Mine permitting legisilation not included in Defense Authorization Act

December 7, 2022

The last ditch effort to include legislation from Sen. Joe Manchin (D, WV) that would speed permitting for energy projects fell short when Congressional Democratic leaders failed to attach it to the final text of the fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that was relased on Dec. 6.

The legislation that was first introduced by Manchin in September sought to shorten the permitting process for National Environmental Policy Act reviews and limited citizen judicial challenges for proposed energy projects.

E&E News reported that the legislation would have helped gain approval for the Mountain Valley pipeline, a natural gas project in West Virginia. It could have helped move along a number of stalled mining projects as well like the PolyMet Mine in Minnesota and Resolution copper in Arizona which have been locked in the complex permitting process for years. 

“Our energy infrastructure is under attack and America’s energy security has never been more threatened,” Manchin said in a statement. “Failing to pass bipartisan energy permitting reform that both Republicans and Democrats have called for will have long term consequences for our energy independence.

“The American people will pay the steepest price for Washington once again failing to put common sense policy ahead of toxic tribal politics,” he continued. “This is why the American people hate politics in Washington.”

Manchin’s failure is a victory for an unlikely coalition of progressives and conservatives, who again came together to fight the permitting plan after successfully blocking it from being attached to the stopgap government spending measure back in September.

“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-AZ), who led the opposition both times, said in a statement. “House Democrats can now close out the year having made historic progress on climate change without this ugly asterisk.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), with President Joe Biden’s support, were working furiously behind the scenes this week to make good on their commitment to Manchin that they’d find the votes for his proposal — a trade for his support for the Inflation Reduction Act.

 Photo credit: Resolution Copper


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