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Can the dirty pipeline deal be stopped?

Where is the mountain lion? Who is the white moose?


August is over and senators are returning to work for the month, so that means Hill Heat is back in your inboxes! The House only gets going next Monday until the end of September, and then will be off until after the election. But don’t worry—we’ll keep reporting as the planet and the midterm elections heat up.

To get Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.)’s approval for the climate provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Joe Biden, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised to push additional legislation that would force through the fracked-gas Mountain Valley Pipeline and gut the National Environmental Policy Act to fast-track other energy and mining projects. A draft version of this “permitting reform” plan, written by the American Petroleum Institute, has been leaked.

There are many many serious white men who love the phrasepermitting reform,” purportedly because they’re so concerned about roadblocks to renewable projects. As David Dayen has pointed out, the premise that the existing permitting process is cumbersome to industry is absurd on its face:

Permitting is really about power, and if the entity wanting to build has enough, they can cut through red tape with little resistance. Less than ten years ago there was no such thing as an American oil export industry. Today the U.S. is the biggest oil and gas producer in the world, the sixth-largest exporter of oil, and the second-largest natural gas exporter. The entire architecture for that transformation had to be devised, permitted, approved, and built—and it was, with rapid speed, including thousands of wells, transportation infrastructure like roadways and pipelines, liquefied natural gas export terminals, and much more.

The IRA is already larded with subsidies and giveaways for the oil and gas industry and mining companies—the dirty Schumer-Manchin side deal would call the iffy climate-justice benefits of the IRA even further into question.1

On Thursday, the Appalachian resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline is coming to Washington, with a rally in front of the Capitol.

The same day, the Democratic National Committee is meeting for their summer meeting in National Harbor, Maryland. There the members will vote on Resolution 16, introduced by Nebraska chair and Keystone XL pipeline fighter Jane Kleeb, Nevada chair Judith Whitmer, California delegates RL Miller, David Atkins, Michael Kapp, and Sean Dugar, Maryland’s Larry Cohen, and Nadia Ahmad and Thomas Kennedy of Florida praising the Inflation Reduction Act and opposing the Schumer-Manchin side deal.

However, DNC Chair and former coal lobbyist Jaime Harrison has introduced a competing resolution, which praises the IRA and omits any mention of the pipeline deal.2

Democratic climate hawks have, of course, introduced progressive Green New Deal legislation to address challenges in renewable production and electric transmission that wouldn’t involve expanding human and natural sacrifice zones, as the Manchin plan does.3

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are putting their brand on a $10 million campaign boosting the Democratic Party that touts the IRA as the “most meaningful climate bill ever.” The resources devoted to stopping the Manchin pipeline deal are considerably smaller.

Pakistan is now a lake. California, as Roger Revelle warned Congress 65 years ago would happen because of the burning of coal and oil and natural gas, is turning into a real desert.

While Hill Heat was on an August hiatus, the petrochemical byproducts in our atmosphere stayed on the job. China underwent the most severe heat wave ever recorded in the world, one that lasted months, crippling power and agricultural production. Catastrophic floods in Afghanistan killed 182 and destroyed over 3000 home. Europe’s summer of brutal heat boiled away lakes and rivers, striking Norwegian hydropower, French nuclear plants, and German coal transport.

On August 29th, torrential rains swept an 11-year-old boy in Bentonville, Arkansas, into a storm drain and to his death. A woman who nearly died trying to save him was rescued. A 14-year-old girl was electrocuted in Monroe, Michigan when she picked up a power line downed by the storms. The winds toppled a tree onto a 47-year-old woman standing in her driveway in Toledo, Ohio. The same stormfront caused the flooding of Mississippi’s Pearl River, which contaminated the water treatment plant of Jackson, leaving its 180,000 residents without water until yesterday. The city remains under a boil-water advisory. Mississippi’s Republican governor Tate Reeves has proposed privatization as the solution.

On Saturday, an elderly woman in Madison, Indiana, was washed away by floodwaters.

The Revolving Door Project has released a 90-page report detailing dozens of executive actions the Biden administration could take to crack down on fossil-fuel pollution and make up for the insufficiency of the Inflation Reduction Act’s climate agenda. Allyson Chiu has a comprehensive look.

LOTSA JERBS: NASA is looking for a digital journalist for NASA’s Earth Observatory Group (no salary given, Greenbelt, MD). Climate Nexus is hiring a climate disinformation research associate ($60-$65K, remote). The Texas Tribune is seeking a full-time environmental reporter ($65K+, Texas). NPR News is hiring a climate solutions reporter ($85K+, DC/remote). Vox.com is looking for a climate editor (no salary listed, remote).

Vox is also looking for a new shill for its effective-altruism vertical, but if you want to get Sam Bankman-Fried’s cash, you’re going to have to search for the link yourself. But if you want some Mark Zuckerberg money, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is hiring a climate portfolio manager (no salary listed, Redwood City/remote).

Thanks so very much for subscribing and spreading the word. I’m sorry I wasn’t particularly humorsome today, the world is too hot. There really is a mountain lion in that photo. DMs are open@climatebrad

1 However, Romany Webb argues that IRA’s changes to the federal oil and gas leasing program will significantly reduce the attractiveness of oil and gas development on federal lands.

2 It’s weirdly difficult to figure out who are the members of the DNC—there’s no publicly available consolidated list, though individual state parties list their members. But it’s worth finding your state’s members and encouraging them vote YES on both resolutions 15 and 16.

3 For example: Rep. Frank Pallone’s CLEAN Future Act (H.R.1512), Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s Environmental Justice For All Act (H.R. 2021), Sen. Angus King’s Battery and Critical Mineral Recycling Act (S. 1918), and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s SITE Act (S. 2651) and Advanced Energy Technologies and Grid Efficiency Act (S. 2659).

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