CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Supporters of finishing the Mountain Valley Pipeline will not let a big defeat in the U.S. Senate keep them from fighting onward.

By a big margin, the U.S. Senate approved a “Motion to Proceed” vote to fund the federal government by the end of this week, to prevent a shutdown. But unrelated language in the bill to kick-start the permitting process to finish the Mountain Valley Pipeline was removed at the last minute by Senator Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia. The 300-mile pipeline would move natural gas from northern West Virginia to a location southeast of Roanoke, Virginia.

There are hopes of passing the bill later this year because many of the country’s European allies are starved of energy resources by the Russian war in Ukraine. U.S. officials believe that selling natural gas in Europe would lessen pressure on allies to buy energy sources from Russia, Iran and other nations hostile to the U.S.

“We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, and we’re sitting on all of this, and we are just having far too many fights and arguments and political bitterness,” said Capt. James McCormick, U.S. Army (Ret.)

“Because we have this in abundance, I would think the world and this country, our country, would want to capitalize on that,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.

One of the big questions now is which party will control the U.S. Senate after the November elections. That factor could affect whether energy permitting reform ever passes and allows the Mountain Valley Pipeline to be completed.

Now later this year, Congress must pass a Defense Re-Authorization Budget. There are thoughts of putting the pipeline bill in there, as the energy need relates to national defense.