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If it is ever completed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline is expected to deliver fracked natural gas daily from West Virginia across a 303-mile system for global markets. It has been the subject of intense litigation, racked up fines for water quality violations, and is over budget.

The pipeline would have been fast-tracked under a legislative measure that was removed from a stopgap spending bill on Tuesday after fears that robust opposition to it would lead to a government shutdown.

The permitting reform deal that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) unveiled last week had been promoted by lawmakers and some advocates as a mechanism for making it easier to build renewable energy infrastructure. But according to a story co-published by THE AMERICAN PROSPECT and THE LEVER, a close reading of the legislative text found that it would have empowered the president to speed up a handful of energy projects that would support fossil fuels, including the Mountain Valley Pipeline buildout.

Permitting Reform Is a Decoy for Ramping Up Gas
A new Manchin-Schumer deal is being marketed as a clean-energy hack, but it’s mostly about gas exports.
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Manchin’s Energy Independence and Security Act would have reformed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which mandates environmental or public health assessments for energy projects, by speeding up the review process. In another article, THE LEVER also found that a so-called “clean power” lobbying group linked to the fossil fuel industry had been selling the Manchin deal to news outlets by asserting that the legislation would “unlock clean energy, American investment, and jobs while protecting the environment.”

How A Pipeline Bill Gets Greenwashed
A “clean power” group with ties to the fossil fuel industry is selling the Manchin-Schumer gas export bill as a climate victory.
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The legislation sparked “polarized reactions” from environmentalists and backers of clean energy, but it was unclear “how big of an effect the bill will have on construction timelines, or how it will benefit fossil fuel projects compared to renewables,” GRIST reported.

Overdue reform or underhanded deal? Here’s what’s in Manchin’s permitting bill.
The bill drew criticism from both sides of the aisle, but it’s unclear how it would affect U.S. emissions.
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The permitting reform deal was an outcome of an agreement between the coal millionaire Manchin, who has long supported the Mountain Valley Pipeline, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) during negotiations over the Inflation Reduction Act.

STATES NEWSROOM via COLORADO NEWSLINE reported that Congressional Democrats were “deeply divided” over the bill, with some vehemently opposed to it. Virginia Democratic Sen Tim Kaine, who had not been part of the negotiations over the bill, said he objected to the provision about the Mountain Valley Pipeline. “I will do everything I can to oppose it,” he said.

Manchin’s energy permitting plan roils U.S. Senate and House Democrats - Colorado Newsline
Sen. Manchin’s energy permitting plan would impose timelines on federal agencies responsible for approving energy projects.
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Environmentalists, Republicans and some Democrats celebrated the demise of the deal after Manchin agreed to pull it from the stopgap spending bill, though the Senator said he would continue to work on permitting reform through a different vehicle. The White House also said it would back Manchin’s efforts and support efforts to reintroduce the bill in the coming months.

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Climate tech has become a dirty word among some progressive circles. JACOBIN looks at the evidence surrounding geoengineering—“large-scale technologies for cooling the planet”—and asks whether it should be embraced by the left as a potential solution to the climate crisis.

Geoengineering Will Be Part of a Fossil Fuel–Free Future
The carbon removal industry is coming, whether we like it or not. The Left should seize it as an opportunity to articulate and realize a progressive vision for the future — one completely rid of fossil fuels.
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In South Africa, local communities are employing a different strategy to fight oil and gas extraction by taking fossil fuel companies to court. AFRICA IS A COUNTRY reports on how communities on the east and west coasts of the country “are leading the struggle against climate change, capitalist extraction and corporate impunity.”

The land and the sea
Communities whose land is being targeted for exploration by oil and gas companies are increasingly using the courts. South Africa points to good lessons for social movements about allying with the law.
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GRIST published a new series on the experiences of three U.S. communities that have been repeatedly flooded and agreed to buyouts as part of a strategy of managed retreat.

Flood. Retreat. Repeat.
As seas rise and storms become more intense, some 40 million Americans living in floodplains are facing greater risk of disaster. Local, state, and federal officials are increasingly looking at managed retreat, or buyouts, as a way to get people out of harm’s way. In this series, Grist profiles thre…
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DRILLED reports on how the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is examining the role of PR firms in “warping the public discourse on climate.”

Three Congressional Hearings on Climate Disinfo Bring New Industry Documents to Light
PR firms are paid to engage in unethical tactics that intimidate and silence Americans who are exercising their rights to support actions that combat climate change wealthy and powerful corporate entities are dragging citizens and public interest opponents through meritless. But protracted and extre…
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HEATED interviewed Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) from the oversight committee on its investigation into Big Oil.

Listen to our interview with Rep. Ro Khanna
The Congressman leading the House Oversight investigation into Big Oil reflects on this past year’s triumphs and struggles.
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U.S. climate czar John Kerry is “working behind the scenes” to remove World Bank President David Malpass, THE NATION reports. The Trump appointee was called a “climate denier” after he refused to accept the scientific evidence for global warming.

The White House Wants a Climate Denier Out as World Bank President
John Kerry backs Al Gore’s call to “get rid of” David Malpass at the world’s largest development bank.
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Puerto Rico After Hurricane Fiona: Three Questions for Federico Cintrón Moscoso

Federico Cintrón Moscoso is president of El Puente-Latino Climate Action Network, based in Puerto Rico. We spoke Tuesday by Zoom shortly after his power came back on following an outage. El Puente advocates for climate policies and to expand solar power on the island.

As a climate justice activist in Puerto Rico, what is your view of the response to Hurricane Fiona?

What we're seeing a week after Fiona is very similar to the pattern that we saw after Maria in the sense that there are two parallel efforts. One is led by the government, and one led by the social justice organizations and the communities. What we learned after Hurricane Maria is that the response from the government is slow, inadequate, and criminal.

Why do you say that the response by the government has been criminal?

The government has the responsibility to take care of the people. Every agency that deals with safety in Puerto Rico has that responsibility by law. So not fulfilling that responsibility would constitute in fact a crime. They have the mandate to protect the infrastructure that is going to provide safety to the people of Puerto Rico. And they're not doing that. I'll give you one example. By law, Puerto Rico was supposed to have a mitigation and adaptation plan written and approved by October of last year. And they haven't done that. We had to take the Department of Natural Resources to court to force them to produce that plan.

How has the U.S. federal government response been in Puerto Rico?

In the case of Fiona, something very weird happened. There was an emergency declaration by FEMA, and suddenly the first map that came out of the municipalities that were included in the declaration covered half of the island, as if only half of the island was impacted by the hurricane. In the last three, four days, the community organizations and the social justice organizations have been launching a campaign for FEMA to include the other municipalities. To make things worse, some of the municipalities that got left out were actually in the most affected areas. It was completely bizarre.

Check out some recent coverage of the impact of Hurricane Fiona from OptOut members:

Media Roundtable: Puerto Rico struggles to recover from Hurricane Fiona, five years after Maria
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Puerto Rico’s Colonial Status Left It Vulnerable to Hurricane Fiona
When a place is controlled by a government in which it has no representation, it will be abused.
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