Infrastructure plan should help NY pipeline expansion

Posted: February 21, 2018

Last week, the Trump administration released its infrastructure plan designed to stimulate the expansion of oil and natural gas pipelines across the U.S. (Washington Post, Trump’s infrastructure plan would make it harder to challenge pipelines).

“Among the changes sought by the White House in its infrastructure plan — a longshot for passage as it requires a lot of new government spending — is reducing the statute of limitations for challenging permitting decisions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) from six years to 150 days.

Changing NEPA, which requires that federal agencies prepare environmental reviews of major projects, has been a focus of Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, which held an oversight hearing on restructuring the 48-year-old law in November. The law has served as a model for environmental-review legislation in other countries, but Congress has amended NEPA only once, in 2015.”

This plan is a great step for New York’s energy future, which will require expansion in natural gas infrastructure to offset Indian Point’s closure. New York State has a long history in stalling natural gas pipelines, including the Constitution and Millennium pipelines which are necessary in supplying fuel to natural gas plants throughout the state.

President Trump’s infrastructure plan calls for amending the Clean Water Act to change the period for issuing those certifications to reduce the delay. If the plan is approved, this will drastically change the approval process for pipeline infrastructure throughout the Northeast, including New York State.