Congress is gearing up to pass yet another continuing resolution toward government funding and naturally, the looming deadline is being utilized as a bargaining chip much like a hostage negotiation.
The discordance of the Democratic caucus reared up Friday as dozens of House members seemed to have threatened to shut down the government over the deal struck with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to secure the passage of the pared-down Build Back Better bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
In a letter penned by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent to both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), 72 Democratic representatives concurred that America’s energy needs were not to be treated as “projects of strategic national importance” in the name of climate change.
“In the face of the existential threats like climate change and MAGA extremism,” Grijalva stated according to Fox News, “House and Senate leadership has a greater responsibility than ever to avoid risking a government shutdown by jamming divisive policy riders into a must-pass continuing resolution. Permitting reform hurts already-overburdened communities, puts polluters on an even faster track, and divides the caucus.”
We have to stop @Sen_JoeManchin’s detrimental permitting changes.
These provisions will significantly and disproportionately impact low-income communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color.
— Natural Resources Committee (@NRDems) September 9, 2022
The letter brought up the agreement that Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had made with Manchin to sway his vote on the Inflation Reduction Act that would specifically allow for the Mountain Valley Pipeline natural gas project to move forward in West Virginia.
Described as provisions “at the behest of the American Petroleum Institute (API),” the sought-after ends of reforming the permitting process were described by Grijalva as a means to “restrict public access to the courts to seek remedies against illegal project development; place arbitrary limits on the amount of time the public is given to comment on polluting projects; and curtail public input, environmental review, and government accountability.”
“Additionally, the API plan would require a certain number of harmful fossil fuel projects to be designated as ‘projects of strategic national importance’ to receive priority federal support, assistance, and expedited environmental review…weaken[ing] other important public health protections, including the Clean Water Act and more,” the letter claimed.
Signed by such divisive Democratic members as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), the letter added, “We remain deeply concerned that these serious and detrimental permitting provisions will significantly and disproportionately impact low-income communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color. The inclusion of these provisions in a continuing resolution, or any other must-pass legislation, would silence the voices of frontline and environmental justice communities by insulating them from scrutiny. Such a move would force Members to choose between protecting [environmental justice] communities from further pollution or funding the government.”
Meanwhile, the letter from the Democrats wasn’t the only strong opposition being faced as 650 organizations also banded together to oppose the “fossil fuel wish list” considered “a cruel and direct attack on environmental justice communities and the climate” as previously reported.
Schumer in a pinch over permitting reform promise to Manchin, as progressive opposition builds https://t.co/s3tBL5tF5G
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) September 9, 2022
Tlaib specifically stated, “We will be united in defeating the separate Manchin ‘permitting reforms’ that will accelerate climate change and pollute Black, brown, Indigenous and low-income communities. Manchin went back on his word to get [Build Back Better] done, and we owe him nothing now.”
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