A measure slipped into the debt-limit deal reached in principle by lawmakers over the weekend would legislate the approval of the controversial methane gas pipeline that would carry methane gas over 300 miles from West Virginia to Virginia. The project is currently in limbo after a federal court rejected a permit for it to cross a national forest. The deal also would shorten how much time the federal government has to assess the impact an infrastructure project would have on the environment, limiting the most thorough reviews to two years and the less rigorous reviews to one year.
Both of these provisions that were championed by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia could face resistance from fellow Democrats in the must-pass bill. Environmental advocates blasted inclusion of the pipeline approval. Jean Su, energy justice program director at the Center for Biological Diversity told Bloomberg that the poison pills included in the debt deal would “dramatically roll back bedrock environmental laws that give voice to frontline communities and sabotage agencies whose job is to protect the environment and working families.” Both chambers of Congress are expected to take up the bill this week. (The Hill, Inside Climate News, Fox News, Axios, Common Dreams, Reuters $, Bloomberg $, Politico $)