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Video: Sen. Tim Kaine Speaks in FAVOR of 23 Sections of Sen. Joe Manchin’s Energy “Side Deal,” But RIPS Section 24, Regarding the Mountain Valley Pipeline, as “open[ing] the door to serious abuse and even corruption”

"What ground would there be for such a historic rebuke of my hometown federal Circuit Court?"

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See below for video of Sen. Tim Kaine speaking yesterday on the US Senate floor about Sen. Joe Manchin’s 91-page “side deal” energy bill. According to Sen. Kaine, the bill is 91 pages long with 24 sections, and “we’re in agreement on 23 of the 24 sections and 86 of the 91 pages.” On that 24th section and on the Mountain Valley Pipeline in general, Sen. Kaine said:

  • It’s a “sort-of an anti-permitting-reform bill; it would take one project that’s in my state, the Mountain Valley Pipeline, out of permitting processes, out of judicial review, and have Congress put our thumb on the scale advancing the project immune from the normal permitting processes and judicial review.”
  • “These pipeline programs require the use of eminent domain, so you are taking people’s property to build these pipeline projects, and if the government is going to take people’s property, we ought to have a process that’s fair. But what I heard from my constituents in Virginia is that they were being ignored…inadequate public hearing, the hearings were scheduled 100s of miles apart…the actual landowner never got a chance to speak,” etc.
  • I’m all for permitting reform…I strongly approve of [86 pages] of the bill…but what I want to talk about with an equal degree of passion is my strong opposition to Section 24 of the bill dealing with the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” According to Sen. Kaine, MVP has had a “star-crossed history in recent years,” including “multiple federal authorizations vacated,” “over 350 violations of water quality-related protections both in Virginia and in West Virginia,” and “it currently lacks several necessary federal authorizations to continue construction.”
  • “I’m not opposed to the Mountain Valley Pipeline; I don’t think Congress in the business of approving pipelines or rejecting them. In matters…dealing with eminent domain, we generally don’t let legislative bodies decide whose property’s going to get taken…You should have to put your project through a fair permitting process, and if you can earn approval on the merits, then you can build the pipeline, but if you do poor work…then you’re not going to be able to build it. I deeply believe that it is not Congress’ job to make this determination.”
  • Section 24 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 would basically say, after 86 pages of improving permitting in this country, we will take one project in two states and take it completely out of all permitting, we will order the Biden administration to grant four permits that are currently in midstream; the company hasn’t yet demonstrated that it should get these four permits…and further, no one can seek any judicial review of these permits…”
  • In my view, that is highly inappropriate and virtually unprecedented…and that would create a very, very dangerous precedent in this body – it would strip jurisdiction of any litigation in the future in this project from the US Court of Appeals from the Fourth Circuit headquartered in Richmond, my home town. Why? Why? The owners of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have lost a case or two in the Fourth Circuit…In this case, what the Mountain Valley Pipeline is asking is, in my view, an egregious and dramatic overreach – they don’t like the rulings of the Fourth Circuit…so what the Mountain Valley Pipeline owners are asking the Senate to do, and what this bill proposes, is that we would take jurisdiction away from the Fourth Circuit and mandate that any future case not go to the Fourth Circuit…What ground would there be for such a historic rebuke of my hometown federal Circuit Court?”
  • If we go down this path, in my view, it could open the door to serious abuse and even corruption. Imagine if the Senate of the United States starts stripping jurisdiction away from courts because oh wait, we don’t like your ruling, so midstream we’ll take it away; a corporation that is unhappy that they’re getting sued…”
  • The Fourth Circuit does “not deserve to be rebuked in a historic way and have jurisdiction stripped away from them in a case like this just because they have had the temerity to rule against an energy company on a pipeline project.”

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