Late this summer, we asked our members to join us in Washington, D.C, to rally against a dirty side deal made between Democratic leadership and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. The deal for Senator Manchin’s vote on the Inflation Reduction Act was to attach dangerous changes to our permitting system to a must-pass bill that funds the government – a Continuing Resolution. That plan received enough backlash that he had to withdraw the language from the Continuing Resolution, and the dirty deal failed.
Now it’s back – just in time for the holidays. This holiday season, Senator Manchin is making it clear that he’s thankful for his friends in the fossil fuel industry, and to show his gratitude, he is pushing to pass his permitting “reform” once again.
Senator Manchin’s gifts to the fossil fuel industry include fast-tracking permit approvals by limiting environmental reviews, public input, and judicial review for energy projects. Twenty-five energy projects must be designated as projects of Strategic National Importance, which are prioritized in the permitting process. In the program’s first seven years, at least five of these projects of strategic national importance must be fossil fuel projects. Another of Manchin’s presents this year is the authorization for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is required under his legislation. If made law, the package would radically weaken safeguards our communities depend on to protect their health and the environment.
Senator Manchin is again trying to attach his permit “reform” to a must-pass piece of legislation, which is not the democratic process. Dramatic changes to necessary environmental protections belong in a stand-alone bill – not attached to one that is unrelated. When there is an opportunity for legislators to vote on the merits, it is much easier for them to vote no. Senator Manchin knows this, which is why he keeps pursuing an undemocratic path.
While there is already plenty of coal in the stockings hung by the fossil fuel industry, let’s make sure that is all they receive this holiday season. Tell Pennsylvania Senators that they should not support any effort to pass changes to environmental permitting on the back of a bill that must pass by clicking here! [This timely action has been removed, with the blog left here for educational purposes.]