As experts and environmental groups express, fury and frustrationOver coal millionaire Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-West Virginia) fossil fuel permitting overhaul deal released on Wednesday, Senate Democrats are highlighting concerns that the deal could set environmental justice advances back by years.
In a letterEight senators, led in part by Jeff Merkley (D.Oregon), sent a letter to Chuck Schumer (D.New York) on Thursday. They stated that they share the concerns expressed by environmental justice organizations in recent weeks. They stressed that the deal, which would be a good deal, would not be a bad deal. blow openThe permitting processFor federal fossil fuel projects fast track dangerousCommunities on the frontlines of the climate crisis are particularly at risk from projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and possibly dozens more.
“For many years, siting decisions for big infrastructure projects have essentially prioritized the perceived societal benefits of fossil energy over the very real costs disproportionately borne by communities of color, low-income communities, and others who have traditionally been marginalized,” the lawmakers wrote. “The result has been the destruction of homes and neighborhoods, lost wealth in those communities, long-lasting health consequences, and premature deaths.”
The letter was signed by prominent lawmakers such as Senators Ed Markey (D–Massachusetts), Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Elizabeth Warren (D–Massachusetts).
Lawmakers said that Manchin’s (and the American Petroleum Institute’s) proposed changes to landmark environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act threaten to “steamroll over” protections for and public comments from frontline communities.
“[T]ransparency and the ability for potentially impacted communities to have prior, informed and meaningful participation and consideration are foundational to providing environmental justice,” the lawmakers said. “A number of the proposed permitting reforms would do the exact opposite.”
Congress should focus on strengthening protections and public participation for frontline communities — not rolling back those rights, the lawmakers said.
Appalachian, Environmental, and Other Frontline Groups have expressedStrong dissatisfaction with the deal has led to them spending the last few weeks protesting and sending letters to try and stop the legislation from passing. They say that allowing a deal like Manchin’s to go through is tantamount to creating “sacrifice zones” out of communities that would experience the pollution and environmental degradation that inevitably Projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline are included..
Climate advocates and experts have said that the proposal shouldn’t be characterized as a small deal made to appease Manchin, but rather as a massive fossil fuel expansion bill — one made to fulfill the industry’s long-held wishes to weaken laws that force agencies to consider environmental impacts when reviewing federal projects. Republicans and Big Oil are both a threat to the environment. have been Trying for yearsManchin has suggested that NEPA and other environmental laws be slashed.
Democratic leaders Had planned to attach the deal to a must-pass government funding bill that’s due by the end of the month. However, after Manchin released the proposal’s text on Wednesday, lawmakers from both parties were able to vote. Both sides of the aisleThe proposal was rejected by the majority of those on the left who said it would be disastrous for climate change.
The lawmakers haven’t directly called for the deal to be rejected, but askedIt should be considered as a separate bill so that voters can vote against it without fearing a government shutdown. Sanders Has been pledged to vote against the funding bill if Manchin’s proposal is attached. In the meantime, even some centrist Democrats Are you vowingThey will do everything possible to end the deal and claim that it is far more generous than they expected in terms of giveaways to fossil fuel industries.