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Trump to issue executive orders seeking to speed up oil and gas projects



President Trump is planning to issue a pair of executive orders on Wednesday to "help American energy companies avoid unnecessary red tape" by making it easier for companies to build oil and gas pipelines and harder for state agencies to intervene, according to the White House

The executive action seeks to rein in states' power by changing the implementation instructions issued by federal agencies and changing the deadlines for state action, according to a form Trump administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his relationships. The order would alter transportation department rules to allow the shipment of liquefied natural gas by rail and tanker truck, he said. And it would seek to limit shareholder ballot initiatives designed to alter companies' policies on environmental and social issues.

A second order, focused on cross-border energy projects, would clarify that the president is solely responsible for approving or denying pipelines and other infrastructure that cross international boundaries. The secretary of state has previously played that role.

Critics said that the president's orders would be on authority delegated to the states under Section 401

of the Clean Water Act and other congressional legislation. That authority has been upheld twice by the Supreme Court. Trump's move would benefit, among others, Energy Transfer Partners, whose chief executive, Kelcy Warren, was a major contributor to Trump's campaign.

The orders are a response to the oil and gas industry, which has complained that pipeline delays have slowed down. expanded production. Shale gas in Pennsylvania's giant Marcellus formation has been unable to reach New England markets, and TransCanada has been unable to supply the Nebraska Public Service Commission or federal courts to allow the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry low-quality crude oil produced in Canada's tar sands region

"These two executive orders will promote the development of new energy infrastructure, create jobs and provide more affordable, reliable energy," said a senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss the orders before they are signed.

The construction of oil and gas pipelines has become a flash point for the environmental movement, which has launched high-profile protests and court battles to block pipelines not only for concerns about local pollution but also as Part of a strategy to keep oil and gas fossil fuels in the ground.

Burning those fossil fuels contributes to climate change, and climatologists say that the administration should be discouraging, not encouraging, more widespread use of them. The scientific consensus is that global carbon dioxide emissions must be cut in half by 2030 to avoid severe global warming.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) worked on a pipeline project at the Canadian company Enbridge, while the state attorney general said a law enabling it was unconstitutional. Separately, Enbridge is supposed to go to court in Minnesota to restart another line.

In Virginia, the Southern Environmental Law Center has won a string of legal victories disrupted on the $ 7 trillion, 600-mile gas pipeline. 19659011] Moreover, state leaders have urged Trump not to try to override state agencies. Doing so, said a letter from the Western Governors Association, "would have been injurious to the division of state and federal authorities established by Congress." The group said that the states had exercised their authority. . . efficiently, effectively and equitably. "

" This is a disastrous idea, one that exhibits the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and threatens to undercut the ability of state leaders to determine their rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands, "The Natural Resources Defense Council said in a statement Tuesday.

The NRDC said that" when it comes to protection protections in any number of areas, Republicans in Washington often use the excuse that state leaders should have the broadest authority possible. However, once states take action to protect their environment, these so-called federalists. ”

The executive order Trump will sign the secretary of transportation to submit reports to the president assess the economic effect of the inability to transport natural gas and other domestic energy to New England and to the West Coast, a senior administration official said.

Trump will speak Wednesday in oil and gas Texas at the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Tex. He is expected to repeat themes he’s sounded before, including U.S. “Energy dominance,” infrastructure and economic growth. And it is expected to claim credit for the expansion of U.S. One of the nation's biggest pipeline companies is Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the controversial Dakota Access and Rover gas pipelines. Both lines were ultimately completed.

But not without a fight. Protests along the Dakota Access route lasted for weeks. And the Rover pipeline triggered a fight with Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency. The company reported 18 leaks and twice spent large quantities of drilling fluids in a two pristine Ohio wetlands while constructing a $ 4.2 billion natural gas pipeline. The drilling fluid – a muddy substance used to lubricate and cool equipment – is not toxic. But the state EPA and environmental groups were worn by the two, which covered a fixed area of ​​8½ football fields, could smother aquatic life in the wetlands.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stopped working on the pipeline for an hour but later let it proceed

Energy Transfer Partners chief executive Warren donated $ 100,000 to Trump's campaign and $ 250,000 to his inaugural committee. Earlier, he had given $ 5 million to Rick Perry's political action committee. Perry, then a presidential candidate, is now energy secretary.

While in Texas, Trump will also visit San Antonio and Houston for political fundraisers.


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