Sen. Joe Manchin re-introduces egregious Mountain Valley Pipeline giveaway

May 2, 2023

Chelsea Barnes, Director of Government Affairs and Strategy,
Molly Moore, Director of Program Communications,

Washington, D.C. — Today, Sen. Joe Manchin introduced a third version of his “permitting reform” bill, the Building American Energy Security Act, which, consistent with past proposals, attempts to override normal regulatory and judicial processes to create a way forward for the Mountain Valley Pipeline — hurdles the 300-mile fracked gas pipeline so far has been unable to surmount. Though pipeline developers claim the project is 90% complete, their own filings show the pipeline is only 55.8% complete to final restoration, with hundreds of water crossings yet to be constructed.

The bill directs federal agencies to reissue permits for the pipeline that courts found were improperly or illegally issued and then attempts to prohibit any further judicial review of those permits. BAESA also includes a variety of other measures meant to speed permitting for energy projects more broadly, limiting opportunities for the public to comment on projects and to challenge agency decisions in court.

“The Mountain Valley Pipeline has been cited for hundreds of permit violations related to water quality, with permits thrown out time and time again because of environmental harms,” said Chelsea Barnes, Director of Government Affairs and Strategy. “Our environmental laws exist to prevent harm to communities’ health and safety. No project should be exempt from environmental laws or judicial review, and it’s especially egregious for Manchin to ask members of Congress to grant exemptions for a project that has repeatedly violated permit conditions and whose permits themselves have been found legally insufficient.”

“Sen. Manchin and other MVP proponents continue to make baseless claims to justify the project — ignoring the facts that natural gas demand in the region has remained stagnant and the pipeline is not needed to serve international allies,” said Ridge Graham, North Carolina Program Manager.

“While some updates to energy regulations are needed to expedite the transition to clean energy, gutting environmental protections and granting special favors for a major polluting project isn’t the way to do it,” said Executive Director Tom Cormons. “Like other ‘permitting reform’ proposals before it, BAESA favors fossil fuel and mining projects over the interests of communities that are directly affected by energy projects, and attempts to put Mountain Valley Pipeline above the law. The Senate should once again reject Manchin’s dangerous bill.”