Future Hope column, August 22, 2022
Senator Schumer, Did Manchin Tell You Oil/Gas Was Drafting the Side Deal?
By Ted Glick
Did Joe Manchin tell Chuck Schumer that the American Petroleum Institute was going to draft “must-pass” legislation, a pro-fossil fuels side deal, to go along with the Inflation Reduction Act?
On August 3, just a few days before the Senate passed, by a 51-50 vote, that IRA legislation, Bloomberg news released a story about the pro-fossil fuels side deal which should be finally released publicly any day now. Manchin said a month ago that there was a side deal agreement between him and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
This agreement will allegedly allow a vote in September on a yet-to-be-released piece of legislation that will do many bad things: grease the wheels for the destructive Mountain Valley Pipeline to be built; severely undercut the National Environmental Policy Act; speed up the federal permitting process for proposed fossil fuel projects; undercut the power of the federal courts to make decisions that slow down approvals of fossil fuel pipelines and infrastructure; and more.
The Bloomberg article on August 3 reported that “a July 19 draft bill text circulating among lobbyists and lawmakers doesn’t cite any specific, individual project by name. Rather, it is a broad framework aimed at streamlining the permitting process for pipelines and other energy projects under the National Environmental Policy Act. . . The document carries a “Draft – API” watermark. API could stand for the American Petroleum Institute, a powerful lobbying organization for the oil and gas industry. API has had discussions with Manchin staff about the permitting overhaul, and the July 19 date of the document lines up with those discussions, Frank J. Macchiarola, the organization’s senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, said in an interview. But API didn’t write or edit the document, Macchiarola said.”
Yeah, right. An API watermark isn’t proof of anything. There’s probably lots of people or organizations with the initials “API” who are experts on fossil fuels and are friendly with coal baron Joe Manchin. NOT!
The API crowd are Joe’s people. At an infamous hearing of the Manchin-chaired Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 4th of this year, Manchin said, in the heat of a back-and-forth between him/the Republicans and the three Democrats who make up a majority of the five-person leadership group of FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “you are wearing people out,” in a clear reference to Manchin’s people, the coal, oil and gas CEO’s and those on their boards of directors. “There’s a policy by some of death by a thousand cuts on the fossil fuel industry;” and “I know these people, they’re not going to invest, they’re going to walk away.”
Manchin and the Republicans were upset because a couple of weeks before, by a 3-2 vote, FERC decided to change its decision-making policy when a methane gas pipeline company applies for a permit for an interstate gas pipeline and/or related infrastructure, like compressor stations, export terminals or storage terminals. Instead of a rubber stamp policy, which is literally what it has been for over 20 years at FERC, the Democrats in the majority voted for something different, like specifically taking environmental justice and climate change seriously into account.
The Manchin/Republicans gambit worked. A couple weeks after the March 4 hearing the FERC Democrats reversed course, and this new policy was put on hold, which is still the case five months later.
Will Manchin be successful in this latest effort to keep “these people” in the oil and gas industry happy, with Chuck Schumer using his power in the Senate to make it happen? You don’t need to do it Senator Schumer! You owe nothing to scheming Joe Manchin. Just say, “No Joe, I am not going to allow a vote on a bill drafted by the oil and gas industry, the American Petroleum Institute.”
Chuck Schumer and other Democrats in the Senate and House need to be bombarded for the next month by the people’s movement for climate and environmental justice movement and all people who get it on the urgent need to shift from fossil fuels to clean, jobs-creating, renewable energy. Just say no, Chuck!
Ted Glick works with Beyond Extreme Energy and is president of 350NJ-Rockland. Past writings and other information, including about Burglar for Peace and 21st Century Revolution, two books published by him in 2020 and 2021, can be found at https://tedglick.com. He can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick.