President Trump has enacted an executive order to ensure greater consistency and regulatory certainty in the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects.
The move will help relieve the backlog of pipeline projects and move forward the country’s energy revolution. In the order President Trump says: ‘To enable the timely construction of the infrastructure needed to move our energy resources through domestic and international commerce, the Federal Government must promote efficient permitting processes and reduce regulatory uncertainties that currently make energy infrastructure projects expensive and that discourage new investment.’
Following the announcement, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that it will be taking ‘affirmative steps to promote nationwide consistency and regulatory certainty under a core Clean Water Act programme’.
The EPA has said that it will engage with its state and tribal partners to identify ways in which it can modernise the 401 certification process under the Clean Water Act and accelerate infrastructure projects.
Section 401 provides states and authorised tribes with an opportunity to evaluate and determine whether the impacts of proposed federally licensed and permitted projects meet local water goals and these rules have not been updated in 50 years. These permits are often needed for pipeline construction projects crossing bodies of water. It also clarifies the guidance for presidential permits on cross-border pipelines.
The American Petroleum Institute says that this move will enable the energy industry to provide clean and affordable fuels to communities and that the damage from restrictive energy policies is becoming more apparent.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers says: ‘Bureaucratic barriers have crippled an otherwise strong regulatory regime, preventing the construction of essential infrastructure and unnecessarily contributing to an energy disparity in America.’