Senator Joe Manchin Unveils Bill That Would Accelerate Fossil Fuel Projects

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US Senator Joe Manchin on Wednesday released an energy permitting bill to accelerate fossil fuel and renewable energy energy transmission projects.

The bill is expected to be attached to a measure to temporarily fund the government that Congress must pass by Oct. 1. Manchin’s staff told reporters the senator believed he had the 60 votes it took to make it.

The legislation requires the federal government to issue permits for Equitrans Midstream Corp’s long-delayed $6.6 billion Mountain Valley pipeline to take natural gas between West Virginia, Manchin’s home state, and Virginia.

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Joe Biden should designate 25 energy projects of strategic national importance for rapid federal review. The bill would also establish a two-year target for environmental assessments of energy projects to be completed by more than one federal agency.

Progressive lawmakers and environmental groups were concerned that the bill would speed up fossil fuel projects while undermining U.S. environmental laws.

While the bill would speed up processes set up by the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires major project revisions, it “doesn’t change the underlying statutes,” a Manchin employee told reporters in a phone call.

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