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Biden administration gives states more authority to block pipeline projects

1 min read

Rachel Frazin writes for The Hill about how the Biden administration is giving states and tribes more authority to block certain projects, like pipelines that run through their waters, on water quality grounds.

In a nutshell:

The Biden administration has introduced a new Environmental Protection Agency rule that grants states and tribes more power to block projects affecting water quality, such as pipelines crossing their waters. This reverses the previous Trump administration's efforts to limit state authority in this regard. Under the new rule, states and tribes can assess any aspect of a project's potential impact on water quality when deciding to approve or reject it. The EPA aims to restore state authority and streamline critical infrastructure project approvals. Democratic governors, including New Mexico's Michelle Lujan Grisham, have welcomed the rule, emphasizing its importance in safeguarding water quality. Additionally, the rule encourages early engagement between industry and states or tribes to facilitate project approval discussions.

Key quote:

“Our focus was on restoring [state] authority and providing an efficient path to critical infrastructure projects in this country,” Radhika Fox, the EPA’s top water official, told reporters on Thursday.

The big picture:

Oil spills in water bodies can contaminate drinking water supplies, endangering public health due to exposure to toxic substances. These spills pose a grave threat, disrupting delicate ecosystems. The long-term environmental damage from such incidents can be extensive, necessitating costly cleanup efforts and lasting ecological harm, making the prevention and swift response to such leaks imperative for safeguarding both human health and the environment.

Read the article in The Hill.

To learn more: Hilary Beaumont wrote for EHN about Indigenous women who risked arrest to fight Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota in 2021.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

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