WASHINGTON, D.C. — A group of West Virginians are among those protesting a deal crafted by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin to restart work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline in West Virginia.
Manchin reached an agreement with leaders of the Democratic party in the U.S. Senate to pave the way for completion of the gas line to transport shale gas from West Virginia to the east coast markets. The agreement paved the way for Manchin’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act.
But Denise Elliot of Lewisburg believes it’s a betrayal of Manchin’s constituency. In fact, she and nine West Virginians protesting the pipeline, say language in the deal which cleared the way for the pipeline also would silence critics.
“The people that know the damage being done, the voices of these people are not being heard. This is going to shutdown our right to speak to the government,” she said from Washington D.C. on Thursday.
JUST NOW! “what about community input?” @halfalachian from @POWHR_Coalition asks “That’s why it’s been held up for so long” Manchin replies. You’re damn right it is! 🔥 And we are here today in DC to keep it up #NoMVP #NoSacraficeZones pic.twitter.com/BquaDM83p8
— People vs. Fossil Fuels (@FightFossils) September 8, 2022
The delegation from West Virginia met with their Congressional representatives and planned to join a protest from environmental activists nationally to the side deal. In a release announcing the protest the STOP MVP Coalition and the People vs. Fossil Fuels Coalition called the deal a designation of the Appalachian Region as a “climate sacrifice zone.”
“We are done being sacrifice zones, and we must stop this bill and MVP!” said the groups. “We must protect bedrock environmental laws and public input. We are in solidarity with all frontlines of the climate crisis.”
Elliot said deregulation would cause irreparable harm not only to the West Virginia landscape, but to the ability of the people to fight for environmental protection.
“If they followed the proper ground work, did what they were supposed to do, and perhaps listened to the people who are going to be impacted by this it could go more smoothly,” said Elliot.
“But instead, they’re going to just fast track it. To us that means they don’t care how we are affected or what our opinion is and that big business is just going to take whatever it wants,” she added.
Manchin and Schumer’s backroom deal is designed to fast track fossil fuels, not get more renewable energy projects built. Big Oil wants to build dirty projects quickly so they can try and crowd clean energy out of the market. We need to stop them: https://t.co/czXlPHwhIM! ‼️ pic.twitter.com/OUU2syZ5zw
— People vs. Fossil Fuels (@FightFossils) September 6, 2022
As part of the protest a group calling itself Progressive Democrats of America demanded a meeting with Democratic leaders to talk about what they considered a betrayal and to discuss defeating the proposal promised to Manchin in exchange for his support of the IRA.
“None of the party’s key constituencies will be upset if it is defeated, and many will rejoice.” the group said in their release.