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Manchin dirty deal

Activists including Greenpeace USA co-executive director Ebony Twilley Martin (center, in Greenpeace t-shirt) protest Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) fossil fuel permitting bill outside the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. on September 22, 2022. Some of the activists including Twilley Martin were later arrested. (Photo: Collin Rees/Twitter)

On Eve of Senate Vote, Climate Campaigners Make 'Big Push' Against Manchin 'Dirty Deal'

"Our elected congressional representatives cannot bless a backroom deal brokered by fossil fuel industry lobbyists that promises untold damage to American communities like mine," said one frontline activist.

Brett Wilkins

On the eve of a key U.S. Senate vote, opponents of Sen. Joe Manchin's industry-backed energy permitting bill on Monday ramped up efforts to stop legislation that critics say will boost fossil fuel development amid a worsening climate emergency.

"Sen. Joe Manchin's dirty deal could fast-track numerous coal, crude oil, and gas development projects across the country."

Some of the hundreds of groups opposed to the bill are mobilizing eleventh-hour pushes against the measure. Food & Water Watch is hosting a Monday evening virtual phone bank, while the progressive political action group Our Revolution is planning a "Stop the Dirty Deal on Capitol Hill" rally Tuesday morning. Bill McKibben, co-founder of the climate action group, as well as frontline community activists from West Virginia and Virginia, are scheduled to speak.

"Sen. Joe Manchin's dirty deal could fast-track numerous coal, crude oil, and gas development projects across the country," warned John Horning, executive director of the environmental advocacy group WildEarth Guardians. "Congress must stand up to these kinds of dirty deals that sacrifice our communities, our air, our water, and our climate."

The bill—derided by progressives as a "dirty side deal"—would allow expedited approval of oil and gas projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Manchin's home state of West Virginia. The corporate Democrat, who co-founded his family's coal brokerage firm, negotiated a compromise in which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to back the measure in return for Manchin supporting the Inflation Reduction Act, the watered-down reconciliation package signed last month by President Joe Biden.

Schumer has pledged to attach Manchin's proposal to a stopgap funding bill, called a continuing resolution, that must be passed by the end of the month in order to avert a government shutdown. Senators are set to vote Tuesday evening on a procedural motion to advance the continuing resolution. If the version with Manchin's proposal fails to pass, Schumer may choose to strip it down until it does in order to keep the government running—just six weeks before November's midterm elections.

Manchin told The Washington Post Sunday he is "very optimistic" that he can secure the 60 votes needed to pass the measure, and that he already has at least 40 Democratic votes. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who introduced her own permitting bill, said last week that she would instead support Manchin's measure.

People opposed to Manchin's bill are being urged to sign petitions and contact their members of Congress to tell them to reject the proposal and instead pass the Environmental Justice for All Act, a measure aimed at ensuring effective public notification and review of new energy projects.

"Our elected congressional representatives cannot bless a backroom deal brokered by fossil fuel industry lobbyists that promises untold damage to American communities like mine by denying them a voice in the permitting process for polluting industries," wrote Maury Johnson, a West Virginia organic farmer impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline, in an opinion piece published by Common Dreams Saturday.

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