Manchin Asks Big Oil CEOs to Help Push Through Dirty Deal as Opposition Grows

Sen. Joe Manchin, who is facing opposition from environmentalists, frontline communities and fellow Democratic lawmakers alike, is reportedly asking oil-and-gas executives to help him gain Republican support for permitting legislation. The legislation would aim to weaken the bedrock environmental laws and simplify the review process to approve dirty energy projects.

Bloomberg reported Monday that Manchin’s outreach “has included companies in the mining, utilities, and oil and gas industry,” all of which stand to benefit from a federal permitting overhaul — and all of which donate to the West Virginia Democrat’s political campaigns.

“Passing the legislation would mark a big win for the industry and its long-sought efforts to accelerate permitting and scale back environmental reviews that can take years,” Bloomberg noted. “Among projects that could benefit is a stalled $6.6 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline — which would help to unlock more supplies of the fuel from the Marcellus shale.”

“Manchin is set to address chief executive officers at the Washington-based Business Roundtable’s quarterly meeting later this week,” the outlet added, citing a person familiar with the senator’s plans.

While federal permitting laws have been changed, could also help expediteProjects involving clean energy, environmentalists, the dozensMany members of the Democratic caucus believe that the acceleration of pipeline approvals, and other fossil fuel infrastructure, would harm U.S. climate goals.

“A leaked draft of a side deal to weaken and truncate environmental reviews is nothing more than the wishlist for all extractive industries,” reads a letterMonday’s letter was sent by more than 160 advocacy groups to Democratic leaders. “There is no way to mitigate the damage that would be done by this side deal, it must be unequivocally rejected.”

As part of a deal to secure Manchin’s support for the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, Democratic leaders agreed to hold a vote on permitting reforms that the senator and his industry allies have long demanded.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.N.Y.) & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D.Calif.) will attach a permitting reform bill as a part of a government funding measure that must be passed by the end the month to avoid a shutdown. Monday’s White House statement stated that President Joe Biden was on his way. committedTo move forward with permitting reforms

Manchin may need more than 10 Republican votes depending on how many Senate Democrats are against the permit deal. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), has been the current leader. only memberThe Senate Democratic caucus will pledge to vote against any government funding package that includes permitting reforms.

Manchin is enlisting fossil fuel executives to help him get the GOP on board with his bill, but there is growing resistance from his own party members. Several Republicans led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia are also pursuing this bill. their own permitting legislationAccording to climate groups, this would be even more harmful to the environment.

According to a summary released by Capito’s office Monday, the GOP bill would codify former President Donald Trump’s attacksOn the National Environmental Policy Act, (NEPA), and on the Clean Water Act and bar the adoption of the Biden administration’s “social cost of greenhouse gases” estimate.

“This so-called ‘permitting reform’ bill is nothing more than a shameless attempt to make it easier for fossil fuel companies to steamroll communities and fast-track their polluting projects,” said Mahyar Sorour, Sierra Club’s deputy legislative director. “Efforts to weaken NEPA and limit the public’s ability to weigh in on pipelines and other infrastructure that would affect them would be devastating for our communities, especially in places like Appalachia and the Gulf South that have already been treated as fossil fuel sacrifice zones for far too long.”

While Manchin didn’t explicitly endorse Capito’s bill, he told reporters Monday that it is “wonderful that we’re all on the same page — we all know that we need to have permitting reform.”

Many of Manchin’s Democratic colleagues disagree. 72 House Democrats published a letter on Friday expressing oppositionTo the federal permitting overhaul proposed and denounced plans for it to be attached to must-pass government funding legislation.

Five additional House Democrats joined the ranks on Friday signed the letter.

“I don’t know how a [continuing resolution] vote will go if it includes the permitting rider, but the opposition is loud and only getting louder,” Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the letter’s chief organizer, said Monday.

“I encourage leadership to listen to its caucus and keep us out of a shutdown standoff that nobody wants,” he added. “Give us a clean CR and let these dirty permitting provisions stand up to congressional scrutiny on their own. Now is not the time to roll the dice on a government shutdown.”