by Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As appearing in the Daily Sentinel
The author of one of America’s most famous autobiographies, The Education of Henry Adams, wrote that “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin must be wondering where his influence stops. With the 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and his distinct blend of positions on political issues, Manchin is viewed as the most important swing vote in the Senate.
When Democratic congressional leaders prepared to pass last month’s massive climate bill, cleverly disguised as the “Inflation Reduction Act,” they needed Joe Manchin’s vote. He didn’t like raising corporate taxes, adding 87,000 new IRS auditors, or giant subsidies for wind and solar power. So, leadership sweetened the deal by offering Manchin something he wanted — a package of energy permitting reforms he has worked on for years.
Reforms Manchin outlined back in July centered on increasing the certainty of decision timelines and allowing prioritization of important projects, two improvements that would benefit our nation’s aging infrastructure immensely. That is, if politicians allow permitting reform legislation.