Young people have excoriated Manchin – who gets his millions from a coal-related business – saying that he’s signing their death warrant. This comes right after the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia v EPA that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot enact sweeping measures to reduce carbon and methane pollution. And that is right after SCOTUS overturned Roe v Wade, threw out a New York law restricting carrying guns in public, and ruled police can’t be sued if they don’t read suspects their Miranda rights.
Sounds like we’re going in the wrong direction(s).
Biden and Democrats in the Senate were tip-toeing around Manchin, trying to avoid annoying or angering him so they could consummate a deal. Now that he’s closed that door (though not entirely – after his third snub he unbelievably dangled a little hope that maybe someday he would support something) Democrats can stop kowtowing to him.
One of his demands has been that federal regulators allow completion of the Mountain Valley pipeline, which runs through his state of WV and Virginia. It’s a fracked gas pipeline only a little more than half complete. The company filed a formal application with FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) in October 2015 with an in-service date of late 2018. The locals have been fighting it ever since. The company already got one 2-year extension and is currently pursuing a 4-year one. (See my June post for more about opposition to the pipeline.)
Now that Dems have nothing to gain from placating Joe, I’m hopeful that the bureaucratic wheels will turn to deny the extension (on the sturdiest of legal grounds, of course, which certainly exist, in spades – mainly that the company has racked up thousands of violations; completing it would endanger the water, air and land of surrounding communities; it would generate a significant amount of all the greenhouse gases in the U.S.; and it is not meant for local consumption). FERC gave a ridiculously short time frame for comments on the petition, but due to public pressure the agency extended the deadline to July 29. And you can help by signing one or all of these petitions, and bonus points for personalizing it:
Sierra Club Comment: https://act.sierraclub.org/actions/National?actionId=AR0363219
Appalachian Voices Petition: https://tinyurl.com/3pv9bzsx
Chesapeake Climate Action Network Petition: act.chesapeakeclimate.org/page/42391/-/1
I’ve had some interesting discussions recently about whether the strategy of pushing Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop implementation of fossil fuel infrastructure, subsidies and exports is the right one. I’ve been part of local, state and national groups that have been advocating exactly that for years. Some folks I respect say we should be more positive and talk about solutions and not be such Debbie and Donny Downers. My only problem with that approach is, we can build out all the solar panels and wind turbines and battery storage we want, and we can promote energy efficiency and conservation (not using the energy in the first place) 24/7, but if we don’t turn off the gas and oil spigots (coal is dying on its own, but we definitely should encourage its retirement), we are not going to dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in. And we need to be serious about providing new, well-paying jobs for those who are laid off, either in the clean energy sector or some other arena.
The People vs Fossil Fuels national coalition of more than 1,200 groups is calling for local actions around the country on August 2, demanding that President Biden declare a climate emergency and stop approval of all new fossil fuel projects. We are planning one in Connecticut. For more info: www.peoplevsfossilfuels.org or for the CT action fill out this form right away for our meeting July 28 at 7 p.m. -- https://tinyurl.com/57ykc3jh
Photo is of an occupation of the MVP right of way.