On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin presented his latest bill to speed up the approval process for projects that use both fossil fuels and renewable energy. He is trying to get support from both major parties after several similar bills failed last year.
The Building American Energy Security Act sets a two-year limit on environmental reviews for large federal energy projects and a one-year limit for smaller ones. It also shortens the time it takes for courts to rule on energy projects and tells the president of the United States to pick at least 25 high-level energy projects and make getting their permits a priority.
In a press release, Manchin, a conservative Democrat from coal- and gas-rich West Virginia, said, “There is overwhelming bipartisan recognition that our current permitting processes don’t work, and there is also bipartisan support for fixing it with comprehensive permitting reform legislation.”
The tweet below verifies the news:
The bill also says that the Mountain Valley Pipeline from Equitrans Midstream Corp. needs to be finished. This pipeline would go through Manchin’s state. The 300-mile (480 km), $6.6 billion natural gas project is almost done, but it still needs a few permits.
Environmental groups and some of Manchin’s fellow Democrats had criticized his earlier permitting measures as handouts to fossil fuel companies, which contributed to last year’s failures.
Republicans who didn’t like it when Manchin backed President Joe Biden’s climate bill didn’t back his bill last year.
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The Bill is a Key Part of the Energy Transition
But people who support clean energy say that the bill, which would speed up power transmission projects, is a key part of the energy transition that was backed by the Inflation Reduction Act of last year, which gave $369 billion in tax breaks and other incentives to help fight climate change.
And some Republicans in the Senate, which is now run by Democrats, could back Manchin if their states would gain from energy projects.
The Republicans in the House passed an energy reform bill on March 30. This bill was meant to help oil and gas and cut back on climate measures. For the bill to move forward, the House would probably have to get rid of a lot of these parts. For the bill to become law, it would have to pass both houses and get Biden’s signature.
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