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Efforts to maintain domestic energy production continue

TOPEKA – (June 14, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is opposing the latest effort by the Biden administration to place additional bureaucratic burdens on the nation’s energy producers, a regulatory action that would further hamper efforts to maintain reliable sources of energy and combat record-setting fuel prices.

Schmidt, along with 20 other state attorneys general, recently sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, objecting to its proposed review of Nationwide Permit 12 (NWP 12). The permit is one of several such regulatory actions that govern the activities related to pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects, including construction and routine maintenance. The Corps is required to review NWP 12 every five years and seek public comments. However, this current review is the second in two years, and the attorneys general argue that the review is redundant and will 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.”

Schmidt argues that changing the rules will undermine projects that are already underway across the country. Congress specifically gave the Corps authority to review NWP 12 every five years, under the framework of the Clean Water Act. The last review was conducted in 2021, but 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.’”

The comments from Schmidt are the latest effort by the attorney general to push back against unnecessary policy changes by the Biden administration that have repeatedly undermined the nation’s energy security, resulting in higher fuel prices for every American.

Previous actions by Schmidt include:

  • October 2021: Filed comments opposing the Biden administration’s proposal to place a “fee” on methane emissions from oil and natural gas producers. The fee would increase the cost of energy production, if not curtail production and raise the price of fuel for Americans.  
  • March 2021: Filed litigation over the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. Schmidt joined 21 other states in arguing that allowing the project to be completed would allow the flow of oil and natural gas to U.S. refineries from Canada.
  • March 2021: Filed litigation over Biden’s use of an executive order to implement aspects of the “Green New Deal” without congressional approval. New rules and regulations would impose restrictions on vast sections of the American economy, further driving up prices and weakening the nation’s energy security.

A copy of the letter to the U.S. Army secretary for civil works regarding NWP 12 is available at https://bit.ly/3OfnHAL.

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