June 2, 2023

Washington’s Corrupt Gift to the MVP: The Latest Failure of “Public Servants” to Protect Us

The U.S. Senate has followed the House of Representatives in approving the dirty deal hatched by Senator Joe Manchin and the Biden White House to force completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) through legislative fiat. Manchin and his allies, including Senate Leader Schumer, extorted their colleagues by jamming this rancid measure into a must-pass bill. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine made a valiant attempt to stop this injustice but could not get the support he needed to remove the MVP gift from the debt ceiling bill.

We thank Senators Kaine and Warner and all others who voted for Kaine’s amendment to remove the MVP provisions. Likewise, we thank Representative Jennifer McClellan and other Virginia members in the House, who attempted to amend the bill in that chamber to right this wrong.

To those lawmakers who failed to do the right thing, who bowed to pressure from polluters and their political sponsors, their shame will not be forgotten. But that shame extends to many government decision makers who have betrayed the public, to favor money and backroom powerbrokers over the people they are to serve. Early in the long saga of failures on MVP, actions and decisions by Virginia officials started us on the road that ends today. The most basic failure of Virginia agencies: unlike West Virginia regulators, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Water Control Board have refused to apply our water quality standards, requirements that have been in our state regulations for more than five decades.

If Virginia officials had done their jobs, applying long-standing regulations as written, this damaging project would never have advanced to this sorry stage. The blame for that failure will forever stick to the Water Board members and the DEQ leaders who approved MVP, betraying their oaths and their duties. We do not intend to just remember that failing though. We intend to take up the effort tomorrow and every day after that to change the way Virginia exercises this important regulatory duty. So, while we are enormously disappointed in the outcome today, while we are sad and angry, this will not sap our strength or lessen our resolve. There must never be another state failure like the one presented by this horrible project. We invite all Virginians to join us in making sure that is the case.