20 States Sue EPA Over Rule Limiting States from Blocking Pipeline and Power Plant Projects

Jul 24, 2020

by ASME.org

20 states have come together to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a Trump Administration rule finalized in June that limits states’ ability to block pipelines. The rule undoes provisions of the Clean Water Act that allows states to veto pipeline and power plant projects that may harm local water quality. EPA reasoned that the new rule would ensure greater transparency and more timely review of projects. The rule accelerates the timeline and requires that states file an explanation of their veto within a year, which states say is too quick of a turnaround for them to conduct a comprehensive environmental assessment of potential project risks. 
The 20 states joining the suit include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Some suing states claim that the change violates the Clean Water Act and decades of legal decisions and precedents. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement that the rule “unlawfully restricts the ability of states like Virginia to even review, let alone impose important conditions and environmental protections, on projects that could cause harm.”

ASME will follow any developments regarding changes to the Clean Water Act and continue to report on the matter in this newsletter.

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