States’ denial of water quality permits angered the fossil fuel industry
Senate Republicans introduced legislation on Tuesday that would take regulatory power away from states in order to expedite the approval of energy infrastructure projects that are facing stiff resistance from the public.
The bill, dubbed the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2018, is part of an effort by the Trump administration and its allies in Congress to reduce the ability of states to use their authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act to prevent the construction of projects such as pipelines or coal export terminals.
“The water quality certification process is being abused by a few states in order to delay important projects,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said Tuesday in a statement.
Along with Barrasso, the bill was introduced by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Steve Daines (R-MT). They described their proposed changes to the Clean Water Act as placing “procedural guardrails and requirements on states as they process requests for certification to prevent future abuses.”