We applaud U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, who continue to represent West Virginians — and all Americans — well by working to strengthen this nation’s energy independence.
Unfortunately, the senators’ efforts continue to run into obstacles put in place by the Biden administration, as well as by a process that allows far too many energy project challenges through regulatory and legal maneuvering.
The latest example came Monday, as the 4th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals pulled a key water permit needed for construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
The court, favored by environmentalists trying to sideline a project that is 94% complete and would open West Virginia’s natural gas reserves to be transported to new markets, said the state Department of Environmental Protection didn’t properly vet the permit.
Manchin condemned the ruling during an interview with WV News on Tuesday.
“It’s just so mind-boggling why the 4th Circuit has seemed like they’ve done everything in their power to make sure that we don’t have necessary resources to be energy independent,” he said.
Manchin said the Mountain Valley Pipeline is one of the projects needed to further efforts to make the U.S. energy independent.
“There’s not another project in America that would put this much product in the marketplace this quick — I understand that within six months they can be in operation,” he said. “The Carolinas need this product; the country needs the flow of the product; and West Virginia needs to be able to move the product. It’s a win-win from that standpoint.”
Capito said the court ruling is another example of why the energy permitting process must be reformed.
“Once again, a key natural gas pipeline project is needlessly being held up in court,” she tweeted. “This most recent roadblock of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is 94% complete, underscores the need for real reforms to our permitting and judicial review processes.”
Capito and Manchin are both working with Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., to take parts of a House-passed permitting reform bill and find ways to get them through the Senate.
“I think there is an appetite for permitting reform, and it’s growing every day,” Capito said. “We’re already in preliminary conversations with Republicans and Democrats on this.”
It is time for a majority of lawmakers in Washington — regardless of party affiliation — to step up to do the right thing.
Not only is permitting reform needed for oil and natural gas pipelines, but it is also needed for high-tension power lines, which are critical to transforming transportation to be fueled by electricity.
Once again, Manchin, Capito and others are showing a real pathway to energy independence, which in turn leads to increased national security.
That should be the goal of all lawmakers — and President Biden.