By Tom DiChristopher
President Donald Trump will issue an executive order that aims to prevent states from blocking pipelines and other energy infrastructure by using authority granted to them under the Clean Water Act.
Senior administration officials on Tuesday previewed the action and several others, which are contained in two executive orders that Trump will sign during a trip to Texas on Wednesday. They are the latest in a series of executive orders by Trump meant to roll back energy regulations and promote fossil fuel development.
The new executive order represents a shot from the White House in the ongoing battle between beltway Republicans and Democratic governors opposed to fossil fuel developments in their states. It has been anticipated for nearly three months and is expected to be challenged in court.
The state powers are laid out in federal law, and a presidential order cannot override them, some lawyers and energy analysts have said.
Under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, companies must obtain certifications from the state before they can build federally-approved infrastructure, like pipelines, within that state’s borders.