In its first major act under the leadership of Trump appointee Neil Chatterjee, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission overruled a decision by the state of New York to block the construction of a natural gas pipeline through the Hudson Valley. FERC’s action is troubling for states that wish to use their authority under the Clean Water Act to make decisions on projects that could potentially threaten local water quality. According to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity and State Impact Pennsylvania, FERC has only turned down pipeline proposals twice in the past three decades. But overriding a state’s decision to do so? That could be a new low in the agency’s fast-tracking of fossil fuel development.
FERC’s greenlighting of the project pleased a pipeline industry that's been thwarted by New York under the administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has rejected water permits for three major gas pipeline projects in two years, even after FERC first approved them, according to E&E News.