Trump Order Will Clear the Way for Stalled Constitution Pipeline

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump will sign an executive order to streamline energy projects like the Constitution Pipeline, a 124-mile natural gas pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York. Despite winning federal approval in 2014, the pipeline has yet to be built, thanks to New York regulators who denied the pipeline a permit under the Clean Water Act.

Trump will unveil the order at the International Union of Operating Engineers International Training and Education Center in Crosby, Texas, on Wednesday, Bloomberg News reported. Another executive order will promote cross-border energy infrastructure, like the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

New York's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") seems to have caused a natural gas shortage, making the Constitution Pipeline more important.

The Clean Water Act wasn’t "intended to give a state veto power," Dena Wiggins, president of the Natural Gas Supply Association, told Bloomberg News. "The actions New York is taking not only impact New York, they are impacting the entire Northeast, because we can’t get a pipeline through the state in order to provide gas service to the Northeast."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has insisted that "no corporation should be allowed to endanger our natural resources," so New York "will not relent in our fight to protect our environment."

Trump's pipeline order is unlikely to result in immediate construction, because only Congress has the authority to restrict states' authority under the Clean Water Act, and because many pipelines lack adequate Interior Department reviews. Even so, the order "will be construed as opening the door to overcoming these hurdles that states are throwing up," Christi Tezak, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, told Bloomberg.

States should encourage these pipelines, rather than hampering them. The people of New York need natural gas.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.