Washington, D.C. – Yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency finalized new procedures that will, if upheld by the courts, significantly curtail the ability of states to reject proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects under provisions of the Clean Water Act. These water quality provisions have been utilized repeatedly by state officials to deny permits for new interstate pipelines and other large-scale fossil fuel projects on the basis of potential harm to fresh water sources. The new rule would, among other things, greatly narrow the scope by which state authorities could judge new projects, and limit their full review period to one year. In response, Food & Water Action Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:
“Donald Trump and his administration are nothing if not vindictive, spiteful and capricious. This new rule from the EPA, which seeks to undermine a bedrock environmental law and hamstring the rights of states to protect communities from water contamination and climate change, is just the latest example. After all, this move from Trump is a direct response to repeated actions by concerned local communities and responsible state officials in New York and elsewhere to reject dangerous fossil fuel projects that have no business being built where they’re not wanted.
“Like so much of what Trump is pursuing now, this is a targeted strike against environmental justice and racial justice. It’s a fact that people of color and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by the air pollution, water contamination and climate chaos produced by fossil fuel projects. As we’re seeing so clearly now across society, this president and this administration are at war with justice and wellbeing – particularly for the communities that lack these fundamentals the most.
“We will be pursuing all avenues available – legal, electoral and otherwise – to ensure that states have the right to reject fossil fuels as they see fit, and support vulnerable communities everywhere seeking to protect themselves from this malicious administration.”
Contact: Seth Gladstone - sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org, 917.363.6615