CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — A major economic project that is near and dear to many people in West Virginia may be in serious trouble because of a dispute in the U.S. Senate. While this is a potentially big economic driver for West Virginia, it is also quite controversial.
Completion of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline from from central West Virginia into Virginia will bring an estimated $200 million a year in revenue to West Virginia, according to state officials.
The project was stalled over environmental concerns and a court fight, but Senator Joe Manchin made a deal with the White House for the pipeline to be finished. This in exchange for his “yes” vote on the “Inflation Reduction act of 2022.” That infuriated environmentalists, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders now plans to torpedo a continuing resolution, or C-R, to keep the U.S. government open and funded if the gas pipeline permitting is included in the bill.
“Let me be very clear to all of you all. If it doesn’t get done on this continuing resolution, D-E-A-D, dead!” said Sen. Joe Manchin, (D) West Virginia.
“I think if it doesn’t make it on the C-R like he says, I wouldn’t throw the towel in. I understand why he’s saying that. Because it puts more force in to being able to garner the votes to get that done,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, (R) West Virginia.
Senator Manchin says Democrats will need at least 15 Republicans to join them in supporting the continuing resolution to keep the government open, and with the pipeline project intact. But Senator Capito and other Republicans say they can’t commit to saying “yes” until they see an actual copy of the resolution.
Right now, no votes are scheduled, but there is some urgency. If the continuing resolution is not passed, the government shutdown would occur Oct. 1.