Environmental Justice Activists Call for Rejection of Manchin’s Fossil Fuel Side Deal
Black, Indigenous, and people of color from across the country rallied on Thursday, demanding Congress and President Biden reject an energy permitting overhaul that would expedite fossil fuel infrastructure, including pipelines like the beleaguered Mountain Valley Pipeline.
“For so long… these industries have been placed in BIPOC communities that are too often targeted by these projects. It’s time for them to stop. We can no longer be made sacrifices for oil and gas,” said Roishetta Ozane, an organizer for Healthy Gulf whose Southwest Louisiana home is surrounded by refineries and petrochemical plants. She challenged lawmakers to “breathe the air we breathe. Drink the water we drink. And feel everything we feel in a community where everywhere we look we see industry.”
In negotiations to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised coal millionaire and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III he would support the side deal, which would undermine foundational environmental protections under NEPA that are critical for communities to challenge projects that harm them.
The changes are “something the Republican Party has wanted for the last five to seven years,” Manchin told West Virginia Metro News. The Schumer-Manchin side deal faces stiff opposition from House Democrats, as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders, but Senate Democratic leadership say they will attach it to an upcoming “must pass” government funding bill.
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