Coal millionaire and West Virginia senator Joe Manchin III released his long-awaited bill on Wednesday to streamline the construction of fossil fuel projects including methane gas pipelines. The bill was promised to Manchin by Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer during the negotiation of the Inflation Reduction Act. Manchin has insisted the legislation be attached to a government funding bill, setting up the prospect of a government shutdown. The bill would require the approval of the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline, a provision on which Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine was not consulted and to which he would not support because his constituents “have felt ignored” by the opaque process, the Virginia Mercury reported.
“[The Mountain Valley pipeline section] is completely unacceptable,” he told reporters Wednesday night per E&E News. “I will do everything I can to oppose it.”
Multiple Democratic senators have stated Manchin’s fossil fuel streamlining bill should not be attached to a government funding package and Kaine joins Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in opposing it even if it is. Manchin has said he is seeking support from at least 20 GOP senators for the legislation which he says Republicans have wanted for years and told reporters Tuesday, “There’s no reason Republicans shouldn’t support it.”
Republicans have responded cooly to the bill, however, instead Manchin’s fellow West Virginian senator, Republican Shelley Moore Capito, has released a far more aggressive bill to slash regulations on fossil fuel extraction and transportation. The White House said Wednesday it supports Manchin’s legislation. (Manchin bill & reception: E&E News, Washington Post $, E&E News, CNN, Politico, The Hill, Roll Call, New York Times $, The Hill, Houston Chronicle, Reuters, The Hill, National Journal, E&E News; MVP & Kaine opposition: Virginia Mercury, WFXR; Capito: Politico Pro $; Substantive details: E&E $)