Sep 28, 2022 - Energy & Environment
Making sense of the Senate permitting collapse
A mix of politics, policy divides and a ticking clock thwarted legislation to speed permitting for energy projects ranging from fossil fuel pipelines to power transmission to renewables.
Catch up fast: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday threw in the towel for the moment.
- Democratic leaders stripped his proposal from the bill to continue government funding past Sept. 30 after it became clear the measure lacked votes.
Why it matters: Renewables industry groups called the proposal needed to realize the goals of the climate bill, which invests in a huge buildout of wind, solar and other low-carbon energy.
- But climate activists opposed making it easier to build oil-and-gas infrastructure — and specifically the bill's approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline gas project. A number of progressive Democrats sided with them.
- GOP lawmakers also want faster permitting, but some argued was too meager. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was in no mood to give Manchin a political win.
The bottom line: Add it together and there just wasn't a viable political coalition.
What we don't know: Whether efforts to revive the plan, which the White House publicly supports, have a political pulse.
- Manchin — in a statement arguing lawmakers are putting politics before energy security — vowed to keep pushing, as did Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
- The White House — in a statement that blamed Republicans but stayed silent on Democratic opposition — also said it would keep seeking a way to move the measure.