The Trump administration is considering taking steps to limit the ability of states to block interstate gas pipelines and other energy projects, according to three people familiar with the deliberations
The new initiative dovetails with expectations that President Donald Trump would use his State of the Union address to tout efforts to accelerate permitting and construction of oil and gas pipelines, though he’s postponed the speech and the exact timing of any announcement remains unclear.
The potential White House action was earlier reported by Politico.
Pipeline advocates who say states are abusing their authority under the Clean Water Act have advanced ideas for reining it in.
The issue, pipeline advocates say, is especially pronounced in the Northeast, where there isn’t enough capacity to send gas to New York City and other metropolitan areas in times of heavy demand. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has invoked the idea of using national security grounds to justify action on the issue.
“If a polar vortex comes into the Northeast part of the country, or a cyberattack, and people literally have to start making decisions on how to keep their family warm or keep the lights on, at that time, the leadership of that state will have a real reckoning. I wouldn’t want to be the governor of that state facing that situation,” Perry said last summer at the World Gas Conference in Washington. “We have to have a conversation as a country. Is that a national security issue that outweighs the political concerns in Albany, N.Y.?”