Here’s What’s Wrong With Manchin’s Side Deal to the Inflation Reduction Act

Elliston, Va.—Appalachia won’t be thrown under the bus in a side deal to climate legislation. That’s why we’re going to the capital next week, for the “Appalachian Resistance Comes to DC” rally, on September 8. Our message: We’re done with being a sacrifice zone. If you care about climate, you’ve got to care about us too. It’s the right thing to do. And it’s also the only way we can get better climate policies going forward. The wheelers and dealers who negotiated the Inflation Reduction Act need to work with those of us on the ground who lead this fight, rather than against us.

The side deal proposed by Senator Joe Manchin includes the undermining of laws that protect us from the fossil fuel industry. Manchin also wants Congress to fast-track his pet project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Half-completed, the pipeline has been stopped in its tracks by effective mobilization on the ground and in the courts. I have played a small part in this. I am a single mother and grandmother. I clean houses during the day and a local doctor’s office at night. I spend every spare moment resisting the pipeline because it would carry fracked gas close to me and my neighbors in Montgomery County, Va., endangering our community even though the gas is not meant for us.

I monitor the MVP’s astonishingly crappy work as it digs a deep scar across our land, causing landslides from deforested slopes and contaminating our water supply. The project has already racked up over 300 water quality violations and paid over $2.15 million in penalties in Virginia alone. Sediment from construction has already polluted our water and threatened two species of endangered fish, and muddy runoff will continue to be a problem in the porous karst geology here vulnerable to pollution. Then there is the way the pipe coating has been corroded by UV rays—not to mention the risks posed by the seismic zone we live in. This pipeline is an accident waiting to happen.

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