After bipartisan rebuff, Manchin abandons private legislative deal to help fossil fuel projects
The U.S. Senate has rejected a bipartisan compromise reached this week to help support more of the country’s coal and oil projects, including a proposed expansion of the Energy East pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, and the proposed expansion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had been expected to join with Senate Commerce Committee Chair Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in an effort to craft an alternative bill for approval by a simple majority vote in the upper chamber.
But Manchin said that he would not support the bill on Tuesday and instead proposed that the Senate pass two other bills that would “properly” address the impacts of the pipeline proposals: one requiring additional protections for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the event of a leak of one of the pipelines into their reservation land; and another bill aimed at helping the U.S. Forest Service to manage hundreds of existing open-cut coal seams from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to the Dakotas, many of which are located in counties with strong support for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Manchin’s decision comes as many Republicans, like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), now say they will vote against the pipeline, because it is a job creator — but will only do so if Trump pulls out of the trade agreement and leaves the U.S. vulnerable to retaliation over U.S. trade law and domestic regulation. “If he doesn’t abandon NAFTA and does not withdraw from the TPP, then we’ll be voting to re-open these particular debates,” Manchin said during a Tuesday news conference with environmentalist Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and other Democratic senators.
“If he doesn’t pull out of these agreements that have already been signed with other countries that have been negotiated by the Trump administration, we will be voting for a second open-ended investigation on the rules of trade as they relate to environmental protection,” Manchin said, noting that “the Trump administration has already signed an agreement with Mexico that is not open-ended, so I don’t see the sense of adding more uncertainty on the