August 2, 2022

Biden and Manchin Make Deal to Advance Mountain Valley Pipeline

The White House has agreed to advance the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) as part of a permitting reform plan in Congress, Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said yesterday.

Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden agreed to pursue permitting reform legislation so Manchin would support a budget reconciliation package on climate change.

Legislation would require federal agencies to take “all necessary actions” to permit the pipeline natural gas project slated to run through Virginia and West Virginia, according to a summary shared with E&E News.

Wild Virginia has the following statement about potential moves in Congress to promote the Mountain Valley Pipeline: 

We are opposed to any legislation that would negate the involvement and efforts of the public, which has been involved in the reviews of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for the past 8 years. The federal government is supposed to be looking out for the broader public good, not the narrow interests of corporations that would sacrifice our water quality, our precious rare and sensitive species, and our public lands for profit. We expect our elected officials to fight for our right to determine the future of our natural resources and our communities, which have already been grievously harmed by this reckless project.

Further, it would be irresponsible to attempt to override the requirements of our bedrock laws – the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and others. Those historic laws were created five decades ago to enforce our values and principles, for protection of the public and our environment. It would be a betrayal for Congress to pass a sweetheart law for a fossil fuel company.

The delays that Mountain Valley Pipeline has experienced were caused by federal agencies that failed to do the jobs they are obligated to do. The company and many of those agency officials know that the pipeline can’t be built while meeting the current laws by which all other projects are required to abide. That’s why they tried to cut corners. It would be a tragedy for our elected officials to now come along and skip these necessary steps for making public decisions.

Any weakening of section 401 of the Clean Water Act would be contrary to the idea that the people of each state should have the power to protect themselves and their environments. When Congress passed the Act in 1972, it explicitly recognized that these powers were not being newly granted to the states but that Congress was intentionally preserving historic authorities that states and their people had always had.