The side deal to overhaul energy permitting promised to West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in exchange for his yes vote on landmark climate legislation will not be included in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. This is just the latest of Manchin’s failed efforts to, among other things, guarantee approval for the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline and smooth approval for fossil fuel projects. It also represents a major victory for frontline activists who have long and fiercely opposed efforts to streamline fossil fuel permitting.
“Thanks to the hard-fought persistence and vocal opposition of environmental justice communities all across the country, the Dirty Deal has finally been laid to rest,” House Natural Resources Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), said in a statement. “House Democrats can now close out the year having made historic progress on climate change without this ugly asterisk.”
The final nail in the permitting deal’s NDAA coffin came Tuesday when Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly opposed its inclusion (the bill would have needed GOP support to overcome progressive opposition). Democratic leadership has one more chance to try and pass Manchin’s bill by attaching it to an omnibus spending package before the end of the 117th Congress. (E&E News, Politico Pro $, Bloomberg $, The Hill, Washington Post $, Politico; Frontline & progressive opposition: E&E News, The Guardian; McConnell: Bloomberg $, Politico Pro $, The Hill)