President Donald Trump will issue an executive order that prevents states from blocking pipelines and other energy infrastructure by using authority granted to them under the Clean Water Act.
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.
The United States is producing more oil and gas than any point in its history, in large part because of the shale boom in the Permian Basin in West Texas. But producers have trouble getting all of that supply to customers due to constraints on the number of pipelines.
A White House aide said the orders are aimed at expanding oil-and-gas production, spurring more private infrastructure investment, streamlining permitting, and "further reducing regulations."
The goal is to allow the U.S. to "continue to be the undisputed global leader in crude oil and natural gas production for the foreseeable future."
"American families and businesses in states with energy restrictions will be able to access affordable and reliable domestic energy resources," the aide said.
He is scheduled to appear at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. The newspaper said he is “expected to speak about how he plans to aid the United States' booming domestic oil and gas production and further shift away from foreign imports.”
According to Steve Mufson at the Washington Post, “Critics say the move tramples states' rights inscribed in the Clean Water Act and upheld by the Supreme Court.”
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley said, “President Trump wants make it easy for Big Oil to build a pipeline in your community. The president is doing the bidding of oil and gas companies, rather than putting the safety and well-being of the American people first.”