Groups Blast Manchin Ploy to Include Dirty Deal in Defense Bill

More than 750 groups urge Speaker Pelosi to oppose massive fossil fuel giveaway

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Climate and Energy

WASHINGTON, DC — As West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin continues to promote his fossil fuel permitting scheme, more than 750 climate, environmental justice, public health, youth, and progressive organizations sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressional leadership today opposing what they call a “cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities.” 

Despite the failure by Senate leaders to pass this proposal as part of the September continuing resolution, Manchin has been floating plans to once again attach it to another piece of must-pass legislation, particularly the National Defense Authorization Act. Text of the NDAA is expected to be released as soon as Monday. 

If Speaker Pelosi permits the attachment of the dirty deal to the NDAA, it will be one of her final acts as Speaker and threatens her credibility on climate. 

“This fossil fuel wish list associated with the Inflation Reduction Act side deal, the so-called Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), is a cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities and the climate writ large,” the letter reads. “This legislation would truncate and hollow out the environmental review process, weaken Tribal consultations, and make it far harder for frontline communities to have their voices heard… Moreover, we oppose tethering this legislation to any must-pass legislation. It is unacceptable to sacrifice the health, self determination, and prosperity of communities in Appalachia, the Gulf Coast, Alaska, the Midwest, the Southwest, and other frontline communities around the country.”

The massive opposition to the Manchin scheme is a stark reminder that attempts to spin it as ‘permitting reform’ have been a failure. Last week, Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Mike Kelly introduced a pipeline permitting bill that permits the Mountain Valley Pipeline and truncates environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.

“Appalachia is not for the federal government to sacrifice while they are applauded for ambitious climate commitments at COP27. For years, the fossil fuel industry and greedy politicians like Senator Manchin have destroyed our communities and homes. We will not allow them to continue to do so with this dirty deal. We stand against this bill and in solidarity with our frontline partners nation-wide,” said Russell Chisholm, Mountain Valley Watch Coordinator and frontline MVP organizer.

“Manchin’s dirty deal is just as toxic and dangerous as before,” said Gaby Sarri-Tobar, energy justice campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This obvious fossil fuel giveaway would devastate communities and set back efforts to avoid a climate catastrophe. Especially after the administration’s support of phasing down fossil fuels at the global climate conference, President Biden and Congress have to stop pandering to one senator’s climate-killing agenda and reject any attempts to tack this poison pill to must-pass legislation.”

“Once again, the health and dignity of tribal communities across the country are being threatened by the greed of the fossil fuel industry and the elected officials on their payroll. We’re sick of having to fight to defend the basic bedrock environmental laws that allow our voices to be heard, while the climate crisis proliferates. Every lawmaker who is accountable to their constituents, especially those facing the most severe environmental injustices, must do all in their power to block this bill and all future attempts to risk our lives for a profit,” said Dr. Crystal Cavalier-Keck, co-founder of 7 Directions of Service.

“Senator Manchin failed the first time he tried to sneak through his dirty pipeline deal, and climate and environmental justice leaders are united in opposing any efforts to resurrect this awful deal,” said Jim Walsh, policy director at Food & Water Watch. “Senator Manchin’s proposal serves the interests of the dirty energy companies that have supported his political career. We will continue to oppose any schemes that incentivize fossil fuel expansion, undercut environmental and democratic protections, and sacrifice communities to the interests of corporate polluters.”