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The Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project in West Virginia and Virginia could get an accelerated approval timeline under a side-deal between West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer separate from the climate bill, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing a summary of the agreement it had obtained.
Last week, in a U-turn, Senator Joe Manchin agreed to back the Democrats’ plans to pass legislation cementing hundreds of billions in climate change spending. Manchin sealed a deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on a bill involving $370 billion in climate spending.
The move to back the climate and tax bill came after Senator Manchin, who holds a swing vote in a 50-50 Senate, said earlier in July that he would not support President Joe Biden’s energy and climate investments bill. Senator Manchin declined to back the energy and climate provisions, as well as the tax provisions, in the reconciliation bill on which the Senate Democrats have been working. But two weeks later, he agreed to back the bill after all.
Separately, Manchin and Schumer have now agreed to pursue reform on permitting that would “require the relevant agencies to take all necessary actions to permit the construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and give the DC Circuit jurisdiction over any further litigation,” according to the summary of the agreement seen by Bloomberg.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project is a natural gas pipeline system that would span approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and would bring natural gas from Marcellus and Utica shale basins to markets in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions of the United States.
Early this year, however, a U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the federal permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, stalling the project.
Several natural gas pipeline projects haven’t seen the light of day in recent years, including the $8-billion Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline, which was canceled by developers Dominion Energy and Duke Energy in mid-2020 in view of ongoing delays and major cost overruns.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com