Disruption of waterways by pipeline construction can also result in drinking water contamination, as it has in the case of the Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania.

“You can have long term or permanent damage,” said Mall.

While some states may continue to require permits for waterways once they’re not subject to the federal law, others are unlikely to safeguard their own waterways from damage caused by pipeline construction. “We have no local protections,” Ashley Nicole McCray said of Oklahoma, which is home to one of the biggest pipeline hubs in the world. McCray, who ran for a spot on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission this year, has been raising concerns about the environmental impacts of the pipelines in her state.

“Because of the construction of so many pipelines, we’re losing traditional prairie lands and grasslands,” said McCray, who is a member of the Oglala Lakota nation. “The loss of land has serious impacts. When the vegetation is gone, the insects and animals that rely on it die, too. We’re seeing animals going extinct.”

The danger to endangered species is just one of the grounds on which environmentalists are likely to sue the government over the new rule once it comes out. Legal experts say that the rule may be stayed in parts of the country while the these questions are being hashed out.

This article first appeared at The Intercept and is published here with permission.