“President Trump is curtailing the public’s voice in an attempt to force dirty energy projects on communities across America,” said Joshua Axelrod, a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Pipelines like Keystone XL pose dangers to our water, our farms and our climate.”
But oil executives said the orders would give Washington greater flexibility as it tried to limit oil exports from Venezuela and Iran while keeping gasoline prices low.
“These are things that are good for our country and for the energy business to continue to help us be energy independent,” said Dale Redman, chief executive of ProPetro, a major Texas oil service company.
Delays in pipeline construction have long bedeviled oil and gas companies, constraining production growth in West Texas and elsewhere. But new pipelines crossing Texas will be completed at the end of this year and in 2020 without much federal intervention.
In some cases, oil field economics, not federal policy, have stood in the way of new pipelines. Many energy companies have been burning gas that bubbles up with crude oil — a process known as flaring — because gas prices are so low that it would not be profitable to build pipelines to bring all of it to market.
But several states have put up roadblocks to Mr. Trump’s efforts to champion fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. Washington State has blocked the building of export terminals vital to the survival of the Western coal industry at a time when utilities are shutting down coal-fired power plants. And Michigan last month halted an underwater oil pipeline project proposed by Enbridge, a major Canadian energy company, to import oil from Canada.
Mr. Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday, “President Trump’s executive order is a gross overreach of federal authority that undermines New York’s ability to protect our water quality and our environment.”
Wednesday’s orders direct federal officials to pursue policies designed to expedite projects. For example, the president is telling Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to review barriers to financing energy projects, including decisions by universities and pension funds to divest from oil, gas and coal companies. And he is instructing the Transportation Department to allow freight railroads and tanker trucks to haul liquefied natural gas, a growing export commodity.