Environmental, Health, and Climate Advocates Denounce Trump Executive Orders Attempt to Undermine States’ Clean Water Act Rights for Fossil Fuel Industry Gain

Yesterday, at the request of fossil fuel lobbyists, President Trump signed two executive orders that attempt to hinder states’ authority to protect clean water from fossil fuel pipelines and other projects. The move was intended to make it faster and easier for oil and gas projects to sidestep states’ concerns about impacts to water quality from large fossil fuel projects under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act. States have historically retained the right to evaluate projects’ impacts to state waterways, and states like Oregon and Washington have used this power to deny destructive projects that received lax reviews from federal regulators.

Advocates for climate action and public health in the Pacific Northwest denounced Trump’s move.

“Our states have the right to protect clean water. When the federal government panders to the fossil fuel industry, it’s up to our states to protect drinking water, fishing grounds, and our communities,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “If the federal government tries to force states to make Clean Water Act decisions without adequate information, we call on our state leaders to stand up to the Trump Administration and deny fossil fuel pipelines outright.”

“States must be able to protect the health of their residents with environmental reviews on whether fossil fuel projects will harm waterways,” said Damon Motz-Storey, Clean Energy Organizer with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Trump’s executive orders aim to violate states’ rights for the sake of fossil fuel companies seeking to profit off of expanded oil and gas infrastructure.”

“The Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and pipeline would harm nearly 500 waterways, become the largest source of climate pollution in Oregon, and threatens hundreds of rural landowners with eminent domain,” said Allie Rosenbluth, Campaigns Director at the Medford-based community organization Rogue Climate. “If the Trump administration is going to put the special corporate interests of the fossil fuel industry over the health and safety of our communities, it’s more important now than ever for Governor Brown to ensure Jordan Cove LNG is stopped for good.”

The Power Past Fracked Gas coalition works to protect the health and safety of Pacific Northwest communities and climate by accelerating an equitable transition off fossil fuels. Learn more: www.powerpastfrackedgas.org