June 2, 2020. An important final rule issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should end abuse of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act by several states trying to block natural gas pipelines needed to provide safe, affordable and reliable service to millions of Americans. The American Gas Association (AGA) supports this new regulation because it protects water quality and allows families and businesses access to clean natural gas.

“Denying the essential energy provided by natural gas pipelines is hurting businesses and families,” said Karen Harbert, AGA President and CEO. “As we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, natural gas is delivering safe, reliable and clean energy to our homes, businesses and frontline workers at affordable prices. The new final rule will end the practice of states misusing Section 401, putting political ideology and the goal of blocking natural gas pipelines over the important task of protecting our nation’s water quality. The new rule will enable Americans, and our nation, to continue to benefit from abundant, affordable natural gas.”

EPA’s rule aims to clarify the scope and timing of the 401 certification process to promote greater investment in, and certainty for, national infrastructure projects while continuing to protect local water quality.