(Bloomberg) -- An amendment that would strip language in the debt-ceiling bill expediting approval of Equitrans Midstream Corp.’s Mountain Valley Pipeline will receive a Senate vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Thursday.
It remains to be seen if the measure proposed by Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who would see the pipeline cut through his state, will muster the requisite majority votes for passage. If it does pass in the Senate, the revised debt-ceiling legislation would need to go back for a second vote in the House.
Language in the current debt-ceiling legislation would require federal agencies to issue the remaining permits needed for the 303-mile (488-kilometer) natural gas pipeline and shield those approvals from legal challenges, enraging environmentalists and progressive Democrats. The $6.6 billion project, which is years behind schedule and would provide drillers in the gas-rich Appalachian Basin with much-needed takeaway capacity, has been repeatedly stalled by challenges from climate advocates.
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“All pipeline permitting should be done by regulatory agencies,” Kaine said in an interview Thursday. “Congress shouldn’t put their thumb on the scale to say ‘yes or no.’ Mountain Valley should be treated like every other applicant. They shouldn’t be given a special deal and just have all judicial review and administrative process waived away.”
The language supporting the multibillion dollar pipeline was slipped into the must-pass debt-limit legislation at the behest of Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who provided the pivotal vote on President Joe Biden’s massive climate law in the evenly divided Senate last summer.
In addition to Equitrans Midstream, other companies with a stake in the joint venture include NextEra Energy Inc., Con Edison Transmission Inc. and WGL Midstream Ltd.
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