Manchin’s Mountain Valley Pipeline Will Get Green Light Debt Ceiling Deal

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In September 2019, a length of pipe waits in the ground along the route for the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, Virginia.


Sen. Joe Manchin’s months-long effort to greenlight the controversial subject Mountain Valley Pipeline — a plan to transport methane gas to West Virginia and parts of Virginia — is likely to prevail in both parties. Debt ceiling agreementEnraged environmental groups and some Democratic lawmakers.

Manchin helped secure an arrangement In the contract It would oblige federal agencies Approve all remaining permissions Approximately 300 miles of natural gas pipeline, as well as protect the project from further lawsuits.

A conservative Democrat from West Virginia is critical The Biden administration’s environmental goals drew praise from the White House and congressional Republicans this week.

“Suddenly, [the White House] They did their job, they negotiated. And Kevin McCarthy did his job by starting this negotiation by putting something first. So, I appreciate both sides,” Manchin said in an interview Tuesday on a West Virginia radio show. “Talkline.”

Linking the pipeline to legislation to be passed has delighted West Virginia lawmakers, but environmental groups are angry that Congress is stepping in after successfully challenging the pipeline in court. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned permits for the project, saying it violated the Clean Water Act.

“They’re actually changing the rules when we’re playing the game,” Crystal Cavalier-Keck, co-founder of the indigenous environmental justice group 7 Directions of Service, told reporters on a call Tuesday.

Environmental groups tried to carve out exemptions for the pipeline as “immoral” and “unconscionable,” and some blamed President Joe Biden’s administration and congressional lawmakers.

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“This administration’s claim to care about environmental justice and greenlighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline while gutting the National Environmental Policy Act is despicable and wrong,” said the Tennessee state lawmaker. Justin PearsonA Democrat told reporters Tuesday.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Manchin has been critical of Biden’s climate goals, but praised the White House and congressional Republicans this week for their work on the debt ceiling deal.

But White House officials defended Biden’s key climate legislation in debt ceiling negotiations and successfully pushed back Republican efforts to further weaken environmental protections.

“President Biden defended his historic climate legislation, blocked House Republicans from funding environmental justice programs, and secured an agreement to quickly get hundreds of clean energy projects online, while preserving the full scope of environmental reviews,” White House spokesman Abdullah said. Hasan said in a statement.

300 mile long pipeline will carry gas From the Marcellus and Utica Shale areas of West Virginia to Virginia. The pipeline will cross waterways and federal national forest lands, which is why it has to go through a complicated environmental permitting process that has led to several lawsuits.

The project has been severely delayed as multiple court challenges have been upheld by the Virginia-based Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has repeatedly tossed out the project’s permits on grounds of environmental violations.

“We get the same judges and they keep throwing it out,” former West Virginia University law professor James Van Nostrand told CNN last year. “Developers have done a horrible job of complying with the laws.”

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Manchin Try the green light The pipeline failed through a bill last year when Senate Republicans fumed over Manchin’s “yes” vote on the anti-inflation legislation, killing its chances. White House officials supported Manchin’s initiative last year, and climate and energy officials — including senior White House adviser John Podesta and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm — recently voiced support for approving the pipeline.

A White House official said the debt ceiling arrangement is good for the compromise that the White House and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck last year with Manchin to vote on the deflation legislation.

In recent months, the Biden administration has signed off on several federal permits needed for the project. But if the debt ceiling legislation is passed, it will go another step toward protecting a lawsuit-affected program from further legal action. The law allows only the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to hear challenges to the law.

The debt ceiling could be a last-ditch effort to undo the pipeline portion of the bill. Lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate have filed amendments to remove the pipeline from the law. Virginia Democratic Party Alliance In the US House supporting the initiative, as well as a Republican congressman From Texas.

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, plans to file a Senate amendment to do just that — but it’s unclear whether any of these efforts will succeed.

“Sen. Kaine is deeply disappointed by the bill that greenlights the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia, bypassing the normal judicial and executive review process that all other energy projects must go through,” a Kaine spokesman said in a statement.

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As the effort moves through Congress, environmental groups are planning a sit-in in front of the White House next week to oppose the pipeline.

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