Op-Ed: Manchin’s pipeline has no place in the US debt limit deal

The US debt ceiling dispute has thrown a shadow over President Joe Biden’s Asia trip – Copyright AFP OLIVIER DOULIERY

Attaching a controversial pipeline to the debt ceiling deal is a cheap shot to environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers.

On Saturday, right after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) reached a secret agreement with President Biden on the debt ceiling, McCarthy called a little-known congresswoman about a once obscure energy project.

“We got Mountain Valley Pipeline done,” McCarthy told Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), according to people familiar with the conversation.

Getting the controversial pipeline championed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) into the debt ceiling deal came as a surprise to me and a hell of a lot of other people, including environmentalists, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, spent Tuesday gloating on the radio show, “Talkline,” In an interview, he said, “All of a sudden, [the White House] did their job, they negotiated. And Kevin McCarthy did his job by putting something first and starting this negotiation. So, I applaud both sides.”

The Washington Post says House Republicans and their aides also played a key role in securing language in the debt ceiling deal to expedite the project’s completion, according to people close to the talks, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private deliberations.

The whole deal, in my opinion, is a kick in the face to many groups in Virginia and elsewhere who challenged the pipeline in court and were successful in getting the permits struck down,

CNN News is reporting that as recently as last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had struck down permits for the project on the grounds that they violate the Clean Water Act.

“Literally, they are changing the rules as we are playing the game,” Crystal Cavalier-Keck, co-founder of indigenous environmental justice group 7 Directions of Service, told reporters on a Tuesday call.

“Singling out the Mountain Valley Pipeline for approval in a vote about our nation’s credit limit is an egregious act,” Peter Anderson, Virginia policy director with Appalachian Voices, said in a statement Sunday.

And by the way, Virginia lawmakers were among the most vocal in opposing its inclusion in the bill. The 303-mile pipeline would bring gas from West Virginia to southern Virginia.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he will offer an amendment to strip the pipeline from the deal, as did several House Democrats representing Virginia: Reps. Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Abigail Spanberger, Bobby Scott, and Jennifer Wexton.

“Senator Kaine is extremely disappointed by the provision of the bill to greenlight the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia, bypassing the normal judicial and administrative review process every other energy project has to go through,” a Kaine spokesperson told The Hill in an email.

I am pissed at President Joe Biden, too, If this outrageous charade called the Democratic process is allowed to continue, he might as well forget about his climate crisis goals. You cannot suspend the rules for one company while everyone else has to play by those rules.

If that pipeline is allowed to go through, our nation will be locked into more years of fossil-fuel dependency.


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

Op-Ed: Manchin’s pipeline has no place in the US debt limit deal
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