See below for a press release from Wild Virginia, regarding Sen. Joe Manchin’s dirty “side deal” to ram through the dirty, expensive, fracked-gas boondoggle known as the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Manchin’s Side Deal, A Gift to Fossil Fuel Companies
On September 21, 2022, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia released the text of a bill that would do grave harm to the people and natural resources of Virginia and West Virginia. A part of the bill would force completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), even though that destructive project is contrary to our most cherished environmental laws and the values they represent.
Aside from the MVP, the bill includes an array of additional destructive elements related to energy infrastructure and environmental protections. Wild Virginia will address other aspects of the Manchin bill separately.
Despite the fact that previous approvals by the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps of Engineers were all deemed illegal by the courts, Manchin’s bill would mandate that these agencies issue essentially the same deficient approvals, which would clearly harm the sensitive and valuable environments and species in these areas and further damage the landowners and communities in the MVP’s path of destruction.
The deal would also show profound disrespect for the rights and interests of the people who have been involved in numerous public processes during the last eight years, seeking just and honest decisions from the agencies that should work for us. Those agencies betrayed the public interest repeatedly and it was left to the courts to uphold the law.
“Now Senator Manchin is telling thousands of citizens that their voices just don’t matter – that they can have no meaningful role in their own futures when it comes to decisions that will produce profits for companies he’s willing to go to bat for,” according to David Sligh, Conservation Director at Wild Virginia.
Sligh continued, “this is like the bully who gets caught cheating and just knocks over the checkerboard. This is an outrageous attempt to allow this one profit-making corporation an exemption from the Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and other laws Americans have treasured and depended on for five decades.”
Even worse, Manchin wants to ram this measure through along with a budget bill that’s necessary to keep the government operating. “In other words, the Senator wants to hold our entire nation hostage for the profit of his industry friends and benefactors,” Sligh stated.
Wild Virginia calls on Virginia Senators Warner and Kaine and all other members of the Senate and House to insist that this bill be addressed on its own merits. The claim that this is a necessary reform rather than an attempt to enrich private interests should be tested through the normal process, with hearings and deliberations.
“If Manchin believes he can support his assertions that this measure is best for the country as a whole, then he should want to debate it out in the open – not hide it away in this bigger package,” Sligh said.
We must trust that our lawmakers won’t allow this end-run around the rules; that they will hold the Mountain Valley Pipeline to the high standards we have a right to expect.