Energy & Environment — Manchin hits ‘revenge politics’ amid GOP opposition

·5 min read

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is condemning Republican opposition to his permitting package while also saying that long-awaited text will come on Wednesday.

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Manchin says permitting text coming Wednesday

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) condemned what he described as “revenge politics” as many Republicans have resisted his efforts to speed up the approval process for energy projects.

  • “It’s like the revenge politics, basically revenge towards one person: me. And I’m thinking, ‘this is not about me,’ ” he told reporters on Tuesday.

  • “I’m hearing that the Republican leadership is upset and they’re saying ‘we’re not going to give a victory to Joe Manchin’ — Joe Manchin’s not looking for a victory,” he added. “We’ve got a good piece of legislation that’s extremely balanced and I think it’ll prove itself in time. The bottom line is, how much suffering and how much pain do you want to inflict on the American people for the time.”

Republicans have felt spurned after Manchin announced his support for the Democratic bill hours after a bipartisan computer chips and science bill passed the Senate. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had previously threatened that bill’s passage if Democrats pursued their bill.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, a coalition of liberal Democrats has also come together to resist the effort, arguing that it will undercut the environmental inspections that often draw out the permitting process.

But Manchin said on Tuesday that “we do not bypass any of the environmental reviews,” which he said was the main difference between his package and a separate proposal from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).

Text incoming: The senator told reporters that the text of his proposal would be released on Wednesday and that it would explicitly speed up the approval process for the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

Read more about Manchin’s remarks here.

WHAT THE GOP IS SAYING 

Senate Republicans are threatening to sink Manchin’s side deal on permitting reform, partly because they are still angry over the West Virginia Democrat’s flip-flop on the sweeping climate, health and tax bill that Congress passed last month.

  • Republican senators say a continuing resolution combined with Manchin’s permitting reform proposal probably won’t get 10 GOP votes in the upper chamber.

  • They say there’s little appetite for giving Manchin a big political and policy victory after he shocked them over the summer by announcing a deal with Schumer on the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I don’t think you can count on any Republicans to commit to vote for something they haven’t seen,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who raised concerns about the fact that Manchin hasn’t yet circulated an updated draft of his permitting reform bill.

Baby now we got bad blood: “Generally speaking, Republicans are for permitting reform. I think given what Sen. Manchin did on the reconciliation bill has engendered a lot of bad blood,” Cornyn added.

Read more about the Republican position here, from The Hill’s Alexander Bolton.

Puerto Rico outages spurs call for probe

New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) on Tuesday called for a federal investigation into Puerto Rican energy provider Luma Energy after Hurricane Fiona swept through the U.S. territory and initially knocked out power throughout the island.

James sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) urging them to probe the “frequent and lengthy outages” throughout Puerto Rico since Luma Energy took over operations of the electric grid in 2021.

  • “While I fully support relief efforts underway to help Puerto Rico, I am convinced that we need long-term structural support for the island, not just band aids that take us from one crisis to the next,” James said in a statement. “One of these structural challenges is the power grid and the electrical supply Puerto Ricans rely on for basic necessities.”

  • “Puerto Ricans are rightly concerned about the failures of LUMA, the island’s electric supplier,” she added.

After Hurricane Fiona made landfall on Sunday, it knocked out power for the roughly 1.5 million customers on the island. The entire grid ultimately failed, affecting Puerto Rico’s more than 3 million residents.

As of Tuesday, more than a million customers on the island are still without power, according to PowerOutage.us, and many Puerto Ricans lack access to potable water.

Read more here, from The Hill’s Brad Dress. 

SENATE ADVANCES CLIMATE TREATY

A climate treaty known as the Kigali Amendment passed a procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday, suggesting that it’s likely to get sufficient support when it’s soon taken up.

The Senate voted 64-30 in favor of advancing the treaty, which calls for the phasedown of extremely potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons.

Three Democrats were among the lawmakers who did not vote, so barring any changes or surprises, the treaty should squeeze by with at least the 67 votes that it needs for ratification.

In 2020, the U.S. passed a law mandating the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons.

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on water infrastructure

  • The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing on the bipartisan infrastructure law

  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s National Parks subcommittee will hold a hearing on pending legislation

  • The House Natural Resources Committee will mark up fisheries legislation


WHAT WE’RE READING

  • Midwestern states agree to collaborate on expanding hydrogen production, use (Cleveland.com)

  • Pentagon Shift to PFAS-Free Foam Spurring ‘Tidal Wave’ of Change (Bloomberg Law)

  • Nigeria battles worst floods in years; 300 killed in 2022 (The Associated Press

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow

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