Biden Comes Out In Favor Of Sen. Joe Manchin’s Energy Independence And Security Act

(Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

President Joe Biden declared his support for Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s pipeline permitting reform, breathing new life into the proposal ahead of a key vote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York previously promised to include Manchin’s Energy Independence and Security Act in the government funding resolution that runs out Dec. 16. After a bipartisan group of senators refused to support the package, Manchin agreed Schumer could pull it to avoid a shutdown. Biden said in a statement Thursday that he supports the proposal, which Schumer hopes to include in the National Defense Authorization Act. (RELATED: Some Democrats Are Ready To Torpedo Manchin’s ‘Dirty Deal’ On Permitting Reform)

“I support Senator Manchin’s permitting reform proposal as a way to cut Americans’ energy bills, promote US energy security, and boost our ability to get energy projects built and connected to the grid. Today, far too many projects face delays — keeping us from generating critical, cost-saving energy needed by families and businesses across America,” the president said.

The Energy Independence and Security Act would speed up completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a more-than-300 mile pipeline that would transport natural gas from West Virginia to Virginia, and amend the National Environmental Policy Act or the Clean Water Act to require federal agencies to approve or reject energy projects faster. Left-wing members of Congress, led by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Democratic Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, lobbied en masse against the provision, since it would allow natural gas pipelines to be completed more quickly.

“Senator Manchin’s legislation is an important step toward unlocking the potential of these new energy projects to cut consumer costs and spur good-paying jobs. It is critical to improve the permitting process so we can produce and deliver energy to consumers in all parts of the country,” Biden added.

Thousands of oil and gas drilling permits remain unused, which the Biden administration has argued is causing gas prices to remain high. Oil and gas industry analysts and executives have pushed back, citing an uncertain regulatory environment and the fact that not all leases yield oil or gas.

Gas prices reached a national average of $3.19 per gallon Thursday, up 81 cents from when Biden took office.