Trump signs measures easing energy regulation while in Texas


Trump also is set to issue an executive order aimed at boosting cross-border energy infrastructure, following long delays on high-profile projects such as TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to two people familiar with the matter.

On a fundraising trip to Texas, Mr. Trump visited the International Union of Operating Engineers' International Training and Education Center in Crosby to promote private investment in energy infrastructure and streamlining permitting of projects.

Trump's orders direct his Environmental Protection Agency to change a part of the US clean water law that has allowed states to delay projects on environmental grounds.

The private Center for Biological Diversity said Wednesday's actions would mark the fourth time Trump has used executive orders to streamline permits for fossil-fuel infrastructure.

Trump signed the orders in between campaign fundraisers in San Antonio and Houston.

Critics vowed to oppose Trump's actions. The Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement that ny would "vigorously oppose any efforts to reduce states' ability to protect our water resources".

One of Trump's executive orders focuses on speeding up pipeline projects by making it harder for states to stop them on environmental grounds.

Jennifer Danis, staff attorney for Columbia Law School's Environmental Clinic, called the president's executive order "an unprecedented federal power grab" that squashes states' right to protect natural resources. The measure required companies to get certifications from states before building interstate pipelines and projects approved by the federal government.

Presently, the secretary of state has the ability to issue permits.

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Trump said he's ending a "war on American energy". A senior administration official told colleagues that there are problems with the way a few countries are translating Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

A lawyer with experience in energy regulation in the US government said it was unclear how much impact the orders would have.

Gillingham said, "We can't let the gas and oil companies poison our clean drinking water for profit".

Michael Brune, the chief of the Sierra Club, which sues the government frequently, said the group would fight the orders "with every tool at our disposal".

The Transportation Department would propose a rule that would allow liquefied natural gas to be shipped in approved rail tank cars. Some lawyers have noted the states' powers to grant or refuse permits for federal infrastructure projects are stipulated in federal law and a presidential order can not trump this.

That executive order isn't limited to pipelines, but would cover other kinds of energy infrastructure projects, too. Enbridge had an oil pipeline project from Canada to the United States halted by opposition in MI.

Eric Smith, Director of the Energy Institute at Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business, says that could mean more pipelines and more oil flowing to Louisiana from places like Canada.

The two orders will affect the construction of oil and gas pipelines, including the one that would help get the Keystone XL pipeline project completed by giving Trump authority to approve an energy infrastructure project that crosses an global border, in this case, the border between Canada and the United States.