The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a change that would allow states to recover more legal authority to block pipelines and other energy projects which threaten clean water. It’s President Biden’s and EPA Administrator Michael Regan’s latest reversal of a major Trump Administration action that favored the fossil fuel industry and took power away from state, local, and tribal governments to regulate emissions and projects that affect the air and water.
The Clean Water Act, which came under attack last year, includes authority for states and tribal governments to block federal clean water permits (including for projects such as pipelines) by concluding the project will harm the state’s waters and wetlands. However, the Trump Administration added procedural hurdles to the states’ review process in order to make it harder for them to block pipelines and similar projects.
North Carolina’s own Regan said his agency “would not hesitate to correct [Trump Administration] decisions that weakened the authority of states and tribes to protect their waters.″ Regan added he is committed to working with state, tribal, and local officials to protect clean water while encouraging “sustainable economic development and vibrant communities.″