SELC statement on draft permitting bill
WASHINGTON — Today, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin unveiled a proposed permitting bill that would weaken longstanding environmental protections to fast track natural gas pipelines including the Mountain Valley Pipeline and other fossil fuel projects, putting communities facing threats to clean water, clean air, and environmental justice at even greater risk.
In response, the Southern Environmental Law Center released the following statements:
“This effort to shortchange some of our most important environmental protections is deeply misguided. Building a clean energy future that benefits all Americans cannot start by silencing frontline communities and eroding the laws that protect our access to clean air and water. It’s absurd to suggest this deal, early versions of which were literally covered with fossil fuel lobbyists’ digital fingerprints, will do anything but exacerbate climate change at the expense of communities that depend on clean air and water that this proposal threatens. This bill, concocted without any local input, was cooked up as a backroom trade that nobody on the ground agreed to. It puts families in harm’s way by fast-tracking the Mountain Valley Pipeline—a project that has repeatedly shown it cannot comply with federal and state law. The bill would also curtail or even eliminate review of projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, making way for unwanted fossil fuel projects for years to come—with communities of color bearing the brunt of this harm,” said SELC Director of Federal Affairs Nat Mund.
“This bill aims to force the completion of the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) by directing agencies to disregard environmental laws and then attempting to lock the courthouse doors. Forcing through the MVP would be devastating for the Appalachian communities that have fought this risky project for years, and it would cause tens of millions of tons of avoidable greenhouse gas emissions, jeopardizing the climate progress Congress just moved forward with the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Greg Buppert, SELC Senior Attorney and Leader of its Regional Gas Team.