Despite weeks of negotiations, the White House and House Republicans were unable to reach a comprehensive agreement to overhaul environmental regulations and streamline federal permitting as part of their budget deal. Although the measure falls short of the comprehensive overhaul that the White House has been seeking, it still is expected to speed up infrastructure projects and limit reviews that have bogged down construction. President Joe Biden has sought the changes to clear the way for clean energy initiatives to help reach his climate goals. However, the legislation has frustrated some environmentalists, especially because it advances construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would carry natural gas through Appalachia.
The deal would also streamline the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a landmark environmental regulation, to limit its requirements on some projects.
Critics say allowing the Mountain Valley Pipeline to be fast-tracked would be a "colossal error" after a history of construction complaints and the impacts of its potential emissions.
A group of Republican lawmakers, urged on by oil and gas lobbyists, saw an opening for the Mountain Valley Pipeline. They made it happen quickly.
The deal does little for the clean energy transition, and expedites a natural gas pipeline. But it keeps intact spending in Biden’s climate bill -- an early target for the GOP.
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Manchin helped secure a provision to approve all remaining permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline and shield the project from further litigation.