EPA expands state authority to block pipelines

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rule on Thursday that allows states or tribes to consider any aspect of the project with the potential to impact water quality as it weighs whether to block a project. 


“Our focus was on restoring [state] authority and providing an efficient path to critical infrastructure projects in this country,” Radhika Fox, the EPA’s top water official, told reporters on Thursday.


It’s the reversal of a Trump-era rule that limited the basis on which a state could block a project.


The Trump rule came after blue states had used their Clean Water Act authority to block two high-profile projects: a coal shipping port in Washington state and a gas pipeline that would have run between Pennsylvania and New York. 


The Democratic governors of North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Mexico and Maryland praised the new Biden administration rule in written statements shared by the EPA.



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