Senator Joe Manchin receives more political donations from the fossil fuel industry than any other senator, Democrat or Republican. So it was no surprise when he introduced a bill that attacked vital environmental laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and mandated building the Mountain Valley gas pipeline despite local opposition. Overall, the bill would make it easier for Manchin’s donors to build new mines and fossil fuel projects — all on top of harming frontline communities and worsening our climate crisis.
Manchin teamed up with Democratic leadership to try and add his bill into must-pass legislation to force Congress to pass it. And, in a stunning series of environmental victories by frontline communities, it was blocked three times from becoming law.
Initially, Manchin tried to add his so-called “permitting reform” legislation to a funding bill aimed to avoid a government shutdown — and we stopped him. Two months later, Manchin tried to tie his bill to the Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — and we stopped him. A week later, he tried yet again to sneak his bill as an NDAA amendment — and he was swiftly voted down in the Senate.
Over and over again, environmental groups and frontline communities thwarted Manchin’s attempts to gut Environmental Justice. Our staff tirelessly lobbied Congressional offices to keep this deal off any must-pass legislation, our members called and emailed their representatives, and we took to the streets to rally with Jane Fonda and other climate activists to highlight our concerns.
Blocking Manchin’s bill is a massive win for people and the planet. It means that we can protect community engagement in the energy development decision-making process, block fast-tracked permitting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and invest in renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
Friends of the Earth emphasizes the magnitude of this victory, and we are grateful for the support of the members of Congress who led the charge against Manchin and his Dirty Deal. We are eager to continue working with these climate champions to keep protecting our communities and environment from corporate polluters and the politicians in their pockets.
We are sure Manchin will continue to try and sneak this bill into legislation — but we’re not backing down from this fight. We will not rest until this bill gets a separate vote in Congress and dies for good.