New executive orders would circumvent environmental review for pipeline projects, undermine water quality rules


Washington (April 11, 2019) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement regarding the two executive orders issued this week by President Donald Trump. One executive order would allow the President to unilaterally approve or deny permits for construction, connection, operation, and maintenance work on international pipeline projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, bypassing the State Department and circumventing the need for environmental reviews. The other executive order would make it harder for states to protect their water quality and the environment by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide new guidance on states’ use of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which allows states to withhold certifications or impose conditions on federal permits for activities that could result in discharges to bodies of water. The attack on Section 401 authority was opposed by the Western Governors’ Association earlier this year.


“This Trump pipeline power grab will only benefit the American Petroleum Institute and Big Oil’s bottom line,” said Senator Markey, Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force. “These executive orders trample states’ rights and completely undermine the role that science and environmental reviews play in making policy and permitting decisions about pipelines projects across the country. It is Congress—not the President—that has the authority to make changes to states’ powers under the Clean Water Act. I will continue to fight this effort to turn states and communities across the country into Big Oil playgrounds.”