Virginia senator moves to scrap pipeline permits from debt deal

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has long been stalled in legal limbo due to environmental factors.

Published: June 1, 2023 5:11pm

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine has introduced an amendment to the House-approved debt ceiling bill that would eliminate a provision granting permits to a pipeline project set to run through his state.

"I support improving the permitting process for all energy projects. But Congress putting its thumb on the scale so that one specific project doesn’t have to comply with the same process as everyone else is the definition of unfair and opens the door to corruption," he said Thursday, according to The Hill. 

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has long been stalled in legal limbo due to environmental factors. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a proponent of the project, previously struck a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to trade his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act for a permitting reform that would expedite the project, though that plan fell through.

The House plan includes key permits to get the project over the finish line, but Kaine hopes to keep them out of the final version.

"I’m introducing this amendment to strip this harmful provision—which is completely unrelated to the debt limit—from the bill because I owe it to the Virginians impacted by the pipeline—including the hundreds of Virginians whose land is being taken away—to ensure the project only proceeds following fair administrative and judicial review," he asserted.

Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey and Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders have both stated they will oppose the debt deal on the basis of the pipeline's inclusion, among other environmental concerns.

Though the lower chamber has approved the plan, it must still clear the Senate by the Treasury-imposed June 5 to avert a national default, leaving little time for the upper chamber to approve any revisions.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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