‘Heavy Lifting’ Needed to Pass US Energy Permit Act – Mansion

US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) holds a visual aid as he talks to reporters at the US Capitol in Washington, US, September 20, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz/File Photo

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PITTSBURGH/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin warned on Friday that bipartisan opposition to his energy permit reform bill could derail his plan to include it in temporary spending legislation and pass it by the end of the month.

Manchin, a centrist Democrat in West Virginia, who will need the important swing vote in the Senate by 50-50, will likely need 10 Republicans for his permit bill introduced this week. The bill would speed up approvals for fossil fuel projects such as natural gas pipelines and also for electricity transmission lines needed to deliver power from wind and solar farms to cities.

Yet getting enough support to include it in the spending bill is an uphill battle, with opposition Republicans wanting a bill more suitable for fossil fuels and progressive Democrats who fear that speeding up the permit will degrade basic environmental laws and harm overburdened communities. pollution. Emissions from fossil fuel projects are a major cause of climate change.

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“By next week, we will either have a permit process that accelerates and allows us to compete on a global basis for how we do things and bring things to market, and politics gets in the way,” Manchin said at the Global Clean Energy Action conference. Forum in Pittsburgh.

He said it would take “a lot of heavy lifting” over the next two or three days to overcome opposition from “strange comrades” ranging from progressive Senator Bernie Sanders to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The reform bill comes as a result of a settlement that Manchin presented with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to secure West Virginia’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act, a $430 billion bill seen as the largest climate package in US history, designed to reduce domestic warming. Gas emissions and lower prescription drug prices.

Manchin, who was boycotted by protesters opposed to focusing on fossil fuels in his plan, said that if Congress failed to reform the permitting process, it would jeopardize the clean energy investments the larger law stimulated.

“With the IRA, everything is based on a 10-year window. If it takes seven to eight years or more to allow for something, we’re going to miss out on these investments,” he said. Conference.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Friday that the Biden administration continues to support congressional efforts to reform the energy licensing process.

“We at the Department of Energy are very excited about the possibility of simplifying permits in clean energy projects,” Granholm told reporters.

She said the permit deal holds “the greatest promise” to meeting the administration’s goal of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035.

Without allowing for reforms like the Mansion bill, there would be more carbon emissions, less money invested in energy conversion, and the IRA would be expected to generate fewer clean energy jobs, said Heather Zitchell, CEO of American Clean Power.

“We must put politics aside and come together to pass common sense and allow for long-overdue reforms,” ​​Zikal said in an opinion piece in The Hill. “As Congress considers potential reforms to the permit system, we cannot let this unprecedented opportunity pass us by.”

An aide to Schumer said Thursday that a procedural vote on the government funding bill is expected on Tuesday.

Congress faces a September 30 deadline to pass legislation to approve funding to keep the government running beyond the current fiscal year.

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Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner in Washington. Editing by Mark Porter, Jonathan Otis and Josie Kao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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