Scalise, Capito, Hoeven support EPA final rule improving Clean Water Act

U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and John Hoeven (R-ND) on June 1 applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule on Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to help accelerate the construction of energy infrastructure projects across the nation.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Monday announced that the agency’s final rule increases the transparency and efficiency of the Clean Water Act Section 401 certification process to promote the timely review of infrastructure projects while continuing to ensure that Americans have clean water for drinking and recreation. Section 401 gives states the authority to review whether a federally permitted project will impact the water quality of navigable waters within state borders, according to the EPA.

“I applaud President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler for their final rule that will prevent further abuse and politicization of Clean Water Act Section 401 authorities,” Rep. Scalise said, adding that some states have abused Section 401 authorities to block the construction of critical energy infrastructure projects for reasons unrelated to water quality.

“This new rule maintains strong standards for water quality, while also supporting the high-paying construction jobs needed to build pipelines, export terminals, and other critical energy projects,” Rep. Scalise said. “This important rule will provide commonsense reforms to ensure our nation’s waterways are protected, while putting an end to the radical tactics some states are using to pursue their ‘keep it in the ground’ agenda.”

Sen. Capito agreed, pointing out that the Clean Water Act has been abused by “liberal state governments” for years to politically attack the fossil fuel industry.

For instance, “the result of states like New York blocking new pipeline construction is that our fellow Americans must pay more for dirtier foreign energy, such as polluting fuel oil, often from hostile regimes like Russia,” said Sen. Capito. “Doing this when our country is so energy-rich is nonsensical, wasteful, expensive, and hurts our economy, our environment and American workers.”

The EPA’s new policy means that producers in her home state of West Virginia finally may have a fair shot at selling affordable natural gas to consumers, Sen. Capito said. “I’m glad the Trump administration is standing up for American energy independence and putting a stop to the political gamesmanship around Section 401,” she added.

Sen. Hoeven said that federal lawmakers have worked hard to advance regulatory relief to strengthen the nation’s economy, including for the development of critical energy infrastructure.

“It’s important that states and the federal government work together to ensure we can safely and efficiently deliver the U.S. produced energy needed to power homes and businesses,” Sen. Hoeven said. “We appreciate the administration’s action today to bring certainty to the infrastructure permitting process while preserving environmental stewardship, as we continue our efforts to protect America’s energy and economic security.”