Press Release

Statement on exclusion of permitting and Mountain Valley Pipeline language from defense bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 7, 2022

CONTACT
Chelsea Barnes, chelsea@appvoices.org, (614) 205-6424
Ridge Graham, ridge@appvoices.org, (828) 994-7444

Update, 2 p.m., Dec. 7: After yesterday’s defeat, today Sen. Manchin released a new bill, the Building American Security Act of 2022, which contains many of the same reckless measures as the failed Energy Independence and Security Act. Yet again, the bill lessens opportunities for community input, weakens essential protections and attempts to give the Mountain Valley Pipeline a bypass around environmental laws and the courts. Appalachian Voices continues to oppose these efforts.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last night, the U.S. House released final language for the National Defense Authorization Act, which notably did not include Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) Energy Independence and Security Act or similar language. The so-called permitting reform effort would have weakened bedrock environmental protections and avenues for people to give input on energy projects that impact their communities, and included an egregious attempt to exempt the Mountain Valley Pipeline from existing environmental laws and judicial review. This exemption would be unprecedented, considering the scale of the 303-mile long project, and could open a pathway for other industries to bypass rules that they cannot follow.

The release of the NDAA text followed a reported attempt by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to attach the contentious measure to the annual defense bill as part of the bargain made between Sen. Joe Manchin, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and President Biden to secure the West Virginia senator’s pivotal vote for the climate, tax and healthcare bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this year. The agreement involved advancing Manchin’s EISA, which has not received a regular committee hearing, by attaching it to must-pass legislation.

Progressive members of the House and Senate united against this latest effort, which also mobilized environmental justice groups and their supporters from across the country. Manchin’s bill also lacked sufficient support from Republicans. This is the second time that attempts to advance the bill have failed due to bipartisan opposition.

Statement from Legislative Director Chelsea Barnes:

“Following two failed attempts, Biden, Manchin, Pelosi and Schumer should stop trying to advance a bill written behind closed doors that weakens essential environmental protections, gives communities less say on energy projects in their backyards, and attempts to exempt the dangerous Mountain Valley Pipeline from long-standing environmental laws and judicial review. If legislators are serious about modernizing the grid to bring clean energy on faster, they need to hold open hearings and listen to communities impacted by energy projects.”

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