AG urges Corps of Engineers to not redundantly review pipeline projects

FILE - Dakota Access Pipeline
FILE - Dakota Access Pipeline(kfyr)
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 12:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Attorney General Derek Schmidt has urged the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to not redundantly review pipeline projects and hamper efforts to fight record-setting gas prices.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt says on Tuesday, June 14, that he opposed the latest effort by President Joe Biden’s Administration to add requirements for the nation’s energy producers. He said the regulatory action would further hamper efforts to maintain reliable sources of energy and fight record-setting fuel prices.

AG Schmidt said he joined 20 other state attorneys general to send a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to object to its proposed review of Nationwide Permit 12. He said the permit is one of several regulatory actions which govern the activities related to pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects - including construction and routine maintenance.

Schmidt said the Corps is required to review NWP 12 every 5 years and seek public comment. However, he said the current review is the second in two years and he argues that the review is redundant and would harm the domestic energy industry.

“This so-called review won’t address the real concerns facing our citizens – prominently, historically high energy prices. It will instead inject unnecessary, duplicative, and inequitable red tape into an already bureaucratically laden process,” the attorneys general wrote. “Far from alleviating our current crisis, the Corps appears to be poised to take measures that will undermine NWP 12′s purpose and further jeopardize the Nation’s energy security and prosperity.”

The AG argued that changing the rules would undermine projects already underway across the nation. He said Congress specifically gave the Corps the authority to review NWP 12 every 5 years under the framework of the Clean Water Act.

Schmidt noted the last review was held in 2021, however, the Corps can reconsider NWPs at the request of outside parties.

“But this notice doesn’t indicate that outside parties have requested reconsideration, nor does it mention division or district engineers’ concerns with specific NWP authorization. Instead, it appears to invite both so that it can act quickly to remake NWP 12 according to its policy druthers,” the attorneys general wrote. “Because the Corps provides no explanation why it seeks these unlimited comments on NWP 12, we are left to conclude that the Administration is once again shopping around for pretextual problems to which it may apply its preordained ‘solutions.’”

Schmidt indicated that the comments are his latest effort to push back against unnecessary policy changes by the Biden Administration which he said have repeatedly undermined the nation’s energy security. He said this has resulted in higher fuel prices for every American.

The AG said his previous actions include the following:

  • October 2021 - Filed comments to oppose the Biden Administration’s proposal to place a fee on methane emissions from oil and natural gas producers.
  • March 2021 - Filed litigation over the cancellation o the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • March 2021 - Filed litigation over Biden’s use of an executive order to implement aspects of the Green New Deal without congressional approval.

To view a copy of the letter the AGs sent to the U.S Army secretary for civil works, click HERE.

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