Press Release

U.S. Senate excludes Sen. Joe Manchin’s Building American Energy Security Act from National Defense Authorization Act

For immediate release:
December 15, 2022

Contacts:
Chelsea Barnes, Legislative Director, chelsea@appvoices.org
Molly Moore, Director of Program Communications, molly@appvoices.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate rejected an amendment that would have added Sen. Joe Manchin’s proposed Building American Energy Security Act (BAESA) to “must-pass” national defense legislation. As written, the BAESA attempts to override normal regulatory and judicial processes in order to create a way forward for the Mountain Valley Pipeline — hurdles the 300-mile fracked gas pipeline so far has been unable to surmount.

The bill would direct federal agencies to reissue permits that courts found were improperly or illegally issued and then prohibit any further judicial review of those permits. The BAESA also includes a variety of other measures intended to speed up the permitting process for different kinds of energy infrastructure, notably by creating shorter deadlines for agencies to complete environmental reviews and by limiting opportunities for the public to comment on projects and challenge agency decisions in court.

Statement from Appalachian Voices Legislative Director Chelsea Barnes:

“We commend the senators from both sides of the aisle who voted to exclude this bill from the National Defense Authorization Act, including Sens. Tim Kaine and Jeff Merkley for their leadership. We are deeply disappointed in the president and in the legislators who profess support for environmental justice and acted against the interests of communities directly impacted by energy projects.

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which has been cited for hundreds of permit violations related to water quality, should not get special treatment in Congress. The Building American Energy Security Act sends terrible messages to the public — that corporations that curry favor with an elected official do not have to comply with our laws, and that processes designed to protect transparency, public participation and our environment can be sacrificed. Congress should not weaken the National Environmental Policy Act or any of our bedrock environmental protections.”

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