Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has ordered that the agency suspend work on the controversial degasification plant, the largest of its kind in the U.S., to review a potential water pollution impact.
The decision comes a day after Pruitt’s chief of staff, Tom Loeffler, told reporters the agency had “not completed any environmental impact statements yet.”
The EPA says in its announcement that “in the interim, the agency will continue to work with our partners in Congress to develop an alternative to the degasifiers.”
The new order was announced on Thursday by Pruitt, who is expected to sign it on Friday.
It’s the latest move by the Trump administration to curtail the nation’s largest water-intensive wastewater treatment plant.
The plant, at the Texas coast, has faced a host of criticism for its pollution and water quality issues.
It has also come under fire for being a source of carbon dioxide emissions that can exacerbate climate change.
Pruitt had previously been critical of the plant’s pollution, which includes runoff from power plants and farms, and its wastewater treatment plants.
The Environmental Protection Act requires the EPA to review wastewater and wastewater-treatment facilities that use “more than 10% of the nation, or less than 1% of total surface water,” and it can order the EPA’s administrator to review any wastewater treatment facility that’s 50% larger than the maximum allowed.