies and links to them in full

Order 1 (Promoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth) declares the need to increase the efficiency of, and remove barriers to, continuing fossil fuel development and transportation. Section 2 sets out the policy of the U.S.; Section 3 orders EPA to begin a process to revise state and tribal authority under Clean Water Act 401; Section 4 orders DOT to propose a rule to allow LNG to be transported by rail (previously thought too hazardous); Section 5 involves investigating whether proxy fights on divestment from fossil fuels in ERISA pension funds should be disallowed or changed; Section 6 is about federal rights of way; Section 7 requires a report on the barriers to a national energy market (focus on gas and New England but could expand) with 180 days; Section 8 is how the federal government can help states produce more fossil fuel energy; Section 9 is a required report on promoting economic growth in the Appalachian region, focused on petrochemical.

Order 2 (Issuance of Permits with Respect to Facilities and Land Transportation Crossings at the Int’l Boundaries of the U.S.) is about Trump taking cross-border approval of pipelines, bridges, other facilities away from the State Dep’t and giving to himself, avoiding NEPA and other federal laws that arguably don’t apply to the President.

Read the press release from the Power Past Fracked Gas coalition, and read more here.