McKinley Introduces Legislation to Advance Energy Infrastructure Projects

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Washington, April 10, 2019 | comments

Today, Rep. David B. McKinley P.E. (R-WV), introduced the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019, which will help advance energy infrastructure projects.

This legislation will clarify Section 401 of the Clean Water Act which is part of the permitting process for pipelines and other infrastructure projects. Currently, some states have used the Section 401 certification process to prevent and delay federally permitted projects.

“Building and modernizing energy infrastructure is vital for our economy and our energy security,” Rep. McKinley said. “States like Washington and New York have been abusing this law to block coal exports and delay pipeline projects. It is critical we clarify Section 401 and stop the abuse of this law on behalf of an ideological ‘keep it in the ground’ agenda.”

In addition to McKinley, the legislation introduced today is cosponsored by Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Greg Gianforte (R-Mo.), Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), and Pete Stauber (R-Minn.).

“The far-left’s politicization of the Clean Water Act has obstructed critical interstate commerce projects that produce great economic value to the West. The state of Washington halting development of the Millennium Bulk Terminal, which would export Wyoming’s clean-burning coal overseas, prevented the creation of new jobs, impeded industry’s expansion in the West, and severely undercut Wyoming’s economy under the guise of water quality. I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act, which would prevent other states from taking steps that harm Wyoming’s economy,” Rep. Liz Cheney said.

Specifically, the legislation will:

  • Clarify that the scope of a section 401 review is limited to water quality impacts only
  • Clarify that states, when evaluating water quality, can only consider discharges that would result from the federally permitted or licensed activity itself – not from other sources;
  • Require states to publish clear requirements for water quality certification requests
  • Require states to make final decisions on whether to grant or deny a request in writing based only on water quality reasons; and
  • Require states to inform a project applicant within 90 days whether the states have all the materials needed to process a certification request.

Read the Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2019 here.

President Donald Trump is expected to issue an executive order today aimed at speeding up the permitting process for pipelines.


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