The Constitution Pipeline, a 125-mile project that would transport natural gas from Pennsylvania throughout the Northeast, has been in limbo since 2016 when the state of New York blocked it through the Clean Water Act. But in April, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at keeping states from being able to halt pipelines and other energy infrastructure projects for environmental reasons. The order could change the fate of the Constitution Pipeline and other projects around the country.
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, according to CNBC.com, which further explained that states can refuse to issue the certifications if they determine the project will have a negative impact on water quality within their jurisdiction, even if the project has gotten the green light from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Trump’s executive order would change the rules surrounding that section of the Clean Water Act and having the Environmental Protection Agency issue new permitting guidance to states.
The order has refueled the debate about this project and others, according to The Daily Star.