As debt limit crisis abates, environmental critics fear dangerous pipeline precedent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has narrowly averted another debt ceiling crisis, but environmentalists say the solution comes at too steep a price for the planet. 

Once signed by President Joe Biden, the bill passed late Thursday in the Senate will also fast-track a controversial pipeline project in West Virginia. 

The Sierra Club says that creates a “dangerous precedent” for similar projects, including a stalled underwater tunnel for Enbridge-owned Line 5 in Michigan. 

Michigan’s attorney general is in court trying to get the cross-border pipeline shut down, fearing an ecological disaster in the Great Lakes.

Sierra Club executive director Ben Jealous fears that future congressional action could be used to exempt projects like Line 5 from environmental regulations. 

The new bill, the Fiscal Responsibility Act, marks just the latest legislative win for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been trying for years to get the Mountain Valley natural gas line completed. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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