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Congress weighs options that could have significant impact on the future of the MVP

Mountain Valley Pipeline
Steve Helber
The Mountain Valley Pipeline would carry gas more than 300 miles from the fracking fields of West Virginia through much of southwestern Virginia.

Congress may soon take action to allow a pipeline to carry fracked natural gas from West Virginia into Virginia.

Members of Congress are about to consider a continuing resolution to keep the government operating. It's one of those must-pass bills that often gets loaded with other items that are a priority for leadership. Now members of Congress are talking about adding language to facilitate the Mountain Valley Pipeline, a project that's been held up for years with legal delays and community opposition.

Mike Town at the League of Conservation Voters says this is not the right way to go about doing this.

"Senator Joe Manchin made it very clear that he wants this process to be done in a way that moves forward the Mountain Valley Pipeline," Town explains. "So it isn't about whether or not the Mountain Valley Pipeline deserved to move forward or not, and we think that is wrong."

For Manchin, the promise of helping the Mountain Valley Pipeline along might have sealed the deal to get his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. But David Sligh at Wild Virginia says adding it to a continuing resolution is an underhanded way to accomplish that.

"It feels like an attempt to hide it and to force it through," says Sligh. "And frankly that's what has happened with the MVP for years now is that various officials have pushed this thing no matter what the facts, no matter what the law. And that's why we are where we are today."

One option that’s receiving some discussion would be to have a separate standalone bill on permitting reform instead of adding it to a continuing resolution. That’s an idea that’s already received some traction in the Senate.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.