MORGANTOWN – The debt ceiling bill passed the U.S. Senate late Thursday evening and will head to the president’s desk. The vote was 63-36 with four Democrats plus Bernie Sanders voting against it, along with 31 of the 49 Republicans.
West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito both voted for it. Included in the bill are provisions to ensure completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Both celebrated the win. along with other West Virginia groups. Here is a look at some of their comments, along with a couple critical comments.
“I am proud to announce that we have finally secured the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline and have done so with broad, bipartisan support. … West Virginia is truly America’s Energy MVP and we are proud to continue providing the energy the rest of our nation relies on. This transformational project will create more than 2,500 jobs, generate $50 million in tax revenue and more than $175 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners, and play a significant role in strengthening our domestic energy production, which will lower costs for consumers in West Virginia and across the country.
“Perhaps even more importantly, the MVP opens up markets for our natural resources, giving us untold new revenue sources and developing industries that our grandchildren and future generations will benefit from. The project has gone through three rounds of permitting approvals at various federal agencies, which included six environmental impact statements, so we know it will be completed in a manner that protects West Virginia’s lands and waters.”
“I am very glad we did the responsible thing and took action to prevent our nation from facing default. In doing so, we were also able to advance policies, including SNAP work requirements, clawing back unspent COVID funds, and the cut to the IRS budget, which are all responsible and necessary actions good for West Virginia and the entire country.
“This package also includes a provision to expedite the completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, something I personally fought to include, as well as language to help streamline projects and make it easier to build in America — another area I have advocated for and worked on for years. This effort was truly a bipartisan one and demonstrates that Congress, as a whole, can work together to avoid default, which was the ultimate goal.”
Gas and Oil Association of West Virginia
GO-WV Executive Director Charlie Burd: “Our Congressional delegation, led by Sen. Joe Manchin, with the support of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito and Congresswoman Carol Miller, made West Virginians proud, as the Fiscal Responsibility Act passage is an historic moment for the nation and our state’s economy. This legislation not only preserves America’s financial standing but brings initial permitting reforms and expedites the Mountain Valley Pipeline completion, which has been stuck in a permitting nightmare.
“We look forward to President Biden’s swift signing of this bill, as supporting the FRA means improving access to clean, affordable and reliable natural gas, while strengthening West Virginia’s economy.”
Equitrans – builder of MVP
Equitrans Midstream CEO Thomas F. Karam: “We are grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Democratic and Republican legislators who have worked diligently to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023. … This legislation makes clear that a robust and diverse energy mix is vital to our Nation’s prosperity and security.”
West Virginia Chamber President Steve Roberts
“Including the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the Debt Limit Deal is a big win for West Virginia. This pipeline is a transformational project in terms of energy security for the United States and will help ensure that our country is fully utilizing our vital natural resources. I want to sincerely thank all who helped make this a key part of the debt limit package.”
West Virginia Manufacturing Association President Rebecca McPhail
“As manufacturers we support natural gas as an affordable and reliable source of power for our businesses and our homes. As West Virginians, we welcome an opportunity for our natural gas production industry to achieve greater exposure to markets elsewhere. Completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline will be a win for industry and our state.”
Environmental groups have not been pleased that the bill expedites completion of the MVP. Among them is Appalachian Voices, a group that “brings people together to protect the land, air and water of Central and Southern Appalachia and advance a just transition to a generative and equitable clean energy economy.”
Executive Director Tom Cormons
“This attempt to force federal agencies to issue permits for a dangerous, damaging project that has repeatedly failed to demonstrate it can comply with the law and then strip the courts of their role in the process is fundamentally at odds with how American democracy is supposed to work. Passage of the Mountain Valley Pipeline provisions is an affront to all the affected community members, including those who have fought so hard and so successfully to protect their land and their families for nearly a decade.
“But the fight is not over. Defeating this unnecessary and ill-conceived project that has already degraded water quality across two states and would contribute significantly to the climate crisis if it is completed and brought into service is a top priority.”
Director of Government Affairs and Strategy Chelsea Barnes
“The free pass for Mountain Valley Pipeline had no place in the legislation that passed this evening. … The Mountain Valley Pipeline has repeatedly failed to demonstrate that it can be constructed without gross violations of the law. This action by Congress and the White House to attempt to skirt environmental laws, force the issuance of permits and strip the courts of their authority is an abuse of power and a denial of environmental justice.”