Some Democrats Are Ready To Torpedo Manchin’s ‘Dirty Deal’ On Permitting Reform

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Jack McEvoy Energy & Environment Reporter
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Some Democrats are signaling that they will not support Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s permitting reform deal that he struck with party leaders in exchange for his support of the Democrats’ massive climate and spending bill, according to The Washington Post.

President Joe Biden, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to help pass a separate bill this fall to expedite the permitting process for new energy projects, an important issue for Manchin’s home state, to secure the West Virginian’s support for their huge climate bill, the Post reported. However, House Democrats want to protect the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which mandates that federal agencies evaluate the environmental impacts of their proposed activities. (RELATED: ‘They Will Never Do It’: Here’s How Manchin’s Payout In Dem Bill Can Be Easily Tossed)

Multiple House Democrats have expressed their desire to prevent Manchin’s permitting bill from passing. Democratic House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Raúl Grijalva of Arizona stated that he feels no obligation to help Manchin on Aug. 12, according to The Hill. Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan vowed to vote down the “dirty deal” on Aug. 16, according to the American Prospect.

Manchin is trying to include the permitting reform in a stopgap funding bill that must be passed by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown. However, both Tlaib and Grijalva want Manchin’s reforms to be decided by a standalone vote, the American Prospect reported.

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 16: U.S. President Joe Biden (C) shakes hands with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) (L) after signing The Inflation Reduction Act with Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) in the State Dining Room of the White House August 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The permitting bill could require Biden to name 25 energy projects of “strategic national importance” and shorten environmental evaluations under NEPA, according to the draft. However, the bill does not address the judicial review process to protect pipelines or other energy projects from environmental lawsuits which often delay or halt developments.

Additionally, neither the leaked draft nor its more recent summary mentions the Mountain Valley Pipeline, according to the Post. Manchin is eager to build the pipeline, which is still under construction after facing numerous legal obstacles, as it will deliver natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia.

Republican lawmakers are skeptical of the deal as the companion bill’s leaked draft lacks “teeth,” according to the Post. Furthermore, Republicans may be unlikely to support Manchin’s proposals as they were unhappy with his surprising turnaround on the Democrats’ $737 billion spending bill.

“Our energy future and infrastructure projects should not be decided by quid pro quo deals,” Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota said on Twitter. “You shouldn’t have to agree to a $700 billion tax and spending package just to secure your preferred pipeline.”

To overcome the filibuster, the plan would require the support of at least 10 Republican senators, or more if any Democrats refuse to support it. Whether Republicans ultimately decide to support it may depend on how aggressive the bill is, the Post reported.

Manchin’s proposed bill will also accelerate projects that promote green energy transmission, according to the Post.

Manchin’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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