Critics warn federal proposal could hinder states from protecting waterways

new jersey environment, water, stream

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – The federal Environmental Protection Agency is moving to streamline a section of the Clean Water Act that states have used to hinder development of major energy projects that could impair their waterways.

The rule proposal, announced Friday by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, is meant to comply with an executive order President Donald Trump issued this spring to limit the scope and time states would have to review energy projects, such as new oil and natural gas pipelines.

In Connecticut and New York, state officials have used Section 401 of the clean water law to effectively block major pipeline projects there. In New Jersey, critics of the controversial PennEast pipeline believe the provision is the best option for stopping the $1 billon, 120-mile pipeline that begins in Pennsylvania and ends in Mercer County …

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