SELC responds to debt ceiling agreement
WASHINGTON — In a surprise move, a bill to raise the country’s debt ceiling and avoid defaulting has numerous implications for the environment. Among other things, the Fiscal Responsibility Act would approve all the remaining permits to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline and includes changes to permitting that would pave the way for polluting industries without any notice or input from affected communities.
Gudrun Thompson, senior attorney and leader of SELC’s energy program, said the inclusion of such pieces is irresponsible and out of line with goals to reduce emissions and other harms from energy-related projects.
“It is irresponsible to use the nation’s debt obligations as leverage to grease the skids for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a failed fossil-fuel project that has consistently been unable to comply with environmental laws,” said Thompson. “MVP has already put communities at risk and would lock in the South’s dependence on fossil fuels for decades, derailing climate goals and progress expected as a result of recent legislative wins.”
“The deal includes troubling provisions that would strip away bedrock environmental safeguards and hamstring communities’ ability to get fair reviews of infrastructure or other projects, like industrial animal facilities,” said SELC’s Program Director, Geoff Gisler “This is not permitting reform; this is fast-tracking for dirty industries that put communities at risk.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released text of the bipartisan bill over Memorial Day weekend after reaching a deal with President Biden.
“While we applaud the bipartisan effort to reach a deal, both Congress and the Biden administration must protect already overburdened communities across the South from the dangers of climate change,” said Nat Mund, SELC’s Director of Federal Affairs. “We are hopeful that the provisions that would negatively impact efforts to fight climate change and that could further harm our most vulnerable communities are removed.”
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