CROSBY, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump’s support for shifting more power to states on Wednesday faded next to his affinity for oil and gas production, as he aimed to make it harder for states to block pipelines and other energy projects due to environmental concerns.
At the urging of business groups, Trump signed two executive orders designed to speed up oil and gas pipeline projects. The action came after officials in Washington state and New York used the permitting process to stop new energy projects in recent years, prompting complaints from Republican members of Congress and the fossil fuel industry.
“Too often badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies and radical activists,” Trump complained before signing the orders.
The Trump administration insisted it was not trying to take power away from the states but, rather, trying to make sure that state actions follow the intent of the Clean Water Act. Under a section of the law, companies must get certification from the state before moving ahead with an energy project.
Washington state blocked the building of a coal terminal in 2017, saying there were too many major harmful effects including air pollution, rail safety and vehicle traffic.