A coalition of more than 650 activist organizations is calling on Capitol Hill Democratic leaders to double down on Senator Joe Manchin III, who was crucial to the passage of the party’s massive climate and tax spending legislation.
A letter urging Democrats in California and New York to abandon their promise to Manchin to pass legislation streamlining energy projects – including fossil fuels – was set to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer by hundreds of Democratic-aligned climate and other advocacy groups.
“We are writing to express our strenuous opposition to any additional fossil fuel giveaways,” states the letter from the coalition to Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), noting that the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) signed by President Joe Biden last week “already included large giveaways to polluters.”
“We call on you to unequivocally reject any effort to promote fossil fuels, advance unproven technologies, and weaken our core environmental laws,” the letter adds. “You must stand with the communities who continue to bear the brunt of harm from fossil fuels and act to prevent wholesale climate disaster.”
A guarantee that Congress would pass a bill to cut bureaucratic permitting regulations that often delay energy infrastructure projects for years is the prize that the conservative West Virginia Democrat will get, for his vital support of the spending bill – dubbed the “Inflation Reduction Act, said the Washington Times.
According to a disclosed one-page summary of what is being described as “the ultimate devil’s bargain,” the proposal would give priority to approving projects of “strategic national importance,” establish time limitations on permit reviews, amend federal water rules, restrict lawsuits and increase federal authority for some facilities. In addition to the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), Manchin is pushing to complete the fracked gas project through his home state. Many of his constituents oppose the project.
A call for a “strong Congressional action to deal with the existential threat of climate chaos,” has been made by several groups, including the Center for Popular Democracy, Oxfam America, Green New Deal Network, Oil Change International, Climate Justice Alliance, MoveOn, NAACP, People’s Action, Sierra Club, and Sunrise Movement.
When Congress returns after its August recess, the anti-deal lobbying is expected to intensify. On September 8, a coalition of environmental groups is planning a demonstration in Washington against “Manchin’s dirty deal.” Among the goals of the permitting reform agreement are accelerating fossil fuel and clean energy projects, and completing the West Virginia Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, which has been stalled for six years.
In order to prevent a shutdown, Democratic leaders want to tie the still-unfinished bill to a temporary funding measure that Congress must pass by the end of September. Joe Manchin needs to secure at least 10 Senate Republicans to support his legislation, in addition to convincing his own party. The letter comes after the offices of both Chuck Schumer and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the party’s third Senator, have seen protests over the deal that resulted in arrests.