Catskill Mountainkeeper says Trump is “stealing states’ rights" to protect clean water

Thursday, April 11, 2019

LIVINGSTON MANOR – President Trump signed an executive order while in Texas on Wednesday that the White House said rolls back regulations to the oil and gas industry.

Wes Gillingham, the associate director of Catskill Mountainkeeper headquartered in Livingston Manor, said the order “attempts to limit states’ abilities to block dirty and dangerous fossil fuel pipelines under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act.”

Section 401 requires applicants for a federal license or permit that may result in any discharge into waters of the state, including pipelines, to apply for and obtain a Water Quality Certificate from the Department of Environmental Conservation indicating the proposed activity will not violate water quality standards.

Gillingham said the executive order will negatively impact states’ abilities to regulate oil and gas pipelines.

“This is a clear example of him stealing states’ rights and their authority to protect their citizenry,” Gillingham said. He said in New York, the DEC relied on the Clean Water Act to shut down the Constitution Pipeline. Three federal courts upheld the DEC’s decision.

Gillingham noted the US Court of Appeals confirmed the DEC’s position, stating the agency made a rational decision under the Clean Water Act.

“If President Trump gets his way, his appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will be able to roll over any state that tries to protect its people.”

Gillingham said, “We can’t let the gas and oil companies poison our clean drinking water for profit. New Yorkers will not stand by and let the president fast-track pipelines that should not be built.”

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