Manchin negotiates to speed completion of Mountain Valley Pipeline
WASHINGTON, DC (WDBJ) - Washington negotiations delivered a deal on climate, health care and taxes. And the talks between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and other Democratic leaders could have a major impact on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, as well.
In remarks during Senate hearings and in other public statements, Manchin has made it clear how he feels about the project.
“If the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not completed…” Manchin said during a hearing March 3, “there will not be another investment taking the most abundant, plentiful gas reserves out of an area that can basically backfill, so that we don’t have a Texas, so that we have LNG, so that we’re able to do the things that we need to.”
The recent negotiations with Democratic leaders include provisions that could streamline the permitting process for energy projects, and spur completion of the MVP.
Grace Tuttle is an organizer for POWHR, the Protect our Water, Heritage Rights Coalition.
Tuttle was outside the White House calling on President Biden to declare a climate emergency when we spoke Tuesday morning.
“It’s certainly upsetting and maddening to be used as a bargaining chip, but that is really just the latest in a long list of insults to our communities in Appalachia,” Tuttle told WDBJ7. “And it’s just the latest example of what it means to be a sacrifice zone.”
David Sligh is Conservation Director for the group Wild Virginia.
“There’s an awful lot to save out there from further destruction from Mountain Valley Pipeline and we just think it would wrong for Congress to skip over those protections that were promised,” he said.
Other groups that oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline released statements Tuesday.
“By itself, any legislation that requires the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline is unacceptable,” said Ridge Graham, North Carolina field coordinator for the organization Appalachian Voices. “When combined with multiple, sweeping changes that fast-track any number of unnecessary projects, gut critical environmental protections and hamstring the authority of multiple federal agencies, such a permitting reform bill would be a disaster for clean air, clean water and frontline communities.”
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was asked about the negotiations during a teleconference with reporters Tuesday morning. He said wants to know more.
“The deal was in exchange for getting an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act. We will have the opportunity to debate and vote on permitting improvements, but no one has made commitments on how they’re going to vote,” Kaine said. “And I’m certainly not going to make a commitment until I see what that bill is.”
The permitting legislation could come up for a vote before the end of September.
Mountain Valley Pipeline released the following statement:
“MVP is being recognized as a critical infrastructure project that is essential for our nation’s energy security, energy reliability, and ability to effectively transition to a lower-carbon future. With total project work roughly 94 percent complete, Mountain Valley remains committed to working diligently with federal and state regulators to secure the necessary permits to safely and responsibly finish construction, and we remain committed to bringing it into service in the second half of 2023.
Capacity for MVP remains fully subscribed under long-term, binding contracts, and the project is strongly supported by a broad coalition of elected federal, state and local officials; state chambers of commerce and other business groups; landowners; public utilities; natural gas producers; and other non-governmental organizations. Increased use of natural gas has played an important role in our country’s efforts to lower carbon emissions and keep energy prices affordable.
More than 300,000 miles of interstate and intrastate natural gas transmission pipelines operate every day across the U.S., safely and reliably transporting natural gas for use in homes and businesses to power modern life. None of these existing pipelines have undergone the extensive level of environmental research, analysis and review that has been performed on the MVP project, and we appreciate the strong support and ongoing efforts of so many men and women who, for the past seven years, have continued to work diligently to complete this important project.”
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