Debt ceiling deal includes surprise approval of pipeline championed by Manchin

Text of the debt cap bill released Sunday would approve all remaining permits to complete the stalled Mountain Valley pipeline, delivering a big win for the West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley MooreCapito.

But support for the pipeline that would bring gas from West Virginia to the Southeast is sure to spark bitter complaints from environmental groups who have fought its construction for years and turned the project into a symbol of their fight against fossil fuels.

Manchin welcomed the wording of the bill, saying completing the pipeline would reduce energy costs for the United States and West Virginia.

“I am proud to have fought for this critical project and to have obtained the bipartisan support necessary to bring it over the finish line,” he said in a statement.

The bill approved by the White House and House Republicans still needs to be approved by both houses of Congress, which is expected to happen in the coming week.

“After working with President McCarthy and reiterating what completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline would mean for American jobs and national energy production, I am thrilled that it is included in the debt ceiling package that avoid default,” Capito, a Republican, said in a statement. “Despite delay after delay, we have continued to fight to get this vital gas pipeline up and running, and its inclusion in this agreement is an important victory for West Virginia’s future.”

The project has won support from the White House, which argues the controversial project is necessary for US energy security. His approval comes after approval of the Willow oil project in Alaska, which activists say undermines the Biden administration’s climate promises.

Including the bill in the debt bill came as a surprise that was not revealed by any of the negotiating parties until the text of the bill was released on Sunday evening.

The bill approves all outstanding permits for the pipeline, which has suffered legal setbacks.

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