Big Business Lobby Backs Manchin Effort to Salvage Fossil Fuel Permitting Deal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest corporate lobbying organization, endorsed federal permitting reforms on Monday as Sen. Joe Manchin made his last-ditch push to salvage a proposed overhaul that has drawn fierce opposition from grassroots climate groups, frontline communities, and Democratic lawmakers.

Ahead of an expected procedural vote on Tuesday, the Chamber’s Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley said in a statement that Manchin (D-W.Va.) “has crafted thoughtful legislation that makes material improvements to the permitting process and can pass Congress right now.”

Bradley said that the Chamber, which has been a long history of lobbying on behalf of fossil fuel interests, doesn’t think Manchin’s bill is “perfect,” criticizing proposed transmission sitingReforms that some analysts say would actually help accelerate renewable energy development in the United States—in contrast to the legislation’s major oil and gas handouts.

Despite the Chamber’s quibbles with the bill, Bradley went on to echo Manchin’s call for senators to attach permitting reforms to a government funding bill that must pass before the end of the week to avert a shutdown.

Manchin is on the verge of losing his job. reportedly scramblingBehind the scenes, he was able to gather enough Republican and Democratic votes in order to pass his proposed permitting overhaul. deliver a major victory for the fossil fuel industry donors that bankroll the West Virginia Democrat’s campaigns.

If passed, the Energy Independence and Security ActThe legislation would allow for final approval of Mountain Valley’s fracked gas pipeline. This project has been delayed for many years due to legal issues. The legislation would also severely limit environmental reviews of energy project proposals, which would allow fossil fuel projects to be moved quickly, even though scientists insist that oil and gas production must be expedited. rapidly phasedYou can help prevent climate catastrophe.

Sunday Manchin told The Washington Post — whose editorial board has endorsed the West Virginia senator’s bill — that he has secured 40 Democratic votes for the permitting measure in the Senate, meaning he will need Republican support to get the measure over the finish line.

Manchin held a press conference and delivered a speech on the floor over the past week. appeared on Fox Newsas part of his campaign for GOP backing to permit reforms that the party has supported for years.

But Politico reported Monday that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is “urging Senate Republicans to vote no on advancing Manchin’s permitting reform legislation as part of a government funding package.”

Politico noted that McConnell “sees no need to help Manchin” after the West Virginia Democrat helped his party pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes major renewable energy investments and was unanimously opposed by congressional Republicans. McConnell has said Manchin should support Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-W.Va.) permitting reform bill, which is even more friendly to the oil and gas industry.

Dozens of Democratic caucus Members have, however, been absent. spoken out against Manchin’s permitting reforms, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to pursue as a side deal in exchange for the West Virginia senator’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has pledged to vote against any government funding bill that includes Manchin’s permitting reforms, wrote on social media Monday that “it may be a radical idea to some of my Senate colleagues and in the editorial rooms of newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch and Jeff Bezos, but I do believe the future of the planet is more important than the short term profits of the fossil fuel industry.”

“Defeat the Big Oil side deal,” Sanders added.