Trump Signs Executive Orders Easing Oil and Gas Projects

by | Apr 12, 2019

Trump Signs Executive Orders Easing Oil and Gas Projects

(Photo: Conroe Oil Field in Montgomery County, Texas. Credit: Roy Luck, Flickr Creative Commons)

President Trump signed a pair of executive orders this week aimed at accelerating energy infrastructure projects in the United States. The move could make it easier for oil and gas companies to build pipelines over state agency objections, the Washington Post reported.

One order seeks to change DOT rules about transporting liquefied natural gas by rail and tanker truck while the other says that the president — not the secretary of state — has sole responsibility for approving or denying energy infrastructure such as a pipeline, the Washington Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa and Steven Mufson explained.

“Trump’s executive orders are a response to the oil and gas industry, which has complained that pipeline delays have slowed expanded production,” they wrote.

Environmentalists criticized the orders. “Pipelines like Keystone XL pose dangers to our water, our farms, and our climate, and those environmental risks cannot be ignored,” said Joshua Axelrod, a lawyer in the international program at NRDC. “We will continue to fight projects that tie us to dirty fossil fuels and will work to expand access to homegrown clean-energy solutions.”

Currently the United States produces nearly 12 million barrels of oil daily, about half from Texas, which is more than Saudi Arabia and Russia, the Houston Chronicle reported. “With the help of the people in this room, the United States is now the number one producer of oil and gas in the world,” Trump said, according to the paper.

CNBC’s Tom DiChristopher noted that Section 401 of the Clean Water Act says companies must obtain certifications from the state before building federally approved infrastructure within that state’s borders. He wrote that the executive order relating to this is likely to get challenged in court.

The president announced this executive action from Crosby, Texas, not far from the site of an Intercontinental Terminals Company’s petrochemical storage disaster last month. The blast and inferno killed one person, injured two others, and prompted multiple environmental lawsuits.

The 4th Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 13 – 15, 2019 in Denver. Learn more here.

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