Manchin and 2 Republicans announce resolution to repeal Biden permitting rule

Senate Energy Committee Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday joined Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.) to announce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Biden administration’s new rules on energy permitting, following a pledge Manchin made last week.

The new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rule, announced last week, undoes 2020 rules implemented under the Trump administration that the Biden administration said added unnecessary hurdles to the public comment process. It also creates new pathways for categorical exclusions, the most common and speediest form of review under NEPA.

Manchin has been a vocal proponent of an overhaul to the permitting process, backing the Inflation Reduction Act in exchange for a guarantee from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that he would allow a vote on a permitting reform bill. Permitting reforms were also part of last summer’s congressional agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and place caps on some future spending, called the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Manchin said the new rule “undermines the bipartisan deal the Administration made with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and will increase costs and red tape for critical projects that, despite being needed for national security and prosperity, aren’t favored by the radical left,” Manchin said in a statement. “I am proud to work with my colleagues from all corners of our country to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval to reverse this flawed rule.”

“As written by the White House, the rule includes definitions that favor certain groups over others instead of keeping a level playing field for all types of projects,” Graves said. “It also finds loopholes to extend page limits in reviews and does nothing to curb frivolous litigation intended to delay dirt turning.”

The CRA allows a simple majority of Congress to vote to overturn a rule from the executive branch. It has frequently been used against Biden administration environmental and energy rules, with Biden vetoing every such resolution. Manchin, who is not seeking reelection, has voted for several of those resolutions, including votes targeting Endangered Species Act rules and a pause on tariffs on solar panel components.

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