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June 7, 2021

Biden Administration Could Enhance States’ Authority To Block Pipeline Projects

As The Hill has reported last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it will revise a regulation issued by the Trump administration that had set limits on the authority that U.S. states and local tribal governments have to block projects, including oil and natural gas pipelines, that could impact waters in their jurisdiction.

Under the federal Clean Water Act, projects that run through waterways are essentially subject to state veto. Before the Trump administration issued its final rule, that state power had come under criticism from Republicans, who argued that it could be used to stall important infrastructure projects.

The Trump regulation sought to limit the scope of what states are able to evaluate and also made it so that approvals for projects would take less time to complete. In order to undo the Trump rule, the EPA will have to put forward a new regulation in its place. As part of that process — during which the Trump rule will remain active —  the agency is planning to hold listening sessions with stakeholders in June.

Read the EPA’s announcement here.

Stay tuned to Connecting the Dots as this story develops.