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September 16, 2019

MSCI Coalition Argues For Consistency Among States For Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting

At a September 6 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing in Salt Lake City to gather comments on the Trump administration’s proposed new rules for natural gas pipeline permitting, Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) President Toby Mack cited the critical need for regulatory consistency from U.S. states when reviewing whether pipeline projects are in compliance with federal water quality standards during construction. (As a reminder, MSCI is a member of EEIA.)

According to EEIA, some U.S. states that want to block new pipelines have misapplied existing federal rules as a pretext to refuse construction permits. During testimony, Mack explained that “as a result of inconsistent interpretation of current regulations, some states’ administration of Clean Water Act section 401 permitting has created uncertainty in our companies’ ability to plan for the people and equipment needed to undertake construction projects requiring water quality certification. Rules have been misinterpreted to indefinitely delay or outright block permits for construction of vitally-needed infrastructure projects, or to deny certification on grounds having nothing to do with water quality.”

Mack emphasized that new natural gas pipelines are essential to the ongoing transition to clean, low-carbon and renewable electric generation both in the United States and around the world. The EPA currently is taking public comments on its proposed rules.

MSCI members who are interested in making their voice heard on this matter are urged to use the EEIA’s comment portal to do so. Click here to take action.