Reporters are looking below the hood of Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-WV) climate deal and what they're finding doesn't look good.
Buried in a side deal, reached between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Manchin, is a measure that will clear the way for final approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would transport fracked gas across West Virginia, Manchin's home state.
"It's not a climate solution. It's a climate bomb," the director of Fossil Free Media, Jamie Henn, wrote in a Twitter post Monday. "Fast-tracking fossil fuel projects and industry boondoggles will just throw more fuel on the climate fire... Democrats shouldn't be sacrificing communities in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline just to please a senator in the pocket of Big Oil."
"The emissions impact of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which has been mired in legal and regulatory issues for years, would be substantial," notes Jake Johnson for Common Dreams. "One analysis estimates the completed pipeline would generate 89,526,651 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equal to 26 new coal-fired power plants or 19 million passenger vehicles."
In addition, according to a one-page summary acquired by the Washington Post, the agreement "would set new two-year limits, or maximum timelines, for environmental reviews for 'major' projects," a potentially huge win for the fossil fuel industry.
Oil companies could "benefit massively from the part of the legislation that requires drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska," Johnson observes. "Another potential boon is the bill's mandate that oil and gas lease sales be held before the federal government can greenlight new solar and wind development."
While the bill has its critics on the left, however, it will also provide needed funding for renewable energy producers and electric cars. Spending on climate-related measures in the bill are about $370 billion.
"The bill would use tax credits to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars, electric HVAC systems, and other forms of cleaner technology that would lead to less emissions from cars and electricity generation, and includes incentives for companies to manufacture that technology in the United States," Vox notes. "It also includes money for a host of other climate priorities, like investing in forest and coastal restoration and in resilient agriculture.
Adds Vox, "If Democrats pass this bill, which they can do with a simple majority under Senate rules for reconciliation, it would be the single most important legislative step the US has ever taken to combat the climate crisis...The legislation helps move the US a little closer to its stated goal of cutting pollution in half within the decade."