President Trump is doubling down on his commitment to facilitate oil and gas infrastructure projects. This time, he’s directing the Environmental Protection Agency to speed up the proposal approval process.
Energy project developers know that gaining regulatory approval is often the slowest and most frustrating part of the process. Trump is changing that by directing the EPA to release guidance on the Clean Water Act (CWA) that vastly streamlines the sluggish and cumbersome procedure of obtaining approvals from state and tribal authorities.
The biggest change in this new guidance comes in the form of an accelerated approval clock. President Trump wants the approval clock to start at the point when a developer requests a CWA certification from a state or tribe, as opposed to the current delay caused in waiting until the application is administratively complete. This important change will shave off weeks, if not months, of review time and significantly accelerate the CWA approval process for pipeline developers. However, there is significant debate as to whether the new guidance will alter the foot-dragging behavior of states such as New York, which may continue their attempts to block pipeline projects despite the new guidance.
An Ally in the White House
Unnecessary red tape and long wait times for project approvals in the past have bottlenecked infrastructure development. This handcuffs energy companies. It hurts consumers and local economies in energy-producing and downstream-energy-processing regions. It makes energy more expensive and limits job growth.
President Trump’s decisive action to eliminate regulatory barriers that hamper economic development further demonstrates that he stands with and for the thriving U.S. energy industry. The president recently proposed a pair of executive orders calling for nothing short of a full pedal-to-the-metal approach to ramping up oil and gas pipeline construction and other infrastructure throughout the U.S.
This recent guidance change only further demonstrates the president’s recognition of this key industry, and more positive momentum stemming from positive White House action is still likely.
The Edge: Adding Ammunition to the Energy Industry Arsenal
The energy industry has been saddled with ever-increasing regulation, legal challenges, and activism that has hindered pipeline construction for decades. In turn, this has prevented access to and development of one of our most valuable natural resources for the benefit of all citizens. Speeding up the transportation of natural gas and other energy sources will create more downstream opportunities. It will create more jobs. It will enable economies to flourish across the U.S. It’s time for the energy industry to educate and inform the public as well as local lawmakers on the social and economic benefits of an accelerated project approval process.