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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump issued executive orders today to slash regulations on construction of oil and gas pipelines and limit individual states’ right to halt them on environmental grounds.
The White House says it has “problems” with the way states are interpreting their powers under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, which has seen Washington state block construction of a coal terminal and New York refuse permission for a natural gas pipeline officials said failed to meet standards to protect streams and wetlands.
One executive order issues new guidelines for interpretation of the Clean Water Act, while the other hands authorisation of international projects to the president personally.
The Natural Resources Defence Council said the decrees would harm the environment.
“This is a disastrous idea, one that exposes the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and threatens to undercut the ability of state leaders to determine how best to protect their rivers, lakes, streams and wetlands,” it said.
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