CCAN says: “We will not take this lying down. Our fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not over.”

Richmond, VA Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted to approve the debt ceiling agreement and against an amendment to remove provisions that fast-track approval for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The MVP is a proposed 303-mile fracked-gas pipeline that would run through West Virginia and southwest Virginia and result in as much carbon pollution annually as 26 coal-fired power plants. Its approval was inserted into the agreement as a political favor from President Joe Biden to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in return for his vote for the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. 

An amendment to remove the MVP provisions was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) in the Senate and Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan (D-VA) in the House of Representatives, and supported by the entire Virginia Democratic delegation, but neither effort was successful. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Act, which now awaits the President’s signature, declares that completion of the MVP “is required in the national interest.” It requires the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue all permits within 21 days of the law’s enactment and hamstrings other government agencies, bypassing their long-established environmental review processes. Finally, it prohibits courts from reviewing all pending and future permits for MVP. The bill also undercuts the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), undermining decades of environmental protections. 

 Victoria Higgins, Virginia Director for Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), stated:  

First, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Senator Kaine and Congresswoman McClellan for championing the effort to remove MVP from this bill. Today, we are grieving for the families in southwest Virginia who have fought this pipeline tooth and nail for eight years. Their home should not be sacrificed as a political favor. We are grieving for ourselves, and especially our young people, for whom this represents a huge step backwards in our urgent fight against climate change. Their future should not be a bargaining chip. And we are grieving for our lands and waters, cherished places which will now be less protected.

But let us be clear: more than anything, we are furious. We feel betrayed by the Biden administration, who transparently traded the people and land of Southwest Virginia for a vote. The President’s commitment to climate and environmental justice is merely rhetoric if he continues to approve massive new fossil fuel infrastructure and reduce and sidestep community and judicial review. We’re equally furious at the Republicans who threatened to drive our economy off the cliff to pursue their political ends. We will not take this lying down. Our fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline is not over.

Chesapeake Climate Action Network has been involved in the fight to stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline since 2015 through organizing and legal action. With our partners, CCAN successfully defeated attempts to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Chickahominy Gas Plant and Pipeline in Virginia, as well as numerous other fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

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The Chesapeake Climate Action Network is the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For more than 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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