Critics of a draft proposal to expedite the permitting process for energy projects say it would open up more oil and gas drilling on public lands, on and offshore, running counter to the nation’s efforts to curb climate change. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr)

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By Suzanne Potter

September 12, 2022   

Local officials concerned about climate change are urging Democrats to scuttle a deal reached with Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to pass a bill to fast-track permitting for energy projects.

Some 445 officials from across the country are asking the Democratic National Committee to support a resolution condemning the proposed bill before the committee’s summer meeting ends tomorrow.

Devin Murphy, mayor pro-tem of the City of Pinole, north of San Francisco, said Democratic leaders promised to support the proposal in exchange for Manchin’s vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.

Murphy thinks the plan runs counter to what is happening in the Golden State.

“The deal that Sen. Manchin made would undo many of the new gains that this legislature just enacted,” Murphy asserted. “It really turns back the clock, and we can’t afford that here in California.”

The Inflation Reduction Act makes a historic investment of $370 billion to fight climate change over the next decade. The oil and gas industry has long argued the permitting process and environmental reviews for new energy development on public lands are overly complex and time-consuming.

But Murphy pointed out by rushing the process, it gives the public less time to weigh in.

“It also undermines democratic norms,” Murphy contended. “The permitting reform bill also will prevent meaningful public input from those communities in the crosshairs of harmful fossil fuel projects.”

The letter to the committee also raised issues of environmental justice. It argued the permitting bill would likely lead to more drilling sites and refineries polluting the air, often located in lower-income communities of color.


Letter Elected Officials to Protect America 09/06/2022
Proposed resolutions DNC 09/08/2022
Legislation details White House 08/17/2022