Mountain Valley Pipeline opponents protest debt limit deal, urge support for amendment

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 8:31 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline are protesting the federal debt limit deal that could fast track the controversial project.

Thursday afternoon, they rallied support for an amendment by US Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) that would remove the project from the legislation.

In Roanoke, pipeline opponents gathered outside the regional office of US Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) to encourage his support of the amendment that Sen. Kaine introduced earlier in the day. It would remove the provision expediting the Mountain Valley Pipeline from the debt limit legislation.

“One piece of light here is that Sen. Warner has said he will be supporting Sen. Kaine’s amendment,” Del. Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke) said to applause.

Supporters of the pipeline say the project is in the national interest. They argue it will increase the reliability and availability of natural gas, serve additional markets and facilitate the transition to renewable energy.

Kaine hasn’t taken a position on the pipeline, but he says a process that circumvents federal regulators and judicial review is outrageous.

“A sweetheart deal for one company, one project in the U.S. is not something Congress should be doing,” Kaine said in a conference call with reporters Thursday morning.

“We’ve joked that it would take an act of Congress to get this MVP through with all their violations and the courts, but that’s actually what’s happening right now,” said Crystal Mello, a community organizer with the Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights Coalition. “And for the fact that this project is being tied to a fiscal bill, that’s unheard of; that should not be happening.”

When Kaine spoke with reporters, he said he was still fighting to get a vote on his amendment.

But no matter what happens with the debt limit legislation over the next few days, opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline say they are planning a major demonstration outside The White House Thursday, June 8.